Again, thank you for the advice and for being YOU! I don’t want to think about what life would have been like the past 10+ years if I hadn’t had your essential oils and ways of making my life more naturally healthy.
Emmenagogue herbs are a significant portion of the kind of herbs that are contraindicated during pregnancy. Emmenagogue means that the herb stimulates and promotes menstruation and also describes herbs used to restore monthly regularity to the menstrual cycle. Their activity could also include that they tonify and strengthen the muscle tone, glandular tissue and blood supply of the uterus.
All emmenagogue herbs do not have the same activity to achieve their action. Some regulate the blood vessels in the uterus (e.g. Yarrow Flower Achillea millefolium), stimulate the general blood circulation (e.g. Prickly AshZanthoxylum americanum) or change the flow characteristics of the uterine blood (e.g. Safflower Carthamus tinctorius). Another group of emmenagogues help to regulate hormonal secretions of the hypothalamus, pituitary and the ovaries. Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex) Vitex agnus-castus is an example of this category. There are uterine stimulants called oxytocics that have a more direct and indirect action on the uterus and Motherwort Leonurus sibiricus would be an example of an indirect stimulant. The above information comes from one of our resources for safety information
McGuffin, Michael, et al Ed. American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press. 1997. It is interesting to note that they do not categorize Ginger or Peppermint as an emmenagogue. They also give a helpful perspective on the subject of emmenagogues in general by pointing out that while this category of herbs has been important in traditional and modern herbalism, the action of these herbs for this purpose is not recognized or well understood by the medical community. There is very little research to help explain the theory, therapeutic range or safety associated with this activity.
We also have a couple of books in our library about herbs for pregnancy by very respectable authors who both recommend using Ginger for nausea or morning sickness. Only one of them, Susan Weed, mentions a caution as well as wholeheartedly recommending using generous amounts of it for severe cases of nausea during pregnancy. Here is a short list of their suggestions:
Weed, Susan S. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Woodstock, New York: Ash Tree Publishing. 1986.
1) Maintain your blood sugar and don’t let it get too low.
2) Walk a mile a day
3) Increase iron and B vitamin complex
4) Eat unsalted crackers before getting out of bed
5) Avoid spicy and greasy foods
6) Get out of bed slowly
7) Drink a cup of Anise or Fennel Seed tea upon waking
8) Drink one teaspoon apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces warm water first thing in morning.
1) Open window or go outside to get some fresh air
2) Drink a cup or two or Raspberry Leaf Tea each day. Also sip before getting up and also suck on ice cubes made from tea.
3) Homeopathics – Ipecac 30x, Nux vomica 6x, Cannabis 30x
4) Drink tea made from Peach Tree Leaf
5) Sip Peppermint or Spearmint Tea first thing in morning
6) Take tablespoon doses of Ginger Root Tea.
7) Wild Yam Root tea sipped throughout day or dropperful of tincture once or twice a day.
8) Ginger Capsules are taken in doses of up to 25 capsules per day for complete control of severe nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy.
Her cautionary list of emmenagogues includes Ginger where she states to be careful not to exceed the recommended dose.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women. New York: Fireside. 1993.
1) She suggests a liquid extract combination of the following:
2 parts Wild Yam
1 part Dandelion Root
1/4 part Ginger Root
1/2 part Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex)
Take 1/4th teaspoon, three times daily and during acute episodes of morning sickness she says this combination could be taken frequently throughout the day.
2) Ginger Root Tea taken hot or warm and capsules could be taken throughout the day for extreme nausea.
3) Ginger & Peppermint Tea
4) Peach Leaf Combination Tea:
1 part Raspberry Leaf
1 part Peach Leaf
2 parts Peppermint Leaf
1/4 part Ginger Root (optional)
Rosemary Gladstar makes an interesting point in saying that the scientific group may be concerned about the possible uterine stimulating action of Ginger because it has been traditionally used throughout history to promote menstruation. However, during this extensively, long historical use of Ginger as a successful treatment for nausea during pregnancy, there has not been any record of it causing a miscarriage or of this herb ever used for that purpose.
One of my favorite books Mowrey, Daniel B. Herbal Tonic Therapies. New Canaan: Keats Publishing Co. 1993 suggests taking 3-8 capsules before getting out of bed in the morning, then remain in bed and keep taking the capsules until no more nausea is experienced and then for the rest of the day take 3-5 capsules at the slightest hint of nausea and relax quietly until the it subsides.
Even more helpful was what I found in Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press. 2001, where he states that Chinese physicians have recommended 20 to 28 grams to trigger menstruation. 1000 milligrams equal 1 gram. Compare that dose to a cup of tea that contains approximately 500 milligrams as well as one capsule may contain 400 to 500 milligrams.
I hope this helps you to make a decision. It’s just one of these topics where you need to be informed as well as you can and make a decision that feels right to you.
Congratulations on being pregnant!! It’s very nice to hear from you again!