Echinacea is a herbal tonic which comes in a liquid and pill form. It is traditionally used to ward off colds ad flu and upper respiratory tract infection. There is not a great deal of knowledge about the interractions of herbal supplements and tonics and pregnancy; there have been limited scientific studies completed to date.
Can I Take Echinacea While Pregnant? Insufficient Scientific Evidence to Advise
In November 2000. Toronto’s Hospital For Sick Children undertook a study of the effects of echinacea during pregnancy. According to the researchers, using the herb echinacea during pregnancy did not increase the risk of birth defects in babies. The details of the study can be found here
What is Echinacea?
One of the most popular herbal supplements on the market, echinacea stimulates the immune system and is used primarily to treat and prevent upper respiratory tract infections, colds and flu.
What was the study done on pregnant women?
This study was completed in 2000 with a very small section of the population. Approximately 200 women had telephoned the Motherisk Program which provides information on the potential risks of drugs and disease to expectant mothers to inquire about echinacea. The women were monitored throughout their pregnancies and compared to another group of women who had not taken echinacea.
Researchers compared live birth rates, miscarriages and both minor and major birth defects between the two groups and found no statistical differences.
What Evidence Is There?
There is very little evidence on herbal supplements and their potential to cause harm. Many people believe that herbs are natural and therefore harmless, however it is very important to consult with your herbalist, doctor or pharmacist to be sure that your herbs are safe for your pregnancy. Based on how echinacea has been used in the past and the results which have been returned from the research, echinacea appears to have no impact on fetal development or harm expectant moms. It is up to women to decide whether they want to take echinacea.
Did you take echinacea or herbal supplements when pregnant?