Are there any safe herbs that are suitable during pregnancy? This is a question a lot of pregnant women are wondering about. Today our certified Herbalist Erla Sól is digging deep into the subject about herbs and pregnancy: Which herbs have traditionally been used for centuries within herbal medicine? Are there any potential benefits with herbs?
This blog post is written by herbal specialist Erla Sól. All the opinions in the article belong to the writer of the text.
Which beverages are safe to drink during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a precious season of life and a sacred initiation to motherhood. During this time, it is deeply important to tend to our wellbeing in a more intentional way, being more mindful of daily habits and routines. This makes for a great opportunity to incorporate holistic techniques to tend to the mind, body, and soul. We may try prenatal yoga, low impact movement and mindfulness practices or add in supportive foods and beverages. We all love to savor a warm beverage in the morning but during pregnancy it can be hard to choose one that feels safe for both mother and baby. During pregnancy, there are certainly a lot of things best to avoid such as excess caffeine and some herbs, but some herbalist-selected caffeine free herbs can be of great benefit, especially when consumed as a herbal tea (1).
Herbal tea during pregnancy
Herbal teas are nourishing for the body and can help to balance daily nutrition, support the nervous system, and promote proper digestion. These areas of health often need extra love and care during pregnancy. Regarding herbal teas, there is not much research confirming their effects during pregnancy. However, there are a few herbs that can be consumed regularly as tea during pregnancy when used mindfully as recommended by a professional herbalist (4). The following herbs have been used for centuries by blossoming mothers to bring balance to the body and ease to the mind.
Oatstraw a mild and mineral rich herb
Oatstraw (Avena sativa) is considered a mineral rich herb that provides nourishment for the nervous system and nutrition for the body (10). It is rich in B vitamins, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, silicon and calcium. These vital nutrients promote healthy blood flow, a resilient nervous system, and may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Oatstraw’s silicon content is important for collagen production in the body for healthy joints and radiant hair, skin, and nails (11). Oatstraw herbal tea is a mild and nutritive option to drink safely during pregnancy. Oat straw comes from the stems and leaves of the same plant as the oats we eat for breakfast. It is important to note that oatstraw is from the oat plant and the straw does not contain gluten. However, if one is allergic or highly sensitive to gluten it may be best to avoid oatstraw and anything from the oat plant to avoid any potential risks of cross-contamination in manufacturing.
Peppermint a herb for digestion and ease morning sickness
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a refreshing herb great for digestion. Peppermint tea is a common herbal tea used commonly to soothe the tummy after a big meal or to promote relaxation. Peppermint tea is often used to ease morning sickness in pregnancy (3). It may also help reduce symptoms of acid reflux and decrease nausea. It is great to drink before or after meals to balance digestion. It is an aromatic herb that has balancing properties to promote relaxation and feelings of wellbeing. Peppermint may also release headaches and tension (8). It’s a mild and balancing herb that’s suitable to drink in moderation during pregnancy (2).
Linden used to relax the nervous system
Linden (Tilia europaea) is a soothing herb that has been used for centuries to relax the nervous system. Linden tea is a great herbal tea choice when it comes to easing stress and tension during pregnancy (6). It may also help promote consistent sleep patterns. The calming effects of linden tea also help to calm the nervous system in the gut, promoting proper digestion and reducing cramping. Due to its high flavonoid antioxidant content, it may reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain (7). On an energetic level, linden soothes the heart and helps us overcome intense emotions (9).
Dosage and amounts of herbs is important
Incorporating moderate amounts of expert formulated herbal tea into pregnancy can be a nourishing and grounding way to prepare for the new sense of purpose and responsibility as a mother. If you want to enjoy a daily warm beverage that serves as a natural remedy for common symptoms in pregnancy, oatstraw, peppermint, and linden are generally safe and nourishing options when consumed in normal amounts.
If you are concerned about herbal safety during pregnancy, it is a good idea to wait until after 12 weeks to indulge in herbalist-selected herbal teas and to drink just one cup of herbal tea per day (5). If you feel unsure about consumption of herbs in pregnancy, always consult a herbalist, midwife or doctor. These experts can guide you to the appropriate dosage and serving suggestions of herbal preparations.
Written by herbal specialist Erla Sól.
This blog post is for educational purposes and does not make any health related claims. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure medical conditions. If you have health problems, it is important to discuss them with an expert. Herbal studies are often based on anecdotal evidence and information that has not been clinically researched and is often knowledge passed down through generations and affirmed as being effective through expert clinical herbal experience. Readers are encouraged to always do their own research and talk to their healthcare provider before experimenting with herbs and supplements.
1. Medically reviewed by Miho Hatanaka, RDN, L.D. — By Alina Petre, MS, RD (NL)on April 28, 2020
2. Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — By Dorian Smith-Garcia on January 13, 2021
3. Tayarani-Najaran Z, Talasaz-Firoozi E, Nasiri R, Jalali N, Hassanzadeh M. "Antiemetic activity of volatile oil from Mentha spicata and Mentha × piperita in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting." Ecancermedicalscience. 2013;7:290. doi: 10.3332/ecancer.2013.290. Epub 2013 Jan 31. PMID: 23390455; PMCID: PMC3562057.
4. Ahmed M, Hwang JH, Choi S, Han D. "Safety classification of herbal medicines used among pregnant women in Asian countries: a systematic review." BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Nov 14;17(1):489. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-1995-6. PMID: 29137614; PMCID: PMC5686907.
5. Holst L, Wright D, Haavik S, Nordeng H. "Safety and efficacy of herbal remedies in obstetrics-review and clinical implications." Midwifery. 2011 Feb;27(1):80-6. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2009.05.010. Epub 2009 Sep 25. PMID: 19782445.
6. Terzioglu Bebitoglu B. "Frequently Used Herbal Teas During Pregnancy - Short Update." Medeni Med J. 2020;35(1):55-61. doi: 10.5222/MMJ.2020.69851. Epub 2020 Feb 28. PMID: 32733750; PMCID: PMC7384490.
7. Wartenberg L, MFA, RD, LD — Updated on August 21, 2019