Abortifacient Plants You Shouldn't Eat While Pregnant

Did you know that some medicinal plants could cause a miscarriage? Discover everything here.
Abortifacient Plants You Shouldn't Eat While Pregnant

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Did you know that there are some plants that you shouldn’t eat while pregnant? Usually, they’re known as abortifacient plants, since they can cause serious damage to your child’s health, even triggering a miscarriage. We’ll tell you everything you need to know in this article.

Abortifacient plants to avoid during pregnancy

Plants known as abortifacient have within their compounds some active ingredients that can favor the onset of contractions, thus triggering an abortion, especially during the first months of pregnancy.

For this reason, pregnant women shouldn’t usually take medicinal plants, unless they have a prescription and medical advice. Before consuming natural teas, consult your doctor about it.

Find out: What Can Cause Discharge During Pregnancy and How To Treat It

Abortifacient plants prohibited in pregnancy

Rue herb, an abortive plant to avoid during pregnancy.
Rue is one of the plants that can cause a miscarriage.

Take note of the plants that could cause health problems for your baby and even yourself so you can avoid them during pregnancy. Below, we’ll tell you which abortifacient plants you should avoid eating:

  • Wormwood
  • Verbena
  • Rue
  • Boldo
  • Yarrow
  • Licorice
  • Sage
  • Tansy
  • Farfara
  • Mint pennyroyal
  • Arnica
  • Santa Maria Herb
  • Ginkgo biloba

Regular consumption of infusions made with these plants can cause some complications, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, although we also don’t recommend consumption in the second and third trimesters. Among the possible problems we have:

  1. Increased blood flow in the uterus
  2. Provocation of uterine contractions
  3. Induction of premature labor or abortion
  4. Detrimental effects on the health of the fetus
  5. Bleeding, which can lead to the loss of the fetus
  6. Vomiting and nausea
  7. Diarrhea
  8. Numbness

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, consult your doctor before ingesting any of these medicinal plants. Remember that, during pregnancy, you have to pay special attention to your diet to take care of your health and your baby’s.

Drinking teas with abortifacient plants and risk of miscarriage

Woman holding stomach in pain.
Consuming too much caffeine is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.

Many women drink tea made from any of the plants mentioned above in an attempt to minimize caffeine intake, which we know shouldn’t exceed 300 mg daily. Remember that caffeine is also present in tea, some soft drinks, and chocolate.

Read also: Is Caffeine Consumption Safe during Pregnancy?

Now, does this information mean that if you’ve had wormwood tea you have a high risk of a miscarriage? As a general rule, the risk of miscarriage increases with regular and habitual consumption. This means that if you drank tea from one of these abortifacient plants before knowing that they could be harmful, there’s no danger.

When in doubt, we recommend that you go to your doctor to get their opinion and remain calm, for your health and that of your baby. No one can guide you better than a specialist.

Beneficial drinks during pregnancy

Chamomile tea is not an abortive plant, it's a safe option during pregnancy.
Chamomile tea can be a good option to substitute for caffeine during pregnancy.

We’ve already seen which teas aren’t recommended during pregnancy, now we’ll give you some options to replace coffee or black tea for breakfast:

  1. Chamomile: its digestive properties can help you if you’re having digestive issues. Also, it can help you fight insomnia.
  2. Red tea: this doesn’t contain theine (caffeine), for this reason it’s usually recommended during pregnancy. Its antihistamine properties make it a good option for pregnant women who suffer from allergies.
  3. Tila tea: famous for its calming properties, it can help you reduce anxiety and sleep peacefully.
  4. Ginger: Ginger tea is often used to relieve stomach issues such as nausea and vomiting.
  5. Raspberry Leaves: Grandmothers often recommend raspberry leaf tea when you’re close to labor, due to its purported benefits for toning the uterine muscles.

Note: Although these infusions don’t usually cause problems in pregnant women, before drinking them, you should consult your doctor.

