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Ginseng is a complete NO-NO for pregnant women, confirms a top dietician. Here’s why

Published on:16 October 2020, 11:33am IST
Ginseng is a great Ayurvedic herb, but not for those who are pregnant. Here’s why
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Ginseng has several side-effects for pregnant women. Image courtesy: Unsplash
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Haven’t we all seen how pregnant women are flooded with advice, especially when it comes to food? Well, some might not be true, but other things like avoiding food that generates heat in the body, is quite right. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why ginseng and pregnancy don’t go hand in hand. 

Although ginseng is a brilliant herb otherwise, when it comes to pregnant women it has some major side-effects.  

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According to Rizwana Sayed, dietitian at Apollo Clinic, Pune, ginseng is a type of herb mainly found in Asia and America. It is generally consumed for these following reasons: 

  • For lowering stress
  • Fighting fatigue
  • Boosting immunity
  • Improving mental concentration
  • Curing indigestion
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Promoting weight loss

But when it comes to pregnant women, Sayed has her reservations. She says, “Ginseng generates heat in the body which is neither good for the expecting mother, nor the fetus.”

But why are we blaming this otherwise good herb?

“Without a doubt, ginseng is otherwise a great herb. However, besides having such great health benefits, ginseng is generally not recommended during pregnancy at least in the first trimester,” she explains.

Sayed says, “Ginseng Rb 1 is an active chemical in ginseng, which is associated with development of defected embryos. It also has anticoagulant properties, which makes it potentially unsafe during childbirth.” 

ginseng benefits
If you are pregnant you should stay away from this little herb. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

She also mentions that women who consume ginseng knowingly or unknowingly have reported more headaches, diarrhea, vaginal bleeding, and hormonal imbalances. That’s why it is better for pregnant women to avoid this herb or consult a doctor before consuming it.

“Due to the overdose of ginseng, it has been seen that babies are born with shorter length and less muscle cells. More exposure to ginseng Rb 1 means more birth defects. Do you know there are a lot of herbal teas like kahwa that also have ginseng in it, which is also not safe for the expecting mothers? Although, there is no proven data but there are ongoing studies,” says Dr Gandhali Deorukkhar Pillai, gynecologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai. 

Also, read: Listen up, ladies! Steer clear of these 6 skincare ingredients during your pregnancy

And it also interferes with sleep patterns of pregnant women

Everyone knows that expecting mothers are advised to take proper rest for better development of the fetus. But ginseng won’t let that happen. 

“There are expecting mothers who have reported major mood swings and sleep disturbance, after consuming ginseng in any form. Due to this, they feel major fatigue all the time”, says Dr Pillai. 

Not just that, women have also reported lower blood sugar levels, due to which they feel dizzy and nauseous all the time. “Do you know this can also increase the risk of diabetes?” she warns.

Dr Pillai also mentions that some women experience a dry mouth. That’s because ginseng releases certain enzymes in your body that impact the functioning of the salivary glands. 

The bottom line is that ginseng isn’t a safe bet, especially when it comes to pregnancy. So, it’s better if you steer clear of this herb, if you are pregnant and breastfeeding. Better safe than sorry!

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.