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Herbs and Herbal Teas

While pregnant or breastfeeding, what you put into your body may affect your baby. Whether you use herbs to prevent or treat a health problem or drink herbal teas to replace caffeinated drinks, read on to find out how to make a safe choice.

Possible danger of herbs

Certain herbs may:

  • Stimulate uterine contractions
  • Have estrogen-like effects
  • Affect blood pressure

If you are unsure about the safety of any herbs or herbal teas, it is best to avoid it. Before taking any herb or herbal tea, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.

Herbs and br​east milk production

If you choose to take any herbal supplement for breast milk production, talk first to your health care provider or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

What​ to avoid

  • Avoid herbs or herbal products that have not been licensed by Health Canada as a natural health product.

​Before using any herbal products, check to see if the product is licensed in Canada. Visit the licensed natural health products database on Health Canada’s website  to see if there is a warning for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Too much caffeine (more than 300 milligrams per day) during pregnancy can cause low birth weight or miscarriage. When breastfeeding, it may cause your baby to be cranky and have trouble sleeping.

​Caffeine is not a herb but it can be found in certain teas, coffee, cocoa, carbonated and energy drinks, kola, guarana, yerba mate as well as cold and headache remedies. 

Safe Herbs and Herbal Teas

Herbs can be found in certain teas and recipes. Certain herbs are considered safe as long as they are not in a capsule or supplement form. They include:

  • Bitter orange or orange peel
  • Echinacea
  • Ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Rose hip
  • Rosemary

If you choose to drink any herbal teas from the list above, limit the amount to 2-3 cups per day.

Herbal teas should not replace more nutritious beverages. If you are thirsty, good choices include (hot or cold):

  • Water - try adding lemon, lime or orange slices for flavour.
  • Low-fat or chocolate milk.
  • Plain or flavoured fortified soy beverage.
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

For more information contact your health care provider.

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