Advertisement

Advances in Therapy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 47–55 | Cite as

Herbal medicine in pregnancy and childbirth

  • Rachel Emma Westfall
Article

Abstract

Pregnant women often use medicinal herbs in an effort to maintain good health and reduce the need for medical intervention. A survey of the scientific and popular literature identified a number of therapeutic herbs used in North America. Three categories are discussed: tonics, herbs for preventing miscarriage, and herbs for inducing labor. Some of these preparations may address women’s needs in ways that biomedicine has failed to do. Purported merits and hazards of these medications are discussed.

Keywords

pregnancy herbal medicine nutrition miscarriage labor induction 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Lieberman L. Remedies…to file for future reference.Birthkit. 1995;5(Spring):1–8.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Duke JA.The Green Pharmacy. Emmaus, Pa: Rodale; 1997.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Weed S.Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. New York, NY: Ash Tree; 1986.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hudson T.Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine. Lincolnwood, Ill: Contemporary; 1999.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Romm A J.The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition and Other Holistic Choices. Freedom, Calif: Crossing Press; 1997.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cryns YL. Postpartum hemorrhage: prevention and treatment.Midwif Today. 1995;34(Summer):37–40.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Scott M. Three keys to avoiding postpartum hemorrhage.Midwif Today. 1998;48(Winter):23–24.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Parsons M, Simpson M, Ponton T. Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy.J Aust Coll Midwives. 1999;12(3):20–25.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lipo A. A holistic approach to ‘loose cervix’.Birthkit. 1996;10(Summer):3–5.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Belew C. Herbs and the childbearing woman.J Nurse Midwif. 1999;44:231–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bartram T.Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London, UK: Robinson; 1998.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Grieve M, ed.A Modern Herbal [reproduction of the 1931 original]. New York, NY: Dover; 1971.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hobbs C, Keville K.Women’s Herbs, Women’s Health. Loveland, Colo: Botanica Press; 1998.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Whitehouse B. Fragarine: an inhibitor of uterine action.BMJ. 1941;203:370–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Burn JH, Withell ER. A principle in raspberry leaves which relaxes uterine muscle.Lancet. 1941; 241:6149–6151.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    McFarlin BL, Gibson MH, O’Rear J, Harman P. A national survey of herbal preparation use by nurse-midwives for labor stimulation.J Nurse Midwif. 1999;44:205–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Balch JF, Balch PA.Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York, NY: Avery; 1990.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ody P.Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy. Los Angeles, Calif: Keats; 1999.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gardner J.Healing Yourself During Pregnancy. Freedom, Calif: Crossing Press; 1987.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Webster HT.Mitchella repens. Eclectic Med J. 1996;2:23.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Burch E, Sachs J.Natural Healing for the Pregnant Woman. New York, NY: Perigee; 1997.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds.Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin, Tex: American Botanical Council; 2000.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Yarnell E. Stinging nettle: a modern view of an ancient healing plant.Alternative Compl Ther. 1998;4(June): 180–186.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bombardelli E, Morazzoni P.Urtica dioica L.Fitoterapia. 1997;48(5):387–402.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lieberman L. Remedies…to file for future reference.Birthkit. 1995;6(Summer):7–8.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Duke JA.Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. Boca Raton, Fla: CRC Press; 1992.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bradley P, ed.British Herbal Compendium, I. Bournemouth, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Gardiner C. Formulary: nettles.Midwif Today. 1992;22(Spring):35.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Goldstein L. Remedies…to file for future reference.Birthkit. 1995;8(Winter):7–8.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gladstar R.Herbal Healing for Women. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster; 1993.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Felter HW, Lloyd JU, eds.King’s American Dispensatory[1898 ed.]. Portland, Ore: Eclectic; 1992.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Brinker F. Black haw and cramp bark.Eclectic Med J. 1996;2:2–3.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yarnell E. Botanical medicine in pregnancy and lactation.Alternative Comf1 Ther. 1997; 3(April):93–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Campion K.Holistic Herbal for Mother and Baby. London, UK: Bloomsbury; 1996.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Lipo A. More information from herbalist Anna Lipo, author of A holistic approach to ‘loose cervix.’Birthkit. 1996;10(Summer):8.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Stelling K.Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh).Can J Herbal. 1994;15(3):22–25.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Jones TK, Lawson BM. Profound neonatal congestive heart failure caused by maternal consumption of blue cohosh herbal medication.J Pediatr. 1998;132:550–552.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Beal MW. Women’s use of complementary and alternative therapies in reproductive health care.J Nurse Midwif. 1998;43:224–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Duke JA.Handbook of Biologically Active Phytochemicals and Their Activities. Boca Raton, Fla: CRC Press; 1992.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tyler VE.The Honest Herbal. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press; 1993.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Gunn TA, Wright IMR. The use of black and blue cohosh in labour.N Z Med J. 1996;109:410–411.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Baillie N, Rasmussen P. Black and blue cohosh in labour.N Z Med J. 1997;110:20–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Ferguson HC, Edwards LD. A pharmacological study of crystalline glycoside onCaulophyllum thalictoides.J Am Pharm Assoc. 1954;43:16–21.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Keeler RF. Teratogens in plants.J Animal Sci. 1984;58:1029–1039.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Kennelly EJ, Flynn TJ, Mazzola EP, et al. Detecting potential teratogenic alkaloids from blue cohosh rhizomes using an in vitro rat embryo culture.J Nat Prod. 1999;62:1385–1389.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Ortega JA, Lazerson J. Anagyrine-induced red cell aplasia, vascular anomaly, and skeletal dysplasia.J Pediatr. 1987;111:93–99.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Snow JM.Cimicifuga racemosa (L) Nutt. (ranunculaceae).Protocol J Botanic Med. 1996;Spring: 17–19.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Felter HW, ed.The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics [reproduction of the 1922 original]. Portland, Ore: Eclectic; 1985:466–469.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Knox DR. The influence ofCimicifuga racemosa upon parturition [reprinted in:Eclectic Med J. 1995;1:18].N Y Med J. 1885;267:41.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Brinker F. Macrotys.Eclectic Med J. 1996;1:2–4.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Shao Y, Harris A, Wang M, et al. Triterpene glycosides fromCimicifuga racemosa.J Nat Prod. 2000; 63:905–910.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Liske E. Therapeutic efficacy and safety ofCimicifuga racemosa for gynecologic disorders.Adv Nat Ther. 1998;15:45–53.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Wade C, Kronenberg F, Kelly A, Murphy PA. Hormone-modulating herbs: implications for women’s health.J Am Med Womens Assoc. 1999;54:181–183.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Dixon-Shanies D, Shaikh N. Growth inhibition of human breast cancer cells by herbs and phytoestrogens.Oncol Rep. 1999;6:1383–1387.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Phillips R, Foy N.The Random House Book of Herbs. New York, NY: Random House; 1990.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Niederkorn JS. Macrotys.Eclectic Med J. 1910;70:63–66.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Hufford CD, Liu SC, Clark AM. Antifungal activity ofTrillium grandiflorum constituents.J Nat Prod. 1988;51:94–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Health Communications Inc 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Emma Westfall
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Health Department of BiologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoria BCCanada

Personalised recommendations