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Presented by: UT El Paso / Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program & Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy

Scientific name Common name(s) Part (s) used Form of use Comments
Achillea millefolium

 

Yarrow, milenrama Stems, leaves, and flowers Tea May induce uterine contractions
Actaea racemosa Black cohosh Root Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Aloe vera Aloe, sabila, zabila, babos Gel and latex Creams, whole leaf preparations, beverages Gel used topically is considered safe. Avoid ingesting whole leaf preparations as they may induce uterine contractions
Angelica archangelica Angelica Root Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Angelica sinensis Dong Quai, Dang gui, Chinese angelica Root Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Anthemis nobilis Roman chamomile, manzanilla romana Flowers Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Artemisia spp. Wormwood, Estafiate, Istafiate, Ajenjo Leaves and stems Tea Various species of wormwood contain potentially neurotoxic ingredient known as thujone
Cascara sagrada Sacred bark Tree bark Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Caulophyllum thalictroides Blue cohosh, squaw root Root Tea, capsules May be toxic to fetus and induce uterine contractions
Centella asiatica Gotu kola Stems, leaves Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Cinnamomum cassia Cassia, canelón Tree bark Tea Occasional use as a condiment considered safe. Taken as tea may induce uterine contractions
Cinnamomum verum Cinnamon, true cinnamon, canela Tree bark Tea Occasional use as a condiment considered safe. Taken as tea may induce uterine contractions
Datura spp. Jimsonweed, stramonium, moonflower, estramonio, toloache Whole plant Tea Various species of Datura are toxic and hallucinogenic
Dysphania spp. Wormseed, Mexican tea, Epazote, Paico Leaves and stems Tea Occasional use as a condiment considered safe. Contains a toxic compound known as ascaridol and may induce uterine contractions. Oil is neurotoxic
Humulus lupulus Hops, lúpulo Fruits Tea, pills, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Hydrastis canadensis

 

Golden Seal, sello dorado Root Tea, pills, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Hypericum perforatum St. John´s Wort, Hierba de San Juan, corazoncillo, hipérico Flowers, stems Tea, pills, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Juniperus spp. Juniper berry, sabino Berry Tea May induce uterine contractions
Matricaria recutita German chamomille, manzanilla alemana Flowers Tea, capsules, enema May induce uterine contractions
Mentha pulegium Pennyroyal, poleo Leaves, stems, and flowers Tea, essential oil Essential oil should not be used internally, feto-toxic and liver toxic
Montanoa tomentosa Zoapatle. Cihuapatli Leaves and stems Tea May induce uterine contractions
Nicotiana tabacum Tobacco, tabaco Leaves Smoked, chewed All parts of this plant are toxic and contraindicated during pregnancy
Origanum spp. Oregano Leaves and stems Tea, essential oil Occasional use as a condiment considered safe. Essential oil should not be used internally
Panax ginseng Korean ginseng Root Tea, capsules Safety for use during pregnancy not established. Avoid during first trimester
Panax quinquefolius American ginseng Root Tea, capsules Safety for use during pregnancy not established. Avoid during first trimester
Passiflora incarnata Passion flower, Flor de la pasión Flowers Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Pausinystalia yohimbe Yohimbe Tree bark Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Peumus boldus Boldo Leaves Tea Contains a toxic compound known as ascaridol and a hypnotic alkaloid, boldine
Piper methysticum Kava kava Rhizomes, root Liquid extracts, capsules Safety for use during pregnancy not established
Rhamnus purshiana Buckthorn, espino cerval Bark Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Rheum spp. Rhubarb, ruibarbo Root Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Ricinus communis Castor oil, palma christi, ricino Seeds Oil Castor oil used as laxative may stimulate uterine contractions. Seed very poisonous
Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary, romero Stems and leaves Tea, essential oil Occasional use as a condiment considered safe. Taken as tea may induce uterine contractions. Essential oil to be used topically under professional supervision, avoid ingestion of essential oil
Ruta graveolens Rue, Ruda Leaves and stems Tea Toxic and may induce uterine contractions
Serenoa repens Saw palmetto, Palma sabal Berries Pills, capsules May have hormonal action
Symphytum officinale Comfrey Whole plant Tea, capsules May be liver toxic
Tabebuia spp. Pau d´ arco, palo de arco, lapacho Flowers, tree bark Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Tanacetum vulgare Feverfew, tanaceto Flowers, stems Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Trifolium pratense Clover, trebol Flowers, stems Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Trigonella foenum-graecum Fenugreek, alholva, fenogreco Leaves, seeds Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Turnera diffusa Damiana, hierba de la pastora Flowers, stems Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions
Uncaria tomentosa Cat´s claw, uña de gato Stem Tea, capsules May induce uterine contractions

References

Berdonces JL. Gran Diccionario de las Plantas Medicinales.
Barcelona, Spain: Editorial Oceano; 2009.

Bone K, Mills S. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy 2nd Ed.
London: Churchill Livingstone; 2013.

Chaboussant PJ et al. [Behavioural impairments and hallucinations after consumption of boldo leaf infusions][Article in French]. Therapie; 2014; 69(5):465-7.

Dantuluri S, North-Lewis P, Karthik SV. Gotu Kola induced hepatotoxicity in a child – need for caution with alternative remedies.
Dig Liver Dis. 2011; 43(6):500. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2010.12.012.

Gardner Z, McGuffin M (Editors).  Botanical Safety Handbook 2nd ed.
Boca Raton, FL; CRC Press; 2013.

Khare C P. Ayurvedic Pharmacopeial Plant Drugs.
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2016.

Khare C P. Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary.
New Delhi, India: Springer-Verlag; 2007.

Mejía-Dolores JW et al. Efecto neurotóxico del extracto acuoso de boldo (Peumus boldus) en un modelo animal.
Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica. 2014; 31(1):62-8.

Mendoza-Castelán G, Lugo-Pérez R. Plantas Medicinales en los Mercados de México.
Chapingo, Estado de México:Universidad Autónoma Chapingo; 2011.

Mills S, Bone K. Essential Guide to Herbal Safety.
St. Louis, MO: Churchill-Livingstone/Elsevier; 2005.

Quattrocchi, U.  World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants (4 vols.).
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012.

Romm A. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health.
New York: Elsevier; 2010.

Van Wyk E, Wink M.  Phytomedicines, Herbal Drugs, and Poisons.
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press: 2014.

Veitch N, Smith M, Barnes J, Anderson L, Phillipson D. Herbal Medicines 4th ed.
London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2013

Vohora D, Vohora S. Safety Concerns for Herbal Drugs.
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2016.