I have been lovin' my herbal teas this pregnancy. However, several times as I have been waiting for my tea to steep I have noticed very small printing on the box about pregnant or lactating mothers. What??!! Of course I never seem to notice this before I buy the box of tea! And the warnings on Traditional Medicinals tea just plainly freaks me out! So, here's the question for all you herbalists out there...is there really a need for me to consult my physician over every tea selection? Or, are there rules of thumb that could serve me well? I generally like to mix the types of tea I drink over the course of the day and have no more than 1-2 packets of any one kind. There hasn't been anything too exotic in my selections and I generally buy my tea at Whole Foods or the local natural foods store that has pretty much the same selection of commercially available tea bags. Rarely do I have loose leaf tea now that I have seen all the warnings on the packaged tea. I have been drinking red raspberry leaf tea but I do like to mix things up a bit. In the summer, I will probably drink a lot of hibiscus iced tea. Love that.
Any thoughts? Thank you!
Jonesie's best girl
with our first, due in November. We can't wait to:
Ugh, I'm so glad to find this post. I am an herbal tea junkie. I have a wall in my kitchen lined with lovely little glass jars filled with herbs, flowers, medicinals, teas, etc. I love mixing my own blends. And I've only had two cups since I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks ago. I'm so nervous about all the misinformation/contradicting information out there! I'd love to hear some other herbalists and midwives, etc, chime in on this. I miss my tea!!!
Hey herbal tea mamas,
As far as drinking herbal teas go- the general rule in the western herbalist community is the really "strong" herbs like valerian, yarrow, wormwood, etc... stay clear of but a lot of herbs are fine for pregnancy and can actually be beneficial in moderation of course. I am in my third trimester and stayed away from a lot of herbs during my first just to be on the safe side, but they also grossed me out because I was so nauseas. I have been drinking one of a combination of these: lemon balm, red raspberry, mints, chamomile, hibiscus, rose hip, nettle, dandelion root, linden flower for the past several months. A few of the benefits are: Chamomile is good for acid reflex and digestion, nettle is high in iron and other really great minerals that will help especially in third trimester and breast feeding, red raspberry tones your uterus, rose hips are high in vitamin C, dandelion root is good for keeping liver clean and blood clean from toxins linden is nice and relaxing, helps the nerves and with sleep (and is safe for baby's too when they are fussy!) If you have any colds or congestion its fine to make a tea of thyme or oregano to help with the sinus- they are anti microbial and anti virals..... A good idea is not to have too many of the herbs that are filled with essential oils, very strong smelling, etc... you dont want to shock your little baby too much! all of the boxes of tea have to have the pregnancy warning to stay on the safe side. hope that helps!
ps. i also was drinking plenty of herbal teas before I even knew I was pregnant and even when i found out i drank it until the morning sickness kicked in.... im doing just fine :)
efayrie, this seems like SUCH sensible, reasonable advice! I find chamomile to be good for everything! :) My hips and lower back are so achy and I just know a cup of my own organically grown, dried in my pantry chamomile and mint would work wonders. Thanks so much for your rational approach! :)
Do you have an herbal apothecary or herbalist in your area that you can talk to? I would not ask my MD, unless they were trained in herbs for pregnancy. As an herbalist, I can say that even many herbalists are not well-versed in what herbs are safe in pregnancy, though they will usually have a general knowledge of the most safe and the most dangerous. This is probably just fine for your interest in beverage teas. There is a huge gray area that depends on the particular pregnancy and the constitution of the momma when it comes to therapeutic teas.
For example - red raspberry leaf is considered a safe herb to drink in moderate amounts throughout pregnancy as a uterine tonic, but it can be too tonic for some women - to the point of causing cramping too early in pregnancy. Each woman has her own relationship with herbs.
All I would say is that you need to drink water in addition to teas because almost all herbal teas act as a diuretic (make you pee more) and can be dehydrating if you are not getting enough water.
If you don't have a knowledgeable real live person to talk to I would recommend books by
Aviva Jill Romm - Herbalist, Midwife and MD - Here's her website: http://avivaromm.com/5-safe-herbs-for-a-more-comfortable-pregnancy-and-better-birth
Rosemary Gladstar - Herbalist - http://www.sagemountain.com/rosemary-gladstar.html
Cynthia Belew - Herbalist, Midwife, Nurse - Link to her book: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/S0091-2182(99)00043-9/abstract
Susun Weed - Herbalist
Rosemary and Aviva have some great recipes for gentle and tasty beverage teas.
Thank you very much for the suggestions, everyone. I think that as we move into summer I will have less of a taste for tea. It has been so comforting in the winter months! I do like plain water with lemon or lime very much. And I highly recommend iced rose hip/hibiscus with lemon and a dash of sparkling water!
@Ormembar, I don't have any herbalist friends but I generally hang out with people who would know someone. I didn't know that people react differently to different herbs. I guess that makes sense. I had never thought about it before.
@efayrie, the teas that you mention are basically what I have been drinking. I had been loving a chamomile/lavender/vanilla tea (no warnings on the package) and when I couldn't find that brand I bought a Traditional Medicinals lavender/chamomile. But then I saw the warning after I had made the tea. With that one, the lavender did seem very strong so I decided not to drink it. Then, I double checked all my boxes.
Thanks again, mommas!
I have seen recommendations on a couple different herbal books that if it's considered a food or tonic herb, then it's generally safe throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. If it's considered a strong herb or medical herb such as valerian and wormwood (as someone already said), then it should be either very, very limited or skipped entirely for the duration. I find that it can be hard to figure out which category they fall into, though. And as some have already said also, just because it's very safe and used for many pregnant women, it may be too strong for you. In that case it's a bit of trial and error. There was one woman I read who had problems with red raspberry leaf tea & spotting during the first trimester, so she stopped the RRL tea. Now it's entirely possible that it was just a coincidence because spotting is fairly common in the first trimester, but in general it's better to be safe than sorry. If it bothers you, just skip it.
I also find that you can get 100 places that say something is totally fine and then one that has a great example of it being not so safe. Again, most of the time, it could be a total coincidence, but in general, if you can find it easily in a supermarket, then it's generally safe and if it is something that has been used in pregnancy, then it's safe to try. Keep track of whether you feel anything like cramping after you take it and stop if you do. Most of the time you're going to find warnings on things because they are totally covering their butt because nobody has any conclusive evidence of whether or not it is safe, so they just put a warning and they are covered. It doesn't, however, necessarily mean that it is truly unsafe.