Hibiscus Tea Pregnancy Concerns: Is It Safe?

It is extremely important to maintain good health and lifestyle during pregnancy as it is the process of getting a new life into the world.

A pregnant woman needs to have a balanced and nutritious diet that contains fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains.

This not only helps the offspring to develop in the womb in a healthy way but also reduces chances of nausea, morning sickness, constipation and other pregnancy symptoms for the mother. 

A nutritious diet helps to prevent any birth defects and promotes good foetal brain development and also weight during birth.

Naturopathy plays an important role in healthy pregnancy.

A pregnant woman should try and consume everything that is natural and not processed.

This includes different types of herbal beverages as many of them are packed with nutrients and also trigger oxytocin that helps during labour.

 

 

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1. Tea and Pregnancy 

Women all over the world have been enjoying different types of teas, whether pregnant or not.

Some do believe that tea, be it of any type, does help during pregnancy and prefer consuming it in the last few weeks before they give birth.

Most women believe it's completely fine to consume tea throughout pregnancy because firstly, it's natural and secondly, to fulfil their cravings of something sweet and aromatic. 

But what most people do not know is that tea contains caffeine which is quite harmful for the developing foetus. 

Caffeine easily passes through the placenta.

Placenta is a medium through which food passes from the mother to the foetus.

The foetus’ liver is underdeveloped and in no state of taking the strong effect of caffeine.

Hence, it is advised that pregnant women limit their consumption of tea to 300mg per day. (2

Decaffeinated tea is also one of popular options. 

 

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3. Hibiscus Tea and Pregnancy 

We all know about herbal teas and their innumerable health benefits. One such herbal tea is Hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus tea is one of the lesser known herbal teas that is packed with health benefits and many types of nutrients.

This tea is popularly grown in some parts of North Africa and South-East Asia.

It is made from the part that protects the hibiscus flowers. This part is known as calyx.

The hibiscus flower itself is known for curing a number of diseases such as Alopecia, Anaemia and curing swellings.

This flower belongs to the Malvaceae family of flowering plant. (1)

Most of us have tried a variety of herbal teas for different health requirements. But most of the people are unaware about hibiscus tea and its properties.

Although this tea has a number of health benefits, it is generally advised to not consume it during pregnancy.

Let us first discuss its benefits: 

  • This beverage is consumed either hot or cold after brewing the dried leaves of the hibiscus flowers. It is full of antioxidants and has compounds that help in cancer prevention.  
  • It helps in reducing blood pressure, weight loss and fights different sorts of bacteria.  
  • Hibiscus tea helps in setting hormones right. So if you have problems related to delayed or irregular menstruation, go ahead and benefit yourself from the effects of this herbal tea.   

The drawbacks of this beverage are:

  • It stimulates blood flow towards the uterus. This phenomenon is known as the emmenagogue effect.
  •  It helps during menstruation but might create complications during pregnancy as it induces cramping and bleeding which can lead to early labour and sometimes even miscarriage. (3

 

 

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4. Why to avoid hibiscus tea during pregnancy

This delicious herbal tea has been used for generations in traditional medicines. People also enjoy drinking this ruby-red tea just for its taste.

But most researchers suggest expecting and lactating mothers to not consume this tea as it has the tendency to interfere with the working of hormones of the mother and potentially of the foetus.

It is not fully proven yet but some experiments on pregnant animals have proven to have some side effects.

So just to be on the safer side, pregnant women are advised to not consume this tea.

 

Let us have a look at the drawbacks of this tea in detail:

Stops implantation of embryo:

As a result of some experiments conducted on animals, especially rats, it was observed that hibiscus prevented the plantation of the embryo on the wall of the uterus.

Due to this scientists have strongly advised to not consume this drink during the early stages of pregnancy at least. 

 

Alters patterns of menstruation and ovulation:

An experiment was conducted on two women suffering from irregular periods.

One of them was given unrefined papaya tea and the other one was given hibiscus tea to consume for a period of two months. 

After two months the woman consuming hibiscus tea showed improving symptoms and regular periods.

This proves that hibiscus tea increases and regulates blood flow towards the uterus and pelvic area.

But this change can be a problem during pregnancy, increasing chances of miscarriage. 

 

Oestrogenic nature:

Oestrogen is a very important element in the body that plays a very crucial role during pregnancy through all the trimesters.

Hibiscus is oestrogenic in nature which means it changes and alters the oestrogen levels in the body if consumed.

Oestrogen also helps in nurturing the foetus in the womb.

Hence it is unwise to consume anything that messes with the oestrogen levels in the body. (4

 

 

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    5. Hibiscus tea consumption in first trimester

    It is not recommended for pregnant women to consume hibiscus tea in the first trimester, especially because the foetus is extremely immature at this stage and cannot handle any kind of change in the environment.

    Hibiscus tea is known to cause symptoms such as painful urination, cramps, ringing of ears, morning sickness, constipation, gas, shaking and nausea.

