Generally herbs do a fairly good job of labeling themselves when they are not safe for use during pregnancy, but just in case you are really into an herbal tea or an essential oil and haven’t thought much about its safety during pregnancy, here are some of the main herbs to avoid during pregnancy and the reasons why it would be best to discontinue their use while you are with child. While comprehensive, this is not a complete list:
(It should also be noted that you should always check any herbs you use during pregnancy for safety and also discuss them with your health practitioner.)
Aloe Vera- Aloe leaves are extrememly purgative and so aloe should not be taken internally during pregnancy.
Angelica- Angelica is a great herb for females, but is not a great herb for pregnant females because it stimulates mensturation.
Agnus castus– Again, this is another herb that is handy before pregnancy, but you risk miscarriage if you use it after a positive pregnancy is obtained.
Arbor vitae- Also known as Thuja, this will stimulate the uterus and should not be used during pregnancy.
Autumn crocus- Autumn crocus can affect cell division and lead to birth defects.
Basil oil- Basil oil should only be used during labor because it stimulates the uterus.
Black Cohosh– Black Cohosh is regularly used by midwives but it should be avoided during pregnancy because it is a uterine stimulant.
Bloodroot- Bloodroot is dangerous in pregnancy because it stimulates the uterus and can cause vomiting.
Blue Cohosh- Blue Cohosh is also a powerful midwifery tool, but is very dangerous if used during pregnancy because it can be used to induce labor.
Borage Oil- This is frequently used when a baby is overdue to stimulate labor because it is a uterine stimulant, but you should never use it without the supervision of a midwife.
Clove Oil– Clove oil is thought to be a stimulant and is often used in labor so it’s best to avoid it during pregnancy.
Comfrey– Affects the liver and is generally considered an herb not to use internally during pregnancy.
Devil’s Claw- Devil’s Claw could bring on labor and should never be used in pregnancy or without the supervision of a midwife while you are in labor.
Dong Quai- Dong Quai should be avoided during pregnancy because it can bring on uterine bleeding.
Evening Primrose Oil– This is frequently used when a baby is overdue to stimulate labor because it is a uterine stimulant, but you should never use it without the supervision of a midwife.
Fenugreek- Fenugreek is a uterine relaxant. It’s used to bring on lactation but should be avoided during pregnancy.
Goldenseal– Goldenseal is a powerful immune system stimulant, but as you probably know, our immune system kind of shuts down so as not to reject the pregnancy.
Henbane – Highly toxic to the developing fetus
Horsetail – Horsetail is way too high in silica for the developing fetus
Juniper– This should only be used during labor as it is a good uterine stimulant.
Licorice– Licorice should be avoided in pregnancy because it can be dangerous to a woman who desn’t realize she has high blood pressure or water retention.
Mugwort- Mugwart stimulates the uterus and can bring on contractions. It is not safe for pregnancy.
Nutmeg– Nutmeg is just so tasty, but it also stimulates uterine contractions, so do not use Nutmeg during pregnancy.
Pay D’ Arco– Pay D’Arco is an anti-parasitic herb that can be toxic to the baby.
Pennyroyal- Pennyroyal is another herb that will stimulate contractions and so it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Pseudoginseng– May cause birth defects.
Rue- Also known as Herb of Grace can cause miscarriages so it should be completely avoided during pregnancy
Saw Palmetto- It has testosterone increasing qualities so it shoudl be avoided during pregnancy.
Sassafras- This can cause birth defects or cause contractions and should be avoided.
Tansy– Tansy causes strong uterine contractions.
Uva Ursi- May affect blood glucose levels so this herb should be avoided during pregnancy but is awesome after delivery.
Yarrow- Yarrow stimulates the uterus and can cause miscarriage.
Lastly, though it’s not an herb, Vitamin C in large doses can interfere with progesterone use and should be avoided from conception until after implantation.