Herbs and Pregnancy

Written by Dotti Kirkpatrick. Posted in Articles

Remember that herbs can have powerful effects on you and your unborn child. Just because an herb is “natural” does not mean it is SAFE! Some herbs can be very helpful to you but others should be avoided. Always check with your midwife or doctor before taking herbs during pregnancy.

Avoid the following herbs during pregnancy:

  • Aloe - Teratogens, Emmenagogues
  • Agave - Teratogens, Emmenagogues
  • Angelica - Emmenagogues
  • Asafoetida - Emmenagogues
  • Baneberry - (actaea)
  • Basil - Emmenagogues
  • Beth Root - (trillium) Emmenagogues
  • Black Cohosh - (cimifuga racemosa) Abortive
  • Blessed Thistle - (cnicus) Steroid
  • Blood Root - (sanguine)
  • Blue Cohosh - (caulophyllum) Abortive
  • Blue Flag - (iris) Toxic
  • Buchu - (barosma) Electrolyte Imbalance
  • Buckbean - (menyanthes)
  • Buckhorn - (rhamnus species) Teratogens, Laxative
  • Butternut - (juglans)
  • Cascara Sagrada - (rhamnus species) Laxative
  • Cotton Root - (gossypium)
  • Culver’s Root - (leptandra)
  • Crampbark
  • Damiana
  • Devil’s club - (oplopancisc)
  • Dogbane - Toxic
  • Dong Quai - Emmenagogues
  • Ephedra - Teratogens
  • Epuzote - (chenopodium)
  • Ginseng - (panax) Teratogens
  • Goldenseal - (hydrastis) Abortive (Placental Vaso Constriction)
  • Guavine
  • Hellebore - (veratrum) Toxic
  • Helonias - (choumaelienum) Emmenagogues
  • Horse Chestnut - Toxic
  • Inmortal - Emmenagogues
  • Jimson Weed - Toxic
  • Juniper Berry - Teratogens, Electrolyte Imbalance
  • Licorice - Teratogens, Steroid
  • Ma Huang - (ephedrasinensis) Teratogens, Abortive
  • Male Fern - (aspidium) Toxic
  • Mandrake - (podophylum) Toxic, Teratogens
  • Milkweed - Emmenagogues
  • Mother Wort - (leonurus)
  • Mountain Laurel - (kalmia)
  • Ohio Buckeye - Toxic
  • Parsley - (Dries up milk)
  • Osha - Teratogens, Emmenagogues (vasodilator)
  • Pasqueflower - (pulsatilla)
  • Pennyroyal - Abortive
  • Periwinkle - (vinca major and minor)
  • Peruvian Bark - (cinchona)
  • Pleurisy Root - (asclepias tuberosa)
  • Poke Root - Toxic
  • Poleo - (mentha piperiat)
  • Ragwort - (senecio)
  • Rhubarb Leaves -(rheum)
  • Rue - (ruta)
  • Sage - Teratogens
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Senna - (cassia species) Teratogens, Laxative
  • Shepherd’s Purse - (capsella) Abortive, Vaso Constriction, Dries up Vagina
  • Tansy - (tenacetum)
  • Uva Ursi - Diuretic
  • Wild Yam
  • Wormwood - Toxic
  • Yohimbe - Toxic
Borderline Herbs:
  • Peppermint (contains menthol)
  • Chamomile (mild menstrual stimulator)


Herbs Which May Be Beneficial:

PLEASE NOTE:  Any of the recommendations given on this web site are not to be a replacement for the counsel of your own personal midwife or doctor.   Please discuss your own situation with them before using any herbal suggestions given here.

Red Raspberry
(antiemetic, astringent, laxative, tonic)

The leaves of red raspberry are often considered useful for making “Pregnancy Tea.”   Red Raspberry used reasonably can help with pregnancy sickness, help prevent miscarriage, reduce the chances of uterine hemorrhage, reduce labor pains and aid in increasing milk.   A tea may be made by simmering a handful of the dried leaves in a quart of pure water for about 20 minutes.   A small amount of spearmint can be added for better flavor.   The following recipe can be mixed then made one cup at a time.  

Pregnancy Tea

  • 10 parts red raspberry
  • 5 parts blackberry
  • 1 part cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon to 1/2 cup water

Yellow Dock
(alterative, astringent, laxative, nutritive)

Yellow Dock is high in IRON and therefore excellent for anemia.   It does not constipate as most iron pills can do.   It works best combined with other iron-rich herbs such as Alfalfa, Dandelion and Nettles.   It is a blood purifier.

TEA:  up to 3 cups daily
TINCTURE:  5 - 30 drops 3 times daily
POWDER:  5 - 10 #0 caps daily

(alterative, nutritive, antipyretic, diuretic, tonic)

NUTRIENT, blood purifier, fever reducer, source of calcium, magnesium, vitamins K & P, potassium, phosphorus.

TEA: 3 cups daily
TINCTURE; 5 - 15 drops 3 times daily
POWDER: 5 - 10 caps 3 times daily

(aperient, cholagogue, diuretic, tonic, stomachic)

Good for jaundice, gallstones, fever, insomnia, and constipation.   Good source of iron.

(astringent, diuretic, galatagogue, hemostatic, tonic)

Promotes the flow of milk.   Good for urinary tract problems and calcium deficiency.


The following herbs should be simmered in almost boiling water for at least 20 minutes and then added to the bath.   This is a very relaxing and healing herb bath for both mom and baby.   The herbs should be strained before adding to the bath.   Or, they can be put inside an old stocking or bath bag for convenience.

Equal parts of:

  • Garlic or Yarrow
  • Sea Salt
  • Uva Ursi
  • Sage
  • Comfrey
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender

Nursing Mother Tea

Equal parts of anise, dill, sweet marjoram
1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 cups boiling water
Divide into 6 doses.

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