Which herbal teas work best for morning sickness may prove an unexpectedly complicated issue for newly pregnant women. Certainly many herbs boast reputations for soothing at least one of the symptoms generally associated with morning sickness -- nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, indigestion and flatulence. Yet while one medical institution or author might label an herbal tea as safe and effective during pregnancy, another might warn of the risk of miscarriage. Talk to an experienced midwife or obstetrician to determine the safety level of various herbal teas, and whether a prescription medication might be preferable.
The same tea you once turned to after a night on the town now comes to your rescue during morning sickness, according to the American Pregnancy Association, or APA. Peppermint is a classic stomach-soothing herb, whether in candy, fresh or tea form. Its effectiveness stems from the herb’s ability to balance the flow of digestive bile and to slow down the stomach muscles, both of which contribute to easier digestion, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The tea may also ease the flatulence and hiccups some women suffer through in the early stages of pregnancy. Herbalist Lesley Bremness suggests using hot tea to sooth nausea and cold tea for flatulence and hiccups. Don’t take peppermint tea if you’re suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, warns UMMC.
While ginger is a classic nausea-reliever, opinions differ on ginger tea's safety during pregnancy. The APA lists it as "possibly safe." Talk to your midwife or OB-GYN to determine if ginger is right for you, and keep the amount of ginger used in each tea low. "In my book, ginger still ranks as number one" for relieving morning sickness," writes herbal medicine author James Duke in his book "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook." According to UMMC, ginger tea makes a safe an effective medicine for even severe vomiting and nausea if the dose is kept under 1 gram per day, and in blocks lasting no more than four days at a time. When making ginger tea from powdered ginger, 1 gram equals ½ teaspoon, or one tea bag.
Herbalists prize the leaves of the red raspberry plant as highly as they do the berries. Leaves from the red raspberry bush are one of the classic pregnancy herbs because they appear to tone the uterus in preparation for labor. In fact, most “pregnancy tea” blends contain raspberry leaf, notes the APA. The herb’s other aids to pregnancy include its ability to soothe nausea, provide plenty of iron and contributes to an increase in milk production. Ask your practitioner, however, about whether you should have raspberry tea during the first trimester. Experts disagree on whether it is safe to use during the early months. If you are one of the unlucky women who suffer from morning sickness for more than three months, you’ll probably get the go-ahead to drink the tea. Otherwise, check on first trimester use, and on recommended daily amounts of raspberry leaf tea. The APA lists it as “likely safe.”
- American Pregnancy Association: Drinking Herbal Teas During Pregnancy
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Peppermint
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger
- "The Complete Book of Herbs"; Lesley Bremness; 1998