Pregnant Woman holding herbs

25 Herbs To Avoid During Pregnancy

We all know how important it is to take care of our bodies every day, especially during pregnancy. Before pregnancy, many women will start taking folic acid with their multi-vitamin to ensure that they are at their healthiest. Others will concentrate on taking other supplements with some deciding that herbs are the key to staying healthy.

However, there are some herbs to avoid during pregnancy. Many assume that herbs are safe to take as they are natural. While it is true that they are natural, they are not regulated by the FDA. The quality of the herbs could be compromised, as could the composition of the herb.

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25 Herbs To Avoid During Pregnancy

Herbs To Avoid During Pregnancy

The following is a list of herbs that should be averted during pregnancy. As with anything that you are taking, always consult a doctor prior to taking anything.

  • Saw Palmetto – Unfortunately, this herb can cause miscarriages when taken. Hormonal activity can also be affected.
  • Beth Root – This herb can cause intense labor. It is a stomach irritant and could lead to miscarriage.
  • Golden Seal – Miscarriages are often a result of individuals who take this herb. It may also affect the development of the brain in the child. Golden Seal can also mess with blood pressure.
  • Blue Cohosh – When this herb is used orally, it can stimulate the uterus, causing labor.
  • Yohimbe – This herb should be avoided as it can act as a stimulant. It can also poison the fetus.
  • Ephedra – This herb also acts as a stimulant, causing the uterus to contract. It is also a cardiac stimulant, which is not healthy for either mom or baby.
  • Blessed Thistle – This strong bitter is a stimulant that can cause the uterus to contract.
  • Dong Quai – Dong Quai is an herbal stimulant that should be avoided.
  • Rosemary – This herb is unsafe to use in medicinal amounts. Eating a bit sprinkled on a pasta while pregnant is acceptable. However, large amounts can cause menstrual stimulant effects.
  • Poke Root – This herb is often used to treat vaginal infections. However, it is toxic when pregnant and should be avoided both internally and topically.
  • Parsley – While this herb is safe to be used when cooking, large amounts should not be used medicinally. This herb is well known as an emmenagogue, which is a substance that increases the menstrual flow. It may also irritate the kidneys.
  • PennyRoyal – This herb can be toxic to the liver and kidneys. Bloody vomit could be a result of this herb, as could blood clotting disorders and alleviated blood pressure.
  • Ginseng – This strong herb can impair the fetus. It is also a menstrual stimulant.
  • Senna – This herb should be avoided during pregnancy as it is a laxative.
  • Cowslip – Cowslip is known to make the blood be slower at clotting, so therefore should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Rue – This herb should never be handled during pregnancy. It has been known to cause rashes and irritations of the skin.
  • Jasmine – This sweet-smelling herb could lead to premature labor due to uterine contractions. Miscarriage could also be a result.
  • Horseradish – Sadly, this is an herb that induces abortions. Those that use it in great amounts may also see a GI irritation.
  • Basil – Basil is a uterine stimulant. The oil also contains safrole, a possible carcinogen.Fennel Oil – This oil can have a narcotic effect if it is taken in large doses.
  • Nutmeg oil – If taken in sizable amounts, miscarriage can be caused. The oil will also interfere with pain relieving drugs while in labor.
  • Cinnamon – This wonderful smelling herb could possibly lead to liver toxicity.
  • Fenugreek – This herb causes uterine stimulation, which could lead to miscarriage. It could also lead to neurobehavioural or sensorimotor defects in children.
  • Sassafras – This herb has been known to cause birth defects or miscarriages.
  • Barberry – This herb is also known as Berberis Vulgaris. Low blood sugar, fetal distress, and strong contracts can be a result of taking this herb.

Related: 3 Fruits You Need To Avoid During Pregnancy For A Healthy Baby

Conditions That Should Never Be Treated With Herbs While Pregnant

  1. Many conditions can arise when a woman is pregnant. It is best to seek treatment for anyone of the following conditions. Never, under any circumstances, treat with herbs.
    Severe headaches
  2. Blurry vision
  3. Severe abdominal or pelvic pain
  4. Vaginal bleeding that is persistent
  5. Edema of the face and hands
  6. Rupture of membranes prior to 37-weeks pregnancy
  7. Severe mid-back pain that is continuous
  8. Cessation of fetal movement
  9. Outbreak of herpes during 1st trimester
  10. Regular uterine contractions prior to 37-weeks pregnancy

If You Are Still Unsure About Using Herbs During Pregnancy

If you are still confused about whether a particular herb should be avoided during pregnancy, you can always ask a certified herbalist. Your OBGYN or midwife can also help you in deciding if a herb is safe to take.


Taking herbs is a great way to get healthy. However, there are many that should be avoided during pregnancy as they are unsafe. Taking these herbs could not only induce premature labor, but lead to miscarriage or injury to the fetus. In some cases, they will cause uterine contractions. Even though herbs are natural, it is still imperative to talk to someone trained in herbs or in the medical field to determine if specific herbs do more good than harm.

About The Author

Sandra Thomson is a single mother that home schools her pigeon pair and supports her family with freelance writing. She is passionate about natural remedies and loves sharing parenting tips.


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  1. Thank you for this info. I didnt know herbs like parsley, cinnamon and basil were not recommended in pregnancy

  2. Well I never knew this. Thank you very much. This was very informative and will keep it in mind

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