Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy

Just like prescription drugs, certain herbs can also cause some pregnancy complications, and seriously harm your baby. Whether they are herbal infusions or decoctions, powdered and liquid extracts, or capsules and tablets, you should always consult your doctor before taking any of them, while pregnant.

Below is the list of herbs to avoid during pregnancy, as they have been proved to be particularly unsafe and risky, to be taken when carrying a baby. But first, let’s see what kind of dangers they may cause, and why they are so harmful.

Premature Uterine Contractions and Miscarriage Risk

  • Certain herbs may irritate the placenta, or cause premature muscular contractions in the uterus, prior to the 37th week of pregnancy – in other words, long before it is time for labor to begin.
    These contractions may be very harmful, and cause cervix to open earlier, leading to premature labor. Preterm birth can in turn cause serious health problems for the baby, and in some cases, even death.
  • Some herbs contain extremely strong compounds that can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s blood stream. This can have serious effects on the baby, put its life in risk, and eventually lead to miscarriage, and stillbirth.
  • The usage of some natural remedies during pregnancy may also provoke uterine bleeding, and lead to the possible loss of the fetus.

Some Herbs may Have Dangerous Effects on the Mother

As mentioned above, certain herbs may harm the baby, cause preterm birth or lead to miscarriage. But others can have extremely adverse effects on the woman’s health during pregnancy. These are two examples of what they can do:

  • Certain herbs may cause the blood vessels to dilate excessively, which can lead to low blood pressure. This can cause fainting or dizziness, and put mother at risk of falling down, and seriously injuring herself or the baby.
  • Other herbs can provoke severe vomiting, or be very harmful for the liver.

Before trying any herb in any form, consult your gynecologist regarding its side effects during pregnancy, and always follow his or her advices and recommendations.

Kitchen Herbs and Spices

pretty pregnant woman eating parsley

Many kitchen herbs and spices can be safely used during pregnancy, but some may cause serious problems if used in large amounts. Check out the following list:

  • Aniseed
  • Aniseed oil
  • Caraway
  • Celery seed or oil
  • Chili
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Fennel
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint oil
  • Raspberry leaf
  • Rhubarb
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Sage
  • Thyme

List of Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy

ripe barberries in wooden bowl

Some of the following herbs may be consumed in small quantities as food seasoning. However, always consult your gynecologist before using any of them.

  • Aloe vera
  • Angelica
  • Arnica
  • Barberry
  • Bee Balm
  • Birthwort
  • Black cohosh
  • Blue cohosh
  • Black walnut
  • Blessed thistle
  • Borage
  • Buckthorn
  • Butternut
  • Cascara sagrada
  • Catnip
  • Chapparal
  • Chicory
  • Colsfoot
  • Comfrey
  • Cotton root
  • Damiana
  • Dong quai
  • Elecampane
  • Ephedra
  • Fenugreek
  • Feverfew
  • Gentian
  • Goldenseal
  • Horehound
  • Horsetail
  • Ipecac
  • Juniper berries
  • Licorice
  • Lobelia
  • Lovage
  • Mistletoe
  • Motherwort
  • Mugworts
  • Myrrh
  • Oregon grape root
  • Osha
  • Poke root
  • Parsley
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rhubarb root
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Sarsparilla
  • Siberian ginseng
  • Tansy
  • Thuja
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Uva ursi
  • Vitex
  • Wormwood
  • Yarrow

If you have found this post useful, and if you perhaps know more about some other herbs to avoid during pregnancy, please share it with other moms-to-be in the comment section below.

About the author


Jessica is a translator who has lived for many years in Asia and South America. She now lives and works in Europe, while preparing her new journeys. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, exploring different cultures and foods, and being in love.

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment

  • So my girlfriend is 6 months pregnant does that mean if she was to take dong quai or black cohosh/blue cohosh it cause miscarriage?