We’ve heard that herbal teas have multiple benefits. Green tea, black tea, hibiscus tea, some herbal teas and even non herbal teas have been used by our ancestors for many centuries. They have healing properties; some even have medicinal properties.
Most pregnant women wonder about the health benefits of what they ingest but they are also concerned about the possible risks. Drinking hibiscus tea might be something you’ve enjoyed for a long time. If you’re pregnant you might be wondering whether it’s safe to drink hibiscus tea.
Let’s find out about hibiscus tea for pregnancy and labor, including its health benefits and the risks, if any.
What is hibiscus tea?
Hibiscus tea is made from the hibiscus plant. The hibiscus plant is well known for its flowers. Because of the beauty of hibiscus flowers, people have developed many varieties of hibiscus plants. Not all hibiscus plants, however, are medicinally effective. If you consume hibiscus tea, it should be from one of the edible varieties of hibiscus plants.
Some examples of these plants are Hibiscus sabdariffa L, which is native to Africa and also called Rosella, and Hibiscus rosa sinensis, native to Asia and also called Chinese or Hawaiian hibiscus.
In Central and South America, hibiscus juice is used to make cold drinks called Jamaica or Jamaican juice.
Hibiscus tea is made from flower buds, when they’re sprouting. When you can see the flower and it comes out if you gently pull on it, that’s the part that’s ripe and used to prepare hibiscus tea.
Is hibiscus tea safe during pregnancy?
Research into the use of hibiscus products during pregnancy is quite inconclusive. Research on the effects certain herbal remedies have on the pregnant mother and her baby is also very scarce. For many decades research on pregnant women has been avoided. More recently, different research methods have been developed, but science hasn’t yet caught up with pregnant women’s needs. Until this happens, you should exercise caution when consuming herbal teas.
In one of the most recent animal studies on the safety of consuming hibiscus tea during pregnancy, the findings on pregnant rats highlights that the seeds of Hibiscus sabdariffa L have a lactogenic effect, which means it induces breast milk production. It also induced delayed puberty in young albino mice who consumed hibiscus extracts.
Hibiscus extracts also are known to have several health benefits. Until more conclusive research is done on herbal teas, however, it’s up to the pregnant woman to decide whether or not to take hibiscus or any other herbal tea during pregnancy.
Benefits and side effects of hibiscus tea
Hibiscus herbal tea treatment has been used for many centuries to promote health due to its varied healing properties.
Some of its benefits are:
#1. Contains antioxidants
Hibiscus tea is full of antioxidants that help fight the free radicals that cause cell damage. Hibiscus also helps fight inflammation which plays an important role in the development of many diseases. Consuming hibiscus can also boost your immune system and fight bacteria.
#2. Aids weight loss
Hibiscus products promote weight loss, which can prevent obesity. Studies have shown that hibiscus extract helps with body weight loss, because hibiscus extract is much more concentrated than a cup of hibiscus tea.
#3. Lowers blood pressure
Research shows that the hibiscus plant lowers blood pressure. This is very good news as blood pressure medication has many unwanted side effects.
#4. Regulates hormones
Hibiscus helps regulate hormone levels. A plant that regulates hormones helps your menstrual cycle. The hibiscus flowering plant can stimulate menstruation and help with irregular periods.
#5. Has cleansing properties
Adding up all these health benefits means hibiscus helps promote liver health, as it cleanses the whole body. Because the liver is the filter for all toxicities, it’s very important to pay attention to it and drinking hibiscus tea has deep cleansing benefits.
Drinking hibiscus tea while pregnant
Drinking hibiscus tea has many health benefits. During pregnancy there might be certain ailments that can be relieved by drinking hibiscus tea.
Let’s look at the more specific benefits of drinking hibiscus tea at each stage of pregnancy.
Hibiscus and pregnancy: first trimester
Early pregnancy is the time when we tend to have more aversions. As well as morning sickness and feeling extremely sleepy, there might be other gastrointestinal discomforts that can be relieved by drinking tea.
Hibiscus tea with ginger root works wonders to alleviate morning sickness and bloating. If hot drinks are not for you because of the aversions you have in pregnancy, you might have it as a cold tea.
In the first trimester, your body is very sensitive to the things that might harm you (alcohol, coffee, etc…) so if you welcome a herbal tea and you feel it helps with your pregnancy symptoms, your body could be guiding you towards what’s best for you.
Read more in Pregnancy Symptoms Week by Week | 3 Trimesters Explained.
Hibiscus and pregnancy: second trimester
It’s believed that pregnant women are happiest during the second trimester of pregnancy, because the symptoms of the first trimester are usually a thing of the past and the body is still quite manageable and petite in size.
The second trimester is joyful and, we hope, ailment free. Be wise and sensible. If you’re struggling with your blood pressure or weight gain, you might want to include hibiscus as a hot or cold tea during pregnancy. Not all herbal teas will have the same effect on you and if you follow your intuition, as we advised for the first trimester, and if it sits well with your body, it’s unlikely to harm you. During pregnancy, each pregnant woman is much more aware of what she should consume and she shouldn’t.
Hibiscus and pregnancy: third trimester
Some women consume hibiscus tea during the third trimester to prepare the body for labor.
You might have heard about red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy. This herbal tea is a uterine tonic, which means it prepares the womb for its greatest moment.
Most herbal tea blends intended for the last trimester of pregnancy contain hibiscus as one of their main ingredients.
You can read more in BellyBelly’s article Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – Benefits For Pregnancy And Labor.
Can hibiscus cause miscarriage?
It’s quite unlikely that hibiscus tea will cause miscarriage.
When research is found to be scarce, it means more research on the subject is necessary. In all retrospective studies (those looking back to data previously collected for other studies), however, no link has been found between women who drank hibiscus tea during pregnancy and higher chances of miscarriage.
Can you drink hibiscus while trying to conceive?
It’s safe to drink hibiscus tea before you get pregnant. It’s much simpler than we sometimes make it. Live your life, be conscious and try to enjoy as much as possible. Live grounded, in the present moment and, when you find out you’re pregnant, have trust that you’re definitely the best person for this role: mothering a little baby.
If you’ve been enjoying hibiscus and other folk medicines this shouldn’t even be part of the discussion.
When you find out you’re pregnant, have no doubt you’ll know what to do. A healthy pregnancy is mainly a time full of love. That mainly means a stress-free time.
The love hormone, oxytocin is antagonistic to fear hormones. During pregnancy your oxytocin should flow at its highest. If the love hormone is present in your blood flow frequently, that’s the thriving environment in which your baby will grow.
The fact that you’re reading about whether you can drink tea during pregnancy is possibly because of intergenerational fear. Each one of us carries the weight of our ancestors’ fears on our shoulders until someone breaks the chain of fear, acknowledges the situation and starts to heal.
Instead of just enjoying and using your self-knowledge to guide us through a pregnancy full of love, we’ve been taught to base our pregnancy on fear, which is actually the worst thing we can do for the environment in which our babies grow.
This might be news to you but the truth is that obstetrics has never looked at this ‘love-fear’ and ‘oxytocin-adrenaline’ effects on our bodies during pregnancy, labor and in general.
Many human beings, especially in the ‘over-developed’ world, live life in fear.
If you want to know more about how to turn away from living a life of fear to one of love, read BellyBelly’s article [new article about oxytocin].
Who should not drink hibiscus tea?
Hibiscus tea might have some mild negative effects on those who are sensitive to it or other herbal teas from the Malvaceae plant family.
If you experience any reaction from drinking hibiscus tea or any other tea, or from taking hibiscus supplements, stop taking them and see how you react. If you are concerned, always contact your healthcare provider.