Is it safe to drink herbal teas during pregnancy

Probably, but be careful. Many women avoid all drugs during pregnancy, including caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and prescription and over-the-counter medicines, but then think nothing of drinking cup after cup of herbal tea.
There is very little evidence on the safety of the use of herbal teas during pregnancy. A general guideline is to always drink tea made with a filtered teabag and it is always a good idea to drink herbal teas in moderation.The teas available in filtered teabags in your local supermarket are likely to be safe in moderation. Chamomile, peppermint, fruit teas, ginger and jasmine are all commonly available and a good alternative to caffeinated tea.

Certain herbal teas can be very beneficial in pregnancy and may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of pregnancy. Many women find that small amounts of ginger tea can help with morning sickness, while peppermint tea can ease heartburn and indigestion.

It is commonly thought that green tea is a herbal alternative, but green tea contains caffeine and, depending on how it is prepared, may contain more caffeine than a regular cup of black tea.

Generally speaking, any herb which is considered fine for food use is presumed to be safe for teas as well. Look on packaging labels for contents that may normally be part of your diet (such as mint, lemon or orange extracts). You can also buy herbal tea blends specifically made for drinking when you are pregnant. Make sure they are from a reputable supplier.

Never make a tea from any plant in your own garden, unless you’re 100 per cent sure what it is and that you can safely take it while you’re pregnant. If you are in any doubt as to the safety of what you are drinking, look at our chart of herbs to avoid in pregnancy or contact a medical herbalist.

Writer: Naras Lapsys, reviewed Aug 2010