Herbs and spices have long been associated with the culinary world, but they also have a place in the medicine cabinet for many people. Fortunately the use of herbs and spices in general cooking does not tend to have a negative effect on health for most people, but using certain herbs and spices as high-dose supplements or ingesting large amounts of certain herbs or spices during pregnancy can possibly have serious effects.
Ask an herbalist or your doctor about using herbs and spices during pregnancy to find out if what you are putting into your body is safe for you and your baby. While many herbalists believe that the use of herbs is beneficial to health in many ways, traditional medicine still advises against their use during pregnancy because of inconsistent product formulas and the fact that supplements do not have to undergo the rigorous FDA testing that traditional medicines face before hitting the shelves, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Avoid cinnamon if you are pregnant unless it is time to deliver your baby. Cinnamon is a spice that is considered a woman’s helper when it comes to menstrual cramps and easing difficulty of childbirth when ingested at the appropriate times, according to HealthMad.com. During pregnancy this spice may stimulate contractions early in the pregnancy, which can cause harm to the fetus and possibly result in miscarriage. Do not drink cinnamon in tea or eat the spice in high doses during your pregnancy.
Do not take black cohosh supplements during pregnancy, as it could have adverse effects and has not been thoroughly studied, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Black cohosh, a perennial plant that is in the buttercup family, is sold as an herbal supplement used for hot flashes and menopausal symptoms, according to the NIH. This herb is also known for relieving menstrual cramping, but during pregnancy it is thought to dilate the cervix and begin premature labor, according to HealthMad.com.
Avoid evening primrose (also called oenothera) during pregnancy unless it is being recommended to assist with childbirth itself, according to HealthMad.com. This herb is recommended for helping dilate the cervix for childbirth, but it has the same effect during the rest of pregnancy and could cause miscarriage.
Rosemary is a common herb used in everyday cooking, and it is generally regarded as safe by the FDA and can continue to be used in recipes during pregnancy. However, this herb, when used in larger amounts in a supplement, is considered possibly unsafe because it may stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow.