Herbal remedies can be helpful alternatives to traditional medications. It should be noted that some herbs are dangerous to pregnancies and unborn babies. As with anything else, safety is the primary concern. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that because something is "natural" that it is automatically safe; many medications are derived from herbs, and are not intended to be used during pregnancy.
You should only use minimal amounts of herbal remedies, and only with the approval of your health care provider. Some herbs contain steroids that are harmful to the baby, and others contain stimulants that encourage contractions.
Some herbs are to be avoided totally during pregnancy because they are known to stimulate premature uterine contractions. Some of these include beth root, blue and black coshosh, barberry, golden seal, greater celandine, pennyroyal and lady's mantle. For a complete list, visit the Herbal Dictionary online at www.herbalark.com.
Be cautious of herbal teas while pregnant. Since pregnant women are told to avoid caffeine, alcohol and unnecessary medication, herbal tea would seem to be a likely substitute. But if you drink too much herbal tea, you could be endangering yourself or the unborn baby. Ingredients such as peppermint, ginger, rose hips, and thyme are generally considered safe for pregnant and nursing mothers, but chamomile, hibiscus, sage, sassafras and licorice root are not.
The best way to take advantage of the benefits of "herbs" is to have a balanced diet and a good prenatal supplement. Choosing to use herbs during pregnancy is a matter of personal choice, but the FDA recommends that you ensure the best outcome and keep danger to a minimum, become educated on herbs, their parts and applications before taking anything. It's also best to consult an herbalist or homeopathic doctor before embarking on any herbal program.