Pregnancy

Echinacea During Pregnancy

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Colds and coughs while being pregnant can quite a hassle during pregnancy. With many ways to bring it under control, you might want to know that there is an herbal aspect to this which can be put to use to ease your condition. While herbals are not preferred by most due to the lack of knowledge about them, herbals can be one of the good factors with regard to health. Although a few who are hesitant to use the prescribed drugs or the over the counter drugs are all for herbal products. Few of the most common herbs are Echinacea, Cranberry, etc.

Now many threads and blogs online make you question the safety of herbals or to be more specific ‘Is Echinacea safe during pregnancy?’ Now the use of Echinacea during pregnancy is a debatable topic. Echinacea is known to reduce lengths of colds and curb its re occurrence. It is used to treat and prevent the upper respiratory tract infections.

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What is Echinacea?

Echinacea is a coneflower and is considered a traditional remedy for about 400 years. It is technically a herb and the many species of it is used medicines from the flowers, roots and stem. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics, echinacea held a prestigious medicinal status. The chemical components of echinacea have powerful immune stimulators and have high therapeutic value with goodness of vitamin C, flavonoids and inulin.

Echinacea is a category A medicine for pregnancy, that has no shown no fetal risks. This means, echinacea while pregnant is safe to be consumed. However, there has been no enough data that gives a chance to completely rule out the risk factors associated with it, during pregnancy. Yet others have rated it as a safe herb that can be taken during pregnancy.

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Echinacea tea During Pregnancy:

Here is a good way to include echinacea in your diet.

  • Simmer a glass of water on medium heat.
  • To that, add fresh echinacea. You can add dried form too.
  • Now, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture and add a spoon of honey.

Drink the tea hot, once every day.

Benefits of Echinacea During Pregnancy:

  1. Boosts immunity: It is known to provide an increased immunity against common cold. It is also known to reduce the duration of cold to a mere one and a half day, making your pregnancy less uncomfortable.
  2. Urinary tract infection: It is known to treat urinary tract infection. It is necessary to keep away infections during pregnancy.
  3. It is also used in the form of a tincture, with a mild dose of alcohol. This tiny amount of alcohol does no harm to the pregnant ladies.

Side Effects of Echinacea During Pregnancy:

While echinacea does offer some benefits, it also has other associated side effects. Take a look and watch out for these.

  1. Allergy: the most common side effect is the allergic reaction. In case your body develops sudden allergic reaction, stop the consumption immediately.
  2. If you have asthama, or allergic reaction to certain plants and flowers, you are at the risk of developing an allergy to echinacea as well.
  3. Autoimmune disorders: The other side effect that you may experience is the autoimmune disorders such as collagen, and multiple sclerosis.

Continuous use of the product, for more than 8 weeks is not recommended. It can lead to immune suppression and other such liver problems.

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Although you will be relieved to know that few of the prominent researches out of the very few known to be conducted show no signs of harm towards the baby or the mother during birth, there has been no profound research funded and performed in the field of herbals and that is what scares everyone away from herbal plants. The fact that we know not much about them worries people about the effects it can have, if any.

Now to dig deeper in to if/is Echinacea is safe during pregnancy, it would be helpful to know that the Toronto’s hospital for Sick Children and it’s team of researchers have concluded that use of Echinacea in pregnancy does not lead to any factors of increasing birth defects in babies.

This research involved close to 400 pregnant women of which 200 did not take Echinacea and 200 did either knowingly or unknowingly. On a comparison basis of both the groups, the number of live births, miscarriages, birth defects (major or minor defects), there seemed to be no statistical difference as such in terms of delivery.

While many doctors do recommend herbs to their patients, some refuse to put it out to them since they do not intend to put the mother though something they do not know of. Many still recommend their patients to wait it out and be though with it instead of opting for these alternative methods of dealing with cold.

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While they cannot actually state it out if herbs are good or bad, they have evidence of neither. However, they wish for the herbal commercial industries to invest and carry out a broad research and supply data so as give clarity to the people as well as to the doctors so that they know what they are dealing with.

To be one the safer side it is advisable to avoid herbs during the first trimester of the pregnancy. Although there is a list of herbs known to make your delivery a healthy one. One of the main herbs being Echinacea, drinking Echinacea tea while pregnant is quite a beverage. Although it is best used in the form of tinctures, tea is also a widely recommended way of consumption of it.