25 Herbs and Spices to Avoid While Pregnant and Nursing.

Learn about 25 herbs and spices to avoid while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Learn how heavy metal poisoning is dangerous to your pregnancy and while nursing.

If you are pregnant, clear any herbs before taking them with your doctor!

Be mindful of how both herbs and foods may affect you. 

Each woman is different in how herbs and foods affect her.


Lack of Hard Evidence on herbal safety during pregnancy: 

There are very few studies that can confirm the dosages at which these herbs and spices are safe!

The dose and its effects are specific to each woman and their tolerance or intolerance to herbs.

A tsp of an herb may affect one person and not another in the same way.

Generally, it is considered safe to use spices in food when used in small amounts and infrequently.

There are fewer studies on how herbs affect women during pregnancy, nursing, and in the growing infant. 

This is why many herbs are contraindicated.

There is not enough concrete research on their effects during pregnancy and breastfeeding to say

without a doubt they are safe.

25 Herbs, spices, and teas  that not safe in pregnancy.
Herbs and spices that are contraindicated during pregnancy and nursing.

Heavy Metals Contamination Is Extremely Important.

Heavy metal poisoning is not addressed in herb articles generally. 


Heavy metal poisoning can damage your fetus in the womb!

Birth defects and brain problems can occur from heavy metals!

These heavy metals flow right into your baby while nursing.


Many of these herbs come from countries such as China, all of Asia, India, and Mexico.

Herbs take up nutrients from the soil, water, and air they are grown in.  

If there are heavy metals in their environment either naturally or by man, they will contain heavy metals.

These heavy metals can affect your growing baby in the womb or when nursing as well.

Lead and Mercury have been proven to be passed from mother to child both while in the womb and while nursing.

These heavy metals can lead to improper brain development and damage to the nervous system of the baby.

Most of your tea herbs and herbal products are not tested unless they state 3rd party tested. 

Testing performed in the original country of origin for example China is highly questionable or non-existent.

Organic certified products should be 3rd party tested for heavy metals and contamination as well.


Take herb products unless the company states the heavy metal testing they perform on products.


Herbal Teas that Contain Caffeine

Herbs that contain caffeine include green tea, matcha tea, black tea, and oolong tea. 

The caffeine in these teas is also transferred to your growing baby through the placenta. 

Your baby’s liver is not mature to deal with the breakdown of caffeine. 

Tea herbs especially are not tested for heavy metals or contamination by most companies.

If you drink herbal teas buy organic teas at least.

Organic teas do not guarantee they are free from heavy metals.


Herbal Spices to AVOID While Pregnant

25 herbs and spices to avoid during pregnancy.
Find out which herbal spices are contraindicated during pregnancy.

Most of these spices are considered safe when used sparingly as a spice in food.

These spice herbs are put in your foods as a pinch and are usually not used every day.

There is still the issue of heavy metals.


Cinnamon and Licorice are the exceptions.

These spices can also be purchased as herbal supplements as well.

When taken as a supplement, these herbs are in high dosages and used more like herbal medicine.

Cinnamon is taken by some to help control blood sugar. 

Do not take these spices as herbal supplements period during pregnancy.

Cinnamon is very popular to flavor hot chocolate, loaves of bread, on toast, and in smoothies.

This spice is the one used more often and in larger amounts.



The main medicinal property of turmeric is used as orange coloring in many foods.

May cause uterine contractions.



Used in formulations, especially in Ayurvedic medicine can cause uterine contractions.



Licorice is used to flavor gum, candy, cough drops, cough syrup, confections, and other foods.

Found in the form of teas and capsules.

Licorice can also raise blood pressure in certain people which can be an issue in pregnancy as well.


Nutmeg: Very popular spice on pumpkin pie, in hot chocolate mixes, and during the fall.

Nutmeg contains myristicin, which can cause some health problems when used in high doses.

It is also used in hot chocolate to help you sleep.



Considered Safe when used as a spice.

