Today, I had a Starbucks passion fruit herbal iced tea. It reminded me of a pregnancy story….
When I was newly pregnant, like a month or so, I discovered Starbucks passion herbal iced tea; no caffeine and very refreshing. I got it with no sweetener added. I’d been off caffeine for about 9 months and still missed coffee dearly, so finding a good beverage in the fragrant coffee house was important. I was writing with a writing partner so I was at Starbucks a lot for meetings. I drank this tea a lot and I even bought some to make at home.
One day, before I had told anyone I was pregs, my friend CE who was also pregnant (and out about it) ordered a regular tea when we were out for lunch. She was monitoring her caffeine intake carefully but I was curious why she didn’t just order an herbal tea. So, without being too obvious, I said, “They have herbal teas here too.”
“Oh, you aren’t supposed to drink herbal tea when you are pregnant,” she said, totally unaware that I was actually pregnant too and I’d been drinking herbal tea for the entire, short time I’d been pregnant.
I didn’t ask why, I just went into a spin; how could she think that herbal tea was bad for pregnancy? That was crazy? She’s wrong!
I was upset and obsessed. Had I hurt my baby? Put it in jeopardy?
“Why would she say that you are supposed to drink herbal tea?” I asked Dan, in a panic. “I mean she’s really really smart and I don’t think she’s ever wrong, so is she right?”
Dan didn’t know.
How could herbal tea be bad for pregnancy? Some nice peach or raspberry leaf tea?
I Googled it, of course and after lots of searching, I found it. I found the info… some herbs and herbal teas are not recommended during pregnancy and can cause MISCARRIAGE! I don’t know the quantities that need to be consumed before it becomes harmful, but still…
The culprits were: anise, ginger, lime blossom, rose hip, catnip, chamomile, comfrey, ephedra (called ma huang in traditional Chinese medicine and banned in the U.S. since 2004), European mistletoe, hibiscus, horehound, Labrador, lemongrass, licorice root, mugwort, pennyroyal, raspberry leaf, rosemary, sage, sassafras, stinging nettle leaf, vetiver, and yarrow.
Hibiscus is one of the main ingredients in my passion fruit tea!!
I was really surprised. I knew so many things to avoid – unpasteurized cheese, deli meats, sushi, under cooked meat, alcohol and under cooked eggs (runny yolks) – but chamomile tea?? rose hips??
My OB confirmed it. She’s usually the type to say, “Oh, it’s fine,” so when she says, “Yes. Avoid herbal tea,” I listen.