What you eat during your pregnancy can have a direct impact on your body and the child growing in you. This is why pregnancy and nutrition go hand in hand.
This also means you need to be a little picky about the herbs and supplements that you take while expecting. One of the supplements and herbs that are off limits during your pregnancy is lemongrass which is also called fever grass.
While it comes with many health benefits, it may pose a problem when you’re expecting. This is especially true in terms of the type and the amount of lemongrass being consumed.
Facts of Lemongrass and Pregnancy
Lemongrass supplements or tea should be avoided during pregnancy, according to Drugs.com.
Although human studies have yet to be conducted, those conducted on animals showed that 500 mg per kg or very high doses of mycrene increases the risk of pregnancy loss and fetal skeletal abnormalities. Mycrene is one of the two active compounds found in lemongrass.
Even at doses of 60mg/kg, an increased rate of fetal growth retardation and skeletal malformations in Wistar rats were also discovered.
Lemongrass in food
A small amount of lemongrass in food such as those found in Thai recipes is safe. According to Dr. Joel Evans and Robin Aronson, authors of “The Whole Pregnancy Handbook,” potential dangers come from medicinal doses and not from small amounts.
As a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and founder and director of the Center for Women’s Health, Dr. Evans knows what he’s talking about.
Both also suggest consulting with your doctor “before introducing any foods into your pregnancy diet.
Herbal and oil form
What makes either form of lemongrass dangerous during pregnancy is the citral and myrcene compounds found in the perennial plant. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the two compounds have been shown to cause birth defects.
As previously mentioned, the studies were only done on rats but there is compelling evidence that shows herbs should be off limits to pregnant women.
Extracts, on the other hand, have apoptotic and anti-mitotic actions that destroy cells. Considering the rapid cell growth that unborn babies undergo, the use of lemongrass has the potential to disrupt and interfere with this process.
How much is too little or too much
To be 100% safe, avoid the use of lemongrass oils, herbal remedies, and supplements when pregnant.
Some resources may suggest that lemongrass tea offers certain benefits. But the fact that it is not regulated by the U.S. food and drug administration, makes them potentially harmful.
How can you be certain how much lemongrass is used in producing supplements, oils, or herbal remedies?
If you check out lemongrass tea recipes online, the suggested amount of lemongrass is mostly vague, such as clumps of lemongrass. Rather than put yourself and your pregnancy at risk, avoid the use of lemongrass, even in small amounts.
Lack of extensive study
Some may use the lack of study of the effects of lemongrass in pregnant populations to discount suggestions to avoid the use of the plant in any form. But this should be the same reason to believe such suggestions.
Since studies have only been conducted on animals, there is no conclusive evidence that points whether or not lemongrass oil, herbs, and supplements are good or bad for expectant mothers.
In this case, it is best to err on the side of caution. Don’t risk it just to prove a point.
Since there is no scientific proof based on pregnant populations, skip lemongrass during your pregnancy.
One Good Reason
Still thinking about using lemongrass while pregnant?
Here’s something to think about – lemongrass tea has been used to initiate menstrual flow in women with irregular or painful menstrual cycles.
Think long and hard and you will see the risks you are taking with yourself and your baby should you choose to drink lemongrass tea.
There is a high risk of miscarriage. This is especially true with the lemongrass tea’s active compounds that can cause sudden ruptures to the fetal membrane.
Side Effects of Lemongrass
Apart from the problems listed above, lemongrass can also cause:
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite that can lead to weight gain
- Allergic reactions, with symptoms like breathing difficulties, chest pain, skin rashes, and throat swelling
- Sharp drop in blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Lemongrass comes with many benefits, no doubt about it.
But when you are pregnant, the benefits could turn into problems. The very fact that studies about the plant’s effects and side effects have yet to be conducted in pregnant populations makes it unsafe for expectant mothers.
So err on the side of caution and skip lemongrass altogether during your pregnancy.