Ginseng is a popular herb and has been widely used in Chinese medicine since centuries. Depending on when it is harvested, it is classified into fresh, white or red ginseng. It’s root can either be consumed raw or had in the form of Ginseng Tea or in capsule or supplement form. Ginseng essential oil is also widely used. What makes this herb special and why should an expecting mother be cautious in using ginseng in the early stages of a pregnancy?
The popularity of the Ginseng herb rests on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is believed to boost the immune system, reduce the impact of muscle injury after exercise, enhance memory and concentration as well as prevent dementia. It can also improve digestion and ease symptoms of menopause.
However, it is not considered safe to use ginseng during the first trimester of pregnancy because it contains an active ingredient called ginsenoside Rb1 that has been shown to cause developmental defects in animal embryos. Consuming ginseng tea in the first three months of pregnancy has been reported to cause diarrhoea, leading to dehydration which can have adverse effects on the the baby. Ginseng also causes headaches, disrupts sleep and causes dryness in mouth in pregnant women. It has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels, causing dizziness and an uneven heartbeat, putting the mother and the baby in danger. Ginseng can also cause hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. Therefore it is best to avoid taking ginseng in any form during the early stages of a pregnancy. Always consult your doctor about herbs safe to use during pregnancy.