Lemongrass in Pregnancy - Is It Safe?

HotTea Mama Morning Rescue with lemongrass and ginger to help morning sickness

The short answer is - yes, lemongrass is safe to drink or eat in pregnancy.  Just be sure to moderate how much you have.

Unfortunately, a lot of online sites reference old research where citral extract from lemongrass was given to rats and caused issues with pregnancies.  However, more recent research done with pregnant women in Brazil (the first research done with actual women) showed that drinking lemongrass tea had no adverse affects on pregnancy.

This blog goes into detail into the research showing its safety, and also some advice on how else you can support your body if you're suffering with morning sickness.  It's a miserable part of pregnancy and can last long past the first trimester, so you shouldn't restrict yourself unnecessarily with anything that might help.

 

LEMONGRASS TO EASE MORNING SICKNESS

So why would you want to drink lemongrass?  Essentially - it's been shown to really help ease nausea.  Extremely useful if you're in your 1st trimester and suffering from morning sickness.

Studies have shown that an essential oil found in lemongrass, citral, can help to ease nausea, after it is inhaled regularly for 2-4 days.  

 

MOST MODERN RESEARCH ON LEMONGRASS AND PREGNANCY

 

The only recent medical research to look at lemongrass, alongside many other herbs, and their safety in pregnancy, was done in Brazil in 2016.  The paper is called - 'Use of Medicinal Plants with Teratogenic and Abortive Effects by Pregnant Women in a City in Northeastern Brazil.Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet. 2016 Mar;38(3):127-31. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1580714. Epub 2016 Mar 29.'

It shows that lemongrass was the only herb in the study that had no toxic impacts on pregnancy in the women who drank it regularly through pregnancy - they did limit themselves to 3 cups a day.

However, there are many websites that were written before this research was completed, and these warn lemongrass is dangerous based on a 2006 animal study.

Given the importance of having a safe pregnancy, even though the more recent research proves lemongrass is safe for women, we should still look carefully at this older research.


This study gave mice 60 mg/kg body weight of citral essential oil.  This dose is highly concentrated compared to the amount you consume when drinking an infusion from a tea, or using lemongrass to cook a Thai dish.  When you drink tea, you will get a maximum 40% of total compounds pulled from the leaf. 


To put this into context, in each bag of our Morning Rescue tea, there is less than 1g of lemongrass. Of this, citrals will make up 0.7g at the very most, and you will be able to extract a maximum 0.28g of this into your tea.

If you weigh 60kg (c. 9 stone), you'd need to consume 3.3g of citral per day to be similar to the mice in this research. This means drinking 12 cups of our tea a day.  If you weigh more than 9 stone, you'd need to drink even more, but 12 cups is a good guideline.

At this point, you may be putting yourself at risk, but at a more reasonable level - the more recent research, following actual women through their pregnancy, show that you should have no issue.

 

3 CUPS A DAY

The NHS advises that when pregnant or breastfeeding, you should drink more than 4 cups of any herbal tea a day. At this level, you will not be at any risk from drinking lemongrass in your tea, and it can actually help ease nausea.

So do this, and both the NHS and the most up to date research confirm that lemongrass has no toxic impact on pregnancy.

 

Hopefully this puts your mind at ease, and if you are suffering from morning sickness, you can consider drinking our Morning Rescue Tea with confidence.  It's an award winning blend of anti-inflammatory herbs to help ease morning sickness.

 

Morning Rescue Tea for morning sickness pack shot with Dear Bump 2020 Awards gold logo

OTHER THINGS THAT MIGHT HELP...

If you're suffering with morning sickness, you can also try some of these changes to support your body.

 

- Eat little and often: plain foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat are often easiest to digest.  It may be why you crave white carbs in the first trimester.

- Sleep: tiredness can make nausea worse, so prioritise getting yourself rest and zzz

- Eat cold food and drink cold drinks: cold things don't trigger nausea as much as hot.  So it's well worth avoiding anything piping hot.  Luckily our Morning Rescue tea is delicious cold - you can even make a jug of iced tea to enjoy when you need.

- Stay away from trigger foods: whether it's fish, or meat, follow your bodies instincts and stay away from anything with triggers your sickness.  Your partner should cook for at least your first trimester (or until your baby is 18!)

And if you are having severe symptoms, do contact your midwife or doctor.  Severe morning sickness is known as hyperemesis gravidarum and needs to be treated.  No dietary changes will help with this unfortunately, and you shouldn't try to cope alone.

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Katie Angotti has written about starting weaning with your baby for us, she's a registered nutritionist specialising in maternal and infant health.

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Comments

Florence Kissiwaa July 15 2022

I often drink lemongrass tea in the morning but not knowing I was one month pregnant.I stoped when I realize I was pregnant. then this vomiting and heartburn started.

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