Herbs frequently used during pregnancy

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Herbs are frequently used as teas or infusions. Although there are no clinical trials available, and there is no evidence-based proof in terms of Western medical standards, some herbal teas/infusions have been used for many years without adverse effects, and arc considered to be safe. The evidence of their safety comes from their traditional use and from traditional evidence passed down through history by traditional users. Although there are no data to suggest how much is "safe", it is suggested that consumption of herbal teas be limited to two cups per day during pregnancy. This is similar to the safety data regarding coffee in pregnancy. Their safety is unknown when used at higher levels, so the use of herbs above these amounts is not recommended. If the quantities consumed are above these recommended levels, no special action is required except stopping usage at high doses. (See Low Dog 2005, Blumenthal 2003, Weed 1986.).

Table 2.19.2 lists those herbs that arc frequently used during pregnancy.

Table 2.19.2 Herbs frequently used during pregnancy Herb Usage

1. Red raspberry Relief of nausea, increase in milk leaf production, increase in uterine tone, and ease of labor pains; there is some controversy over its use in the first trimester, primarily because of concern of stimulating uterine tone and causing miscarriage (Mcfarland 1999, Parsons 1999, 2001, Brinker 1997)

2. Peppermint Nausea, flatulence

3. Chamomile Gastrointestinal irritation, insomnia, and (German) joint irritation

4. Dandelion A mild diuretic, and to nourish the liver;

dandelion is known for high amounts of vitamins A and C, and elements of iron, calcium, and potassium, as well as trace elements

Form

Tea or infusion

Tea or infusion is the most common; enteric-coated tablets (187 mg) three times a day (maximum), are also used; peppermint may cause gastroesophageal reflux

Tea Or infusion

Tea or infusion

(Continued,)

Table 2.19.2 (Continued)

Herb

5. Alfalfa

6. Oat and oat straw

7. Nettle leaf

. Slippery elm bark

Usage Form

General pregnancy tonic; a source of high Tea or infusion levels of vitamins A, D, E, and K, minerals, and digestive enzymes; thought to leduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage in late pregnancy

Sources of calcium and magnesium; helps to Tea or infusion relieve anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and irritable skin

All-around pregnancy tonic; sources of high Tea or infusion amounts of vitamins A, C, K, and calcium, potassium; and iron NB Nettle root (different from nettle leaf) is used for inducing abortions and is not safe in pregnancy; nettle-leaf tea is a traditional tea in pregnancy and lactation

Nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations Tea or infusion

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