Chamomile Tea May Not Be Safe During Pregnancy

Chamomile Tea May Not Be Safe During Pregnancy
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For the same reason aspirin should be avoided in pregnancy, chamomile has such powerful anti-inflammatory properties that regular consumption may result in a serious fetal heart problem—premature constriction of the fetal ductus arteriosus, which allows the fetus to “breathe” in the womb.

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Chamomile is one of the oldest widely used medicinal plants in the world. A recent review suggests there is scientific evidence supporting its use against inflammation, cancer, the common cold, heart disease, diarrhea, eczema, ulcers, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers, osteoporosis, insomnia, anxiety, diabetes, sore throat, vaginitis, wounds, and the kitchen sink. “Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with liver or kidney disease has not been established, although there have not been any credible reports of toxicity caused by this common tea beverage.” Well, now there is.

See, chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and that’s the problem. There’s a reason pregnant women are not supposed to take anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin. “Premature constriction of the fetal ductus arteriosus following the maternal consumption of camomile herbal tea.”

The researchers observed two cases of premature ductal closure associated with maternal consumption of chamomile tea, which can be associated with serious fetal complications. The good news; if it’s caught early, and the herbal tea is stopped, the condition can be reversed. In the second case, though, they had to do an emergency Caesarean.

“We would advocate caution,” the researchers conclude, “in regular consumption of camomile tea during pregnancy.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to T.Voekler via Wikimedia Commons.

Chamomile is one of the oldest widely used medicinal plants in the world. A recent review suggests there is scientific evidence supporting its use against inflammation, cancer, the common cold, heart disease, diarrhea, eczema, ulcers, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers, osteoporosis, insomnia, anxiety, diabetes, sore throat, vaginitis, wounds, and the kitchen sink. “Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with liver or kidney disease has not been established, although there have not been any credible reports of toxicity caused by this common tea beverage.” Well, now there is.

See, chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and that’s the problem. There’s a reason pregnant women are not supposed to take anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin. “Premature constriction of the fetal ductus arteriosus following the maternal consumption of camomile herbal tea.”

The researchers observed two cases of premature ductal closure associated with maternal consumption of chamomile tea, which can be associated with serious fetal complications. The good news; if it’s caught early, and the herbal tea is stopped, the condition can be reversed. In the second case, though, they had to do an emergency Caesarean.

“We would advocate caution,” the researchers conclude, “in regular consumption of camomile tea during pregnancy.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to T.Voekler via Wikimedia Commons.

Doctor's Note

For more on chamomile tea, see Red Tea, Honeybush, & Chamomile, and The Healthiest Herbal Tea. For other cautionary pregnancy tales, see What About the Caffeine?Is Licorice Good For You?Iron During PregnancyMaternal Mercury LevelsPregnant Vegans at Risk for Iodine DeficiencyAmerican Vegans Placing Babies at Risk; and Chicken Consumption and the Feminization of Male Genitalia. Another common herbal tea that may have a potential downside is yerba maté (Update on Yerba Maté). The best beverage during pregnancy is water. 

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: The Most Anti-Inflammatory MushroomTreating PMS with Saffron; and Hibiscus Tea: The Best Beverage?

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