Herbs to Avoid While Pregnant or Nursing

There are many herbs that are helpful to humans, however, some are known to potentially cause complications or risk during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. This is not an exhaustive list, so please check with a health practitioner before taking any herbs or nutritional supplements if you are pregnant or nursing.

  • Alfalfa — in large quantities it can stimulate hormones
  • Aloe Vera should not be used internally, however, it may be appropriate for external use
  • Black or Blue Cohosh unless your pregnancy provider has recommended it and explained risks/benefits
  • Chestnut Leaf
  • Coltsfoot
  • Dandelion Root (while nursing)
  • Dong Quai
  • Gentian
  • Golden Seal
  • Harsh laxative-type herbs, or strong cleanses
  • Mathake
  • Milkweed, internally
  • Myrrh
  • Parsley (may dry up milk)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Safflower
  • Sage (may reduce milk supply)
  • Saffron
  • Schizandra Berry
  • Shatavari
  • Shepherd’s Purse, unless expressly used by health care practitioner for hemorrhage or other specific condition
  • Suma — use with caution
  • Tansy— avoid also if you are trying to conceive.
  • Thuja
  • Turkey Rhubarb

Again, this is not a full and complete list. This is not intended as medical advice, or to replace your advice by a health care practitioner. Always do your own research, too!

All Rights Reserved, Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula, 2011

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