If you’re pregnant, you have to be especially careful with your diet and hydration. Pay attention to everything you eat to avoid damaging your health or that of your baby.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Asociación de Urología del Oeste de Nueva York. Santamaría Tanacetum parthenium. 2014. https://www.wnyurology.com/content.aspx?chunkiid=124971
  • Bermúdez Matus, K. L., Delgado Soto, A. A., & Valle García, G. A. Análisis microbiológico de fitofármacos : Llantén, cola de caballo, quiebra piedra para problemas urinarios, comercializados en farmacias botánicas de la ciudad de León. 2019. Retrieved from http://riul.unanleon.edu.ni:8080/jspui/handle/123456789/7677
  • Carmona, E. C., Ortiz, A. C., & Ortiz, A. C. Plantas prohibidas o restringidas por su toxicidad: flora psicotrópica. Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses, (200), 2009: 73–123. Retrieved from https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=3177054
  • Ciganda C, Laborde A. Herbal infusions used for induced abortion. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(3):235-9.
  • El-Gazar AA, Emad AM, Ragab GM, Rasheed DM. Mentha pulegium L. (Pennyroyal, Lamiaceae) Extracts Impose Abortion or Fetal-Mediated Toxicity in Pregnant Rats. 2022 May 16;14(5):347.
  • Gallo M, Sarkar M, Au W, Pietrzak K et al. Pregnancy outcome following gestational exposure to echinacea: a prospective controlled study. Arch Intern Med. 2000 Nov 13;160(20):3141-3.
  • Hijazi AM, Salhab AS. Effects of Artemisia monosperma ethanolic leaves extract on implantation, mid-term abortion and parturition of pregnant rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 24;128(2):446-51.
  • Macías-Peacok B, Pérez-Jackson L, Suárez-Crespo M. F, Fong-Domínguez C. O, , Pupo-Perera E. Consumo de plantas medicinales por mujeres embarazadas. Revista Médica del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social [Internet]. 2009;47(3):331-334. Recuperado de: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=457745514017
  • Márquez Carrasco, Ángeles María et al. Seguridad de la toma de infusiones herbales en el embarazo: manzanilla, valeriana, tila, té y menta-poleo. (n.d.). Hospital Universitario Vírgen de la Victoria. Junsta de Andalucía. 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from Huvv.es website: https://www.huvv.es/profesionales/revista-enfermeria-docente/seguridad-de-la-toma-de-infusiones-herbales-en-el-embarazo-
  • Morgan S, Koren G, Bozzo P. Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy? Can Fam Physician. 2013 Apr;59(4):361-2.
  • Neyra García, José. Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. 2021. 10.13140/RG.2.2.27238.96324.
  • Puerta SJ, Cardona DD, Álvarez GA, et al. Efecto de extractos de Anethum graveolens, Melissa officinalis y Calendula officinalis sobre los espermatozoides humanos. Rev Cubana Planta Med. 2012;17 (4):420-430.
  • Rotblatt MD. Cranberry, feverfew, horse chestnut, and kava. West J Med. 1999;171(3):195-198.
  • Rodrigues, H. G., Meireles, C. G., Lima, J. T. S., Toledo, G. P., Cardoso, J. L., & Gomes, S. L. Efeito embriotóxico, teratogênico e abortivo de plantas medicinais. Revista Brasileira de Plantas Medicinais, 2011: 13(3), 359–366. doi:10.1590/s1516-05722011000300016
  • Sabourian R, Karimpour-Razkenari E, Saeedi M, Bagheri MS et al. Medicinal Plants Used in Iranian Traditional Medicine (ITM) as Contraceptive Agents. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2016;17(11):974-85.
  • Sorlino, D. M. Uso de siembras continuadas para la caracterización de la etapa siembra floración de dos poblaciones de Borago officinalis L. mediante modelos fenológicos. 1998. Retrieved from http://rodna.bn.gov.ar/jspui/handle/bnmm/318920
  • Universidad de Texas (UTEP). Hierbas a evitar durante el embarazo. https://www.utep.edu/herbal-safety/populations/herbs-to-avoid-during-pregnancy.html
  • Zeynali, F., Anvari, M., Dashti, M. H., & BOYOUKI S.M.H. The effect of thyme (thymus vulgaris) Decoction on pregnancy in rats. 2009: 7(2), 0–0. Retrieved from https://www.sid.ir/paper/295359/en

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.