Contraindicated botanicals

Although there is insufficient research conducted on the vast majority of botanicals to make conclusions concerning efficacy and safety, there are several preparations which are commonly classified as being potentially harmful during pregnancy. These include sage (Salvia officinalis), St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), chamomile (Marticaria recutita), ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus folio), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and black (Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa) or blue (Caulophyllum thalictroides) cohosh [132]. It is noteworthy that many of these botanicals are not used by pregnant women for pregnancy-related issues, but instead for treating other conditions for which they do not want to use prescription or other more traditional over-the-counter drugs. It is also important to note that there have been no controlled human studies conducted on most of these compounds during pregnancy. Instead, they are generally contraindicated during this period of the lifecycle due to expert opinion, observation, and clinical evidence gleaned from their effects in men or nonpregnant women. Here we will discuss two contraindicated herbs, chamomile and blue/black cohosh.

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