Is Parsley a Safe Herb During Pregnancy? Tea, Dried, and More

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Parsley is a star ingredient in many recipes. Some people also drink parsley tea because it has been associated with several health benefits. But is parsley a safe herb during pregnancy?

Parsley is safe to consume during pregnancy, but only in small amounts typically used for cooking. Parsley contains two active compounds called myristicin and apiole, which can lead to uterine contractions and miscarriage if consumed in large or medicinal quantities.

Read on as we continue to discuss the safety of consuming parsley during pregnancy. We’ll also give you tips on how to enjoy this flavorful herb while you’re expecting.

Is Parsley a Safe Herb to Eat When Pregnant?

Parsley is an aromatic herb commonly used in cooking. It can be dried, ground into a powder, and used as a spice or to make tea. It can also be used fresh to add flavor in recipes or garnish a dish.

Parsley is safe to use for culinary purposes during pregnancy. This means that you can eat foods that contain parsley without any worry. However, consuming large quantities of parsley can be dangerous, since it contains an active compound called myristicin (source: NTP Technical Report on the Toxicity Studies). Myristicin can act as a weak uterine stimulant and has been linked to abortions and miscarriages (source: Healthline).

Another compound in parsley, apiole, can also lead to uterine contractions. These contractions can be strong enough to cause a miscarriage (source: Comprehensive Natural products Journal).

Therefore, it’s essential to limit your intake of parsley if you’re pregnant. This is especially important if you’re drinking parsley tea or taking parsley supplements.

The two most popular types of parsley are flat-leaf or curly-leaf. These two types differ in both flavor and appearance. Flat-leaf parsley has a more intense flavor and is commonly used for cooking. Curly-leaf parsley has a more subtle flavor and is often used as a garnish.

You can treat them both the same, for the purposes of pregnancy safety.

bunch of fresh green parsley

Parsley is a good source of several nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains folic acid, iron, and calcium (USDA). Because of its nutrient content, parsley is sometimes referred to as a “superfood.”

Parsley has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for a variety of purposes. It is thought to have diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties (source: Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine). Parsley is also used as a natural remedy for bad breath (source: Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences).

Does Parsley Have any Side Effects in Pregnancy?

Parsley is generally considered safe to consume during pregnancy. However, you should be aware of a few potential side effects.

One of the most common adverse effects of parsley consumption is indigestion, which is characterized by symptoms like heartburn, gas, and bloating. These symptoms are caused by the volatile oils present in parsley, which can act as a natural laxative (source: Elsevier Journal). If you experience indigestion after eating parsley, it’s best to avoid eating it in large quantities.

Additionally, according to a study, parsley may decrease milk supply (source: BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies Journal). It