Hibiscus - is it safe in pregnancy?

Pregnant lady wearing pink floral dress, holding a cup of get up and glow fruit tea

The short answer, is that in moderation, hibiscus is safe in pregnancy. 

Whilst a google search may fill you with fear that you should not drink any hibiscus during pregnancy, this isn't backed up by enough evidence.

 

Why does google say hibiscus is not safe?

There are no large scale, double blind studies into any herbal teas and health (of any sort), so the advice online is based on animal studies.  And these studies are using highly concentrated doses of herbs, which are almost impossible to recreate by drinking tea.

The information on hibiscus is based on 1 study that gave mice high extracts of hibiscus which lead to loss of pregnancy.  This sounds scary, but bear in mind - the mice are given 1g of hibisus per kg weight.  This is the equivalent of a woman weighing 60kg eating 60g of hibiscus a day. 

One of our Get Up & Glow tea bags weighs 2.5g and has 10% hibiscus in (0.25g).  You will only get around 60% of the polyphenols in the tea bag in an infusion, so per bag, 0.15g max is extracted.  You'd therefore need to drink 400 cups a day to have the same dose and risk similar effect (even if our bodies are different).

The study summary is here: https://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/0010-7824(86)90061-2/fulltext.


What does the NHS say about hibiscus?

 


The NHS do not list hibiscus as a herbal tea to be concerned about.  The official advice is to avoid any herb or tea in medicinal quantities, and to ensure you don't have ginseng or echinacea, and also teas with liquorice root - full dietary advice is in this great piece from the NHS in Scotland: https://www.nhsinform.scot/ready-steady-baby/pregnancy/looking-after-yourself-and-your-baby/eating-well-in-pregnancy.

The key advice is to limit your intake to 4 cups a day.  We would recommend 3 cups a day to be totally safe.

 

So hopefully this can make you feel more confident to enjoy a little bit of hibiscus, as you desire, during your pregnancy.  Variety is the spice of life, especially on a restricted diet, so do check our our range of pregnancy teas and enjoy up to 3 cups a day.

 

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