Pregnancy and Herbs

Herbs and pregnant women get along just peachy. China’s population is a good proof of this. However because pregnant women are “taking herbs for two”, we should be particularly careful with anything given to women while pregnant.

Those who have a history of miscarriages or other pregnancy issues should be particularly careful not to take herbs without expert advice. That being said, those with pregnancy issues are exactly the women who can most benefit from Chinese herbal medicine.

If there is one message that this page hopes to convey, it is simply this: consult your locally licensed Chinese medicine professional before taking any of the herbs described on this page under the caution or contraindicated sections. Those listed under the beneficial list are generally okay.

These are guidelines only. We’re trying to be a little more cautious than perhaps we need to be on this page. If you’re seeing a well-regarded Chinese medicine practitioner whom you have reason to trust, all of these herbs are okay to take, but only when they’re prescribed especially for you and your particular needs as assessed by someone knowledgeable about your case and the herbs being used.

Herbs that are BENEFICIAL in pregnancy

The following herbs are used for a variety of purposes in Chinese medicine. Some stimulate fertility, others prevent miscarriages or nausea. As usual, consult your locally licensed Chinese medicine provider for insights into how these herbs may affect you and your pregnancy. [more…]

Ai Ye 艾葉 mugwort leaf, artemesia leaf Folium Artemesiae Argyi (Uterine Bleeding)
Bai Bian Dou 白扁豆 hyacinth bean, dolichos, lablab Lablab Semen album (Nausea)
Bai Shao 白芍 white peony root, peony Paeoniae Radix alba (Restless Fetus)
Bai Zhu 白术 , bai shu ovate atractylodes, (white) atractylodes rhizome (Restless Fetus, Uterine Bleeding)
Ban Xia 半夏 pinellia rhizome, pinellia tuber Rhizoma Pinelliae Ternatae (Nausea)
Dang Gui 當歸 tangkuei, Chinese angelica root Radix Angelicae Sinensis (Restless Fetus, Low Back Pain, Uterine Bleeding)
Di Fu Zi 地膚子 broom cypres, kocia fruit Fructus Kochiae Scopariae
Du Zhong 杜仲 Eucommiae Cortex eucommia bark (Restless Fetus, Low Back Pain, Uterine Bleeding)
E Jiao 阿膠 ass-hide glue, donkey-hide gelatin, a jiao, gelatin Asini Corii Colla (Uterine Bleeding)
Huang Qin 黃苓 baical skullcap root, scutellaria, scute Radix Scutellariae Baicalensis (Restless Fetus)
Huo Xiang 藿香 Pogostemonis/Agastaches Herba/Patchouli Pogostemonis/Agastaches Herba (Nausea)
Ku Shen 苦參 sophora root, flavescent sophora root Radix Sophorae Flavescentis
Sha Ren 砂仁 amomum fruit, grains-of-paradise fruit Fructus Amomi (Restless Fetus, Nausea, Uterine Bleeding)
Shu Di Huang 熟地黄 cooked rehmannia root, prepared Chinese foxglove root Rehmanniae Radix preparata (Restless Fetus)
Tu Si Zi 菟絲子 Chinese dodder seeds; cuscuta Cuscutae Semen (Uterine Bleeding)
Xu Duan續斷 Japanese teasel root; dipsacus Radix Dipsaci Asperi (Restless Fetus, Uterine Bleeding)
Yi Tang 飴糖 malt sugar, maltose Maltosum (Restless Fetus)
Ze Xie 澤瀉 alisma rhizome, water plantain Rhizoma Alismatis Orientalis
Zhu Ru 竹茹 bamboo shavings Caulis Bambusae in Taeniis (Nausea)
Zi Su Ye 紫蘇葉(紫苏叶) perilla leaf Folium Perillae Frutescentis (Restless Fetus, Nausea)

Herbs that should be used with CAUTION during pregnancy

These herbs have benefits to pregnant women, but if you have a tendency toward miscarriage or other history of pregnancy issues, best to consult with your locally licensed Chinese medicine provider for some insights as to whether these herbs are appropriate for your unique situation. [more…]

