Most of the time, herbs and spices are used carefree in everyday cooking. But, did you know some of those common herbs could be harmful to you while you are pregnant? Using some herbs and spices while pregnant could cause birth defects, high blood pressure, and even death. Below is a list of the harmful herbs and spices to avoid while pregnant:
Harmful Herbs and Spices
- Aloe Vera- Using Aloe Vera while pregnant may promote uterine contractions. Also, aloe vera should not be used if you're breastfeeding.
- Angelica- This is typically used as a menstrual stimulant. If used while pregnant, it can cause intense contractions.
- Arbor Vitae- Arbor Vitae has been known to cause contractions of the uterus.
- Autumn Crocus- This may alter normal cell division, which could lead to birth defects.
- Barberry- Barberry is also known to cause contractions of the uterus.
- Basil Oil- Again, another that causes contractions of the uterus. But, it's sometimes used during labor.
- Black Cohosh- It may cause contractions, but is safe during the birth.
- Blue Cohosh- Known to stimulate the uterus, but is also safe during labor.
- Caffeine- Caffeine may increase blood pressure.
- Comfrey- Comfrey has chemicals in it that are toxic, which may penetrate the placenta.
- Cotton Root- Cotton Root is another that can stimulate the uterus.
- Cumin seed/powder- It may only cause cramping but it also known for premature labor and even miscarriage.
- Ephedra- This causes unsafe stimulation.
- False Unicorn Root- It may cause vomiting and nausea and should be avoided.
- Feverfew- This is also on the list known to cause stimulation of the uterus.
- Golden Seal- Although it is safe during the birth process, if used earlier it may cause miscarriage and premature labor.
- Juniper/Juniper Oil- Also safe to use during the birth process, but is also known to stimulate uterus contractions if used during pregnancy.
- Licorice- This is known to raise blood pressure.
- Mugwort- This should not be used during pregnancy due to risk of birth defects.
- Pennyroyal- This too should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is known to cause birth defects.
- Peruvian Bark- This is extremely dangerous and toxic. It's known to cause blindness, coma, and sometimes death.
- Poke Root- Known to cause birth defects.
- Rue- This is another menstrual stimulant, which means it may lead to early contractions.
- Sassafras- This is known to lead to birth defects and is also known to cause contractions of the uterus.
- Shepherd's Purse- This too stimulates the uterus. But, it is safe during labor.
- Tansy- Also on the list known to cause stimulation of the uterus, but can also lead to birth defects.
- Wild Yarn- This is safe only when in labor but if used during the pregnancy, it may stimulate the uterus.
- Wormwood- This should be avoided while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Here are a few more to avoid in large amounts:
- thyme oil
- celery seed/oil
- raspberry leaf
- peppermint oil
Although many herbs and spices are harmful, there are a few that are safe and actually helpful. For example, if you are suffering from morning sickness, try taking Chamomile, Irish moss, Peppermint, Black Horehound, or Meadow Seed.
Squaw Vine and Raspberry leaves are good to take during the child birth.
If you're trying to increase your milk supply, you might want to try Aniseed, Vervain, Blessed Thistle, Goat's Rue, or Fennel. Stinging Nettle is safe to use during pregnancy and contains many minerals and vitamins.
If you're still unsure or have any questions about which herbs are safe and which are not, talk to your doctor at your next appointment.