Is Camomile Safe For Pregnant Women?

I am 11 weeks pregnant and have received VERY conflicting info on chamomile tea. Two web sites say "DO NOT" use during pregnancy and two others say do, to help with morning sickness and constipation. Do you have any opinion?

Thank you in advance.
--Kaelen

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Kaelen,

I have done some research into your question, and understand why you have gotten confused. There are conflicting messages. However, what seems to be a common strain in what I have read is that herbs used as medicinals, in which case they are more concentrated and stronger, should be avoided during pregnancy. This is because, although some may be safe and others harmful, there is no way of being sure. In the U.S., herbal medicines are not regulated by the FDA and any herbal product is allowed on the market unless the government proves it is harmful. This is in contrast to pharmaceuticals, where manufacturers must first prove the safety and efficacy of a drug BEFORE they begin to sell it.

Herbal teas, on the other hand, contain small amounts of herbs blended for flavor only, not for medicinal effects. Chamomile is on the FDA list of GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) ingredients, and is viewed as a very beneficial and benign herb. I have not read in any precessional review of herbs of chamomile being singled out as dangerous to take when pregnant or nursing. It is simply placed in the all-encompassing group recommendation, to avoid herbal medicinals (but no mention of teas) while pregnant.

This leaves you with no black or white answer. My professional opinion, in light of the literature and evidence, is that chamomile tea in moderation is probably fine to enjoy while pregnant and nursing. I most definitely agree that herbal medicinals, however, should be avoided.

I am sorry that I have probably not entirely cleared up your confusion, but perhaps I have added to your stockpile of information that you can draw on to come up with your own decision.

Thank you for writing.

Sincerely,
Sue Gilbert
Nutritionist

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