Oregano is a potent herb against bacteria and pathogens.

There are different species in this plant family.

Some are medicinal and some are used as spices mainly.

Oregano also comes as an essential oil and in concentrated capsules.

Do not use the oil and herbal formula or extract forms while pregnant.


Parsley Tea and Parsly Supplements

Generally considered safe when used sparingly as a spice in food. 

Should be avoided when found in herbal formulations for the bladder and kidney.

There are teas for the urinary tract that also contain parsley.



Considered Likely Safe when used orally in amounts typically found in foods.

This means that putting a pinch of rosemary on food is fine but A

Avoid consuming rosemary as a tea to aid your memory or as a herbal supplement.



Used as a spice on meat especially poultry and in turkey dressings.

Can cause hypertension or high blood pressure in some people, especially during pregnancy.

May cause uterine contractions as well.



Used as a spice in foods.

There are studies that implicate

Thyme as a possible problem during the first3-months of pregnancy especially.


Herbs That Could Cause Uterine Contractions and spontaneous abortions.

Drinking aloe juice is contraindicated when pregnant.
Aloe juice and other herbs in this article should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Warning Below 

Using the following herbs to purposely cause abortion, to terminate your pregnancy.

There is no hard research on the dosage that can cause an abortion.

Herbs should not be used to cause an abortion. 

The dosage you take could harm your liver, your heart function, and your blood pressure!  

Taking these herbs can damage the growing baby without causing a complete abortion.

Your baby could be born with serious birth defects if the abortion fails.

Using herbs to cause abortion can lead to an incomplete abortion,!

which is dangerous, and toxic to the body causing sepsis and other complications.


Aloe Vera is found in skin products and in the liquid form that you drink.

It is considered safe as a topical gel on the skin. I drink aloe juice for my stomach issues.

Can cause uterine contractions.



is found in supplements by itself for colds and flu. 

Main medicinal properties found in the herbs Goldenseal and Oregon Grape. 

It can harm the babies growing brain.


Black and Blue cohosh

These herbs are used during menopause and have hormonal effects that can cause uterine contractions.

Black and blue cohosh to induce labor are dangerous because they can cause miscarriage and birth defects.

Side effects when taking this herb could include diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches, perspiration,

chest pain, and slowed heart rate.  Besides, both herbs can increase blood pressure and blood sugar.


Cats claw-

Herb is used as a detoxifier and is effective for many different health issues.

One of the herbs listed in Chronic Lyme Disease Protocols destroys the Lyme bacteria.

Very potent herb with many effects on different body systems.

One of the most important herbs in healing but not when pregnant or nursing.


Chamomile is found in teas by itself or in sleep tea blends to promote calmness and peaceful sleep.

You can also find it in capsule form.

May cause uterine contractions. 


Dong Quai Can cause uterine contractions.

Dong Quai is an herb that can affect women’s hormonal activity.


Feverfew- This herb is found by itself and in formulations for Migraines and to reduce fever. 

My Brain and herbal formulas for headaches and migraines usually contain this herb as a main ingredient. 

May cause uterine contractions.


Gotu Kola A supplement found in many brain health supplements and by itself in concentrated forms.

May cause uterine contractions.


Juniper Berries One of the main herbs used in herbal formulations for bladder and kidney health issues.

May cause uterine contractions.

Do not pick the berries yourself and use them unless you are a skilled herbalist with experience.


Kava Kava– an herbal supplement used to treat anxiety.


Pau D Arco Used in formulations for anti-cancer support and in tea.

May cause uterine contractions.


Pennyroyal usually found in essential oils.

This herb can cause uterine contractions leading to spontaneous abortion.


Saw Palmetto Herb which has hormonal effects on the body.

Could cause uterine contractions.


Yarrow-used for centuries as a natural wound treatment.

May be included in shampoos and hair rinse products. May cause uterine contractions.



Find out More about this subject here: Herbs and Pregnancy | American Pregnancy Association

Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy (utep.edu)

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