    Consumption of this tea should be strictly avoided in thefirst trimester and one should consult the doctor about dosage of the same after that. 

    Bottom line?

    It is not really a good idea to resort to this herbal tea in search of nutrients. (5)

     

     

    Image credits: Arab News

     

    6. Hibiscus Tea and Miscarriage  

    Although this tea has innumerable benefits, it is not too beneficial during pregnancy.

    One always takes care of what is consumed during this period and herbal beverages might just seem to be the right choice.

    But this is not the case with hibiscus tea, during pregnancy in particular. 

    Hibiscus tea is one of the herbal beverages that can be both toxic as well as beneficial.

    Hibiscus tea is known to reduce blood pressure and regulate blood flow in the entire body.

    If a woman consumes this drink when she is ovulating, it increases the flow of blood and directs the flow to the uterus. This promotes regular periods. 

    Hibiscus has an emmenagogue effect which can be quite harmful during pregnancy and fatal during the first trimester.

    This effect can lead the mother of the baby in the womb to have contractions which will then lead to profuse bleeding and then miscarriage.

    This is how hibiscus tea causes miscarriage. (6)

     

     

    Image credits: The Quint 


    7. Other Herbal Teas recommended during pregnancy 

    Caffeine consumption is an issue during pregnancy.

    For this reason, the best beverage to consume to satisfy tea cravings are herbal teas as they do not contain any caffeine. 

    • Red Raspberry Tea- This is one of the best herbal teas for pregnancies. It acts like a tonic that strengthens the uterus and prepares it for giving birth and also regulates hormones.

      This is done with the help of a compound called fragarine that is present in the tea. 
    • Dandelion root tea- Packed with vitamin A, calcium and iron and also helps in relieving mild edema and nourishes the liver.
    • Chamomile tea- Rich in calcium and magnesium, helps with sleeplessness, calms the nerves and reduces any type of inflammation. 
    • Rose hip tea- Excellent source of vitamin C, helps to boost the immune system during pregnancy. Aids in maintaining overall health during gestation.
    • Roselle tea- It is one of the species of hibiscus.

      It helps in controlling blood pressure during pregnancy and also helps in combating minor diseases like cold and cough. (
      7)      

     

     

    Image credits: Become Healthy or Extinct!

     

    8. Precautions and Side effects      

    Hibiscus contains a number of vitamins in high quantities. These include vitamin A,D,B1,B2, minerals, calcium, potassium and iron.

    It also has huge amounts of vitamin C.

    The content of vitamin C in hibiscus tea is 20 times more than that in citrus fruits like oranges, tomatoes or chillies.

    Due to this, the tea sort of has an unfavourable effect on the functioning of one's body.

     

    A few of theside effects of hibiscus tea are: 

     

    Increased risk of heart diseases

    As mentioned earlier, hibiscus tea regulates and increases blood flow in the body due to which blood vessels expand in size.

    As a result there are high chances of heart diseases. 

     

    Influencing oestrogen

    Hibiscus tea levels down the content of oestrogen in our body in an unhealthy way.

    Therefore people with low oestrogen levels and on birth control pills are strongly advised to not consume this tea. 

     

    Interferes with fertility of women

    Hibiscus tea contains a compound called polycrylic hydrocarbons which is associated with cancer birth defects.

    Hibiscus tea reduces the level of oestrogen which directly affects a woman’s ability of child-bearing.

     

    Leads to allergies

    It can cause allergies to many people. The symptoms include itchy and red eyes, sinus and hay fever.

      It is important to know the dosage and rules of consumption of the tea and its precautions.

      The dosages are as follows:

      • For general well being- A cup of hibiscus tea per day is enough to keep the immunity and general upkeep of the system high. 
      • For flu- 3 cups of hibiscus tea each day is suggested when someone is suffering from severe flu.
      • Digestive problems- People suffering from digestion problems are advised to consume this tea after each meal.
      • Blood pressure problems- It is not advised to drink this tea everyday.

        The ratio of consumption should be 2:1, i.e one should consume it for two days and not consume it the third day otherwise it will lead to an unhealthy condition of blood pressure. (
        8)

       

       

      Image credits: University of Mississippi


      9. Conclusion 

      So here are some facts about hibiscus tea and its properties that everyone who consumes it or wants to consume it, should know.

      It protects the body against cardiovascular diseases and obesity in physical terms and depressive episodes and mood swings in terms of mental health.

      It is safe to consume on long term basis on dosage that is prescribed by professionals. 

      However, consuming this tea before or during the third trimester of pregnancy is widely discouraged by doctors as it leads to preterm labour.

      Visiting a herbalist can help one understand the properties even better and they can help with dosages depending on the health requirements of the person in question.

      By obeying the consumption rules and dosages, we can make the most out of this beneficial herbal drink. (9)  

       

      Image credits: Sunset

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