From juniper berries to herbal teas or even juniper oil, you may wonder if you can eat or drink juniper during your pregnancy.
Overall, juniper is not safe to consume during pregnancy in any form.
This recommendation is because it can stimulate the uterus and potentially have abortifacient effects that lead to a miscarriage. Instead, it is recommended to stick with other berries and teas that have been deemed safe for pregnancy.
You may have more specific questions about the different forms of juniper consumed and whether those are safer to eat during pregnancy. So let’s dive into more details about the various forms of juniper.
Are Juniper Berries Safe When Pregnant?
Unfortunately, juniper in any form, including dried or fresh juniper berries, is not safe to consume during pregnancy. This is because the juniper plant can stimulate the uterus, causing an increased risk for miscarriage (source: American Family Physician).
While this is unlikely when consumed in small amounts, there is no recognized safe upper limit due to the lack of research in this area. In addition, research on pregnant women is limited, likely due to the ethical implications of experimenting with pregnant participants.
Juniper berries are often found dried to be used in casseroles, stews, and more. Sometimes juniper berries are also consumed fresh, whole, or crushed. They are often used as a spice or flavoring due to their distinct tart taste. They are often used in alcohol-free gin or cocktail beverages as well.
What if I’ve Accidentally eaten Juniper?
When juniper berries are used for culinary purposes, typically only a few berries are needed to reap the intense flavor. Therefore, if you were to accidentally eat a couple of juniper berries in a cooked dish, do not worry because there is a very low risk of harmful effects.
However, since little is known about a safe upper limit of juniper, it is best to avoid juniper berries entirely while you are pregnant.
Can Juniper Cause Miscarriage?
Unfortunately, consuming juniper during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage if it is consumed in high doses (Source: American Family Physician). This effect occurs because juniper is a uterine stimulant and can have abortifacient results.
Juniper consumption becomes especially concerning when supplemental or medicinal amounts are used.
These juniper supplements are often taken for their antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory properties, and nutrient-rich profiles (source: International Scholarly Research Notices).
Instead of consuming juniper berries during your pregnancy, other types of berries and fruits can also give you similar health benefits, without the risk. However, it is essential to remember to thoroughly wash your produce under clean running water to reduce the risk of foodborne illness (source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).
Additionally, very little research exists about taking or using juniper oil by mouth during pregnancy. However, since the juniper plant has uterine stimulation effects, it is likely that the juniper berry oil does as well, and therefore, it should be avoided entirely while you are pregnant.
Can I Drink Juniper Tea When Pregnant?
As mentioned above, juniper itself is not safe to consume during pregnancy. Therefore tea made with juniper should be avoided as well. This recommendation includes store-bought herbal teas such as Tazo Juniper Mint Honey or Buddha Teas Juniper tea.
More research is needed on juniper tea and pregnancy to determine safety, so it is best to avoid it while you are pregnant.
If you are looking for an antioxidant-rich and tasty tea to drink instead of Juniper tea, you can safely try ginger tea or mint tea! Herbal teas are preferable because they are typically much lower in caffeine than black tea or coffee.
However, if you are consuming store-bought tea blends from the grocery store, make sure you check the other ingredients the tea blend contains to ensure it is safe during pregnancy.
I hope you found this article helpful in examining the safety of juniper berries, teas, and oils during pregnancy.