Bing Lang 檳榔 betel nut; areca seed; areaca Semen Arecae Catechu
Bu Gu Zhi 補骨脂 psoralea fruit Psoraliae Fructus
Cang Er Zi 蒼耳子 cockleburr fruit, xanthium Fructus Xanthii Sibirici
Dan Zhu Ye 淡竹葉 lophatherum stem and leaves Herba Lophatheri Gracilis
Di Long 地龍 earthworm; lumbricus Lumbricus
Gan Jiang 乾姜 dried ginger rhizome Zingiberis Rhizoma
Gou Qi Zi 枸杞子 lycium fruit, Chinese wolfberry, matrimony vine fruit, goji berry Lycii Fructus
Hou Po 厚朴 magnolia bark Cortex Magnoliae Officinalis
Ma Huang 麻黃 ephedra stem Herba Ephedrae (not included in online version)
San Qi 三七 notoginseng root, pseudoginseng root Notoginseng Radix
Shen Qu 神麴 medicated leaven Massa medicata fermentata
Suan Zao Ren 酸棗仁 sour jujube seed; zizyphus Semen Zizyphi Spinosae
Xiao Hui Xiang 小茴香 fennel fruit Foeniculi Fructus
Xin Yi Hua 辛夷花 magnolia flower Flos Magnoliae
Yi Mu Cao 益母草 Chinese motherwort, leonurus Herba Leonuri Heterophylae, Leonuri Herba
Yu Jin 鬱金(郁金) turmeric tuber, curcuma tuber Tuber Curcumae, Curcumae Radix
Yuan Zhi 遠志 Chinese senega root; polygala Radix Polygalae Tenuifoliae
Yuan Zhi 遠志 Chinese senega root; polygala Radix Polygalae Tenuifoliae
Zhi Ke 枳殼 bitter orange Aurantii Fructus
Zhi Shi 枳實 unripe bitter orange, chih-shih Aurantii Fructus immaturus

The following herbs are CONTRAINDICATED in pregnancy

Contraindicated means that if you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t use these herbs. There are of course exceptions, and I only offer this list for those who can’t see a licensed Chinese medicine provider in person.

Many of these herbs stimulate blood flow to “dispel stasis”. These are like blood thinners for blood clots. Unfortunately, these herbs may attempt to dispel the fetus as well since it looks a little bit like a blood clot to some of these herbs.

Other herbs in this list have a strong downward directionality. When you’re really angry and you feel like your head is about to explode, herbs with a downward directionality can get some of that pressure out of your head. However, this same downward action can induce a miscarriage in those who are prone to such things. Another reason to speak directly with a Chinese medicine provider before using any of the herbs on this list.

Keep in mind too, that for you and your unique situation, we may actually use some of these herbs in your formula and they could actually support your pregnancy. However when selling these “supplements” online, we can’t know for sure what your particular needs are and so we want to be a little cautious.

Bai Ji Li 白蒺蔾 caltrop fruit; puncture-vine fruit Fructus Tribuli Terristris
Bie Jia 鱉甲 Chinese soft-shelled turtle shell (dorsal aspect) Trionycis Carapax
Chuan Niu Xi 川牛膝 cyathula root Cyathulae Radix
Da Huang 大黄 rhubarb root and rhizome Radix et Rhizoma Rhei
Da Huang (Shu) 大黄 rhubarb root and rhizome Radix et Rhizoma Rhei (processed)
E Zhu 莪术 curcuma rhizome Curcumae Rhizoma
Fu Zi 附子 Prepared daughter root of Sichuan aconite Radix Lateralis Aconiti Carmichaeli Praeparata
Gui Ban 龜板 deep fried plastrum testudinis Testudinis Plastrum
Hong Hua 紅花 safflower flower, carthamus Carthami Flos
Hu Zhang 虎杖 bushy knotweed rhizome, giant knotweed Polygoni cuspidati Rhizoma
Huai Niu Xi 懷牛膝 achyranthes root Archyanthis bidentatae Radix
Jiang Huang薑黄 turmeric rhizome Rhizoma Curcumae Longae, Curcumae longae Rhizoma
Mang Xiao 芒硝 mirabilite, glauber’s salt Natrii Sulfas
Pu Huang 蒲黃 cattail pollen, bulrush, typha pollen Pollen Typhae
Rou Gui 肉桂 inner bark of Saigon cinnamon, cinnamon bark Cinnamomi Cortex
Ru Xiang 乳香 frankincense, gum olibanum, mastic Olibanum
San Leng 三棱 sparganium, burr reed rhizome, scirpus, common burr reed Sparganii Rhizoma
Tao Ren 桃仁 peach kernel, persica Persicae Semen
Tian Hua Fen 天花粉 trichosanthes root Radix Trichosanthis Kirilowii
Wu Ling Zhi 五靈脂 flying squirrel feces, pteropus Trogopterori Faeces (not included in online version)
Yi Yi Ren 薏苡仁 coix seeds, Job’s tears Semen Coicis Lachrymae Jobi