25 January 2012

Rooibos (ROY-boss) Tea

I've been enjoying tea for a while, but lately I've taken a much bigger interest in learning about specific herbs and what they do for the body. Between our commissary and the Food Lion, we have a good selection of tea here. I saw Rooibos tea and grabbed it on impulse. I'm so glad I did! It is caffeine free, has been found to contain more antioxidants than green tea, has low tannins and from what I've read it is safe during pregnancy. In the articles I've read, it sounds like it contains iron, or at least because it doesn't have a high amount of tannins, it doesn't reduce the body's ability to absorb iron. I found an article related to the benefits during pregnancy and others for all of the other health benefits, here and here as well.

I've been trying to research safe teas during pregnancy (not pregnant... not trying to hide anything here... I'd just like to gain knowledge for future reference), but all of the sites I've found are so contradicting. I enjoy chamomile tea at night to calm my stomach down before bed. One site says it's safe, the other says it's not. I drink red raspberry leaf tea for uterine health. One site says it is great during pregnancy, to promote blood flow to the uterus, a different article will say DON'T DRINK IT! because it will cause miscarriage. It is all very confusing. The theory I've developed so far is the following: if you're not drinking more than a cup or two a day of that particular tea, the effects can't be THAT strong. Of course, when pregnancy comes again, I would stay away from any herbal teas that are no-no's on every website you find, but I don't even drink any of those now. Does that theory make sense?

Here are the teas I drink on a daily basis (not necessarily every single one every day, but a combination of them up to 5 cups a day, not repeating one type more than 2 cups) and what I've learned so far:

  • Rooibos 
    • South African women swear by it during pregnancy, but some sites have said to possibly avoid it during pregnancy because of lack of American research, however South Africans give it to their infants, so I can't imagine it could be harmful, right?
  • Chai 
    • safe for pregnancy, but avoid high amounts regulate caffeine intake, and apparently check to see if anise is present because you should avoid that?
  • Black 
    • safe for pregnancy, but avoid high amounts to regulate caffeine intake
  • Green 
    • safe for pregnancy, but avoid high amounts to regulate caffeine intake and so it doesn't interfere with iron consumption
  • Chamomile 
    • arguments both ways
  • Red Raspberry Leaf 
    • arguments both ways
  • Lemon and Ginger 
    • safe for pregnancy and AMAZING for settling an upset tummy!
  • Sleepytime Tea and Sleepytime Extra
    • arguments both ways, Sleepytime Extra contains valerian which I read is not considered safe
What do you know about herbal teas and their safety during pregnancy? Do you have any solid resources?

Next question:

I am taking New Chapter Organics Perfect Prenatal Vitamin. Go to the website and read the nutritional facts. Let me know what you think. I would have to believe it is safe for pregnancy (because that is what it is made for!), but some of the liver stimulating herbs it contains are said to be "unsafe" during pregnancy. Should I be concerned? Right now, I'm not. My gut is telling me that what I am consuming is safe.

I'm asking for ANY advice from friends and family because when the time comes for me to visit a doctor again, I'm worried they're going to give the standard, "Well, best to stay away from all herbal teas and vitamins with herbs because so little is known, blah, blah, blah." I don't take any herbs in a supplement form (aside from the small amounts in my prenatal) and I don't intend on doing so. From what I've read, those are the real kicker that can cause problems.

Thanks for the help!


Anonymous said...

I would use caution because most herbals aren't tested or reviewed for safety. Look at the http://www.usp.org/USPVerified/dietarySupplements/ website. They review some of the herbals and it is what I use when asked questions about herbals and regulatory issues. Please just use caution and if you have any questions please ask.
Nicole D

Anna said...

The majority of herbs uses as teas have unknown effects on pregnant women and their babies, that's why they say it is best to be avoided. My personal opinion is that most are okay in moderation (I would have one cup here and there of something calming such as ginger, mint, and chamomile). If you are concerned, hot water brewed with fresh ginger and lemon is really good and soothing, especially with a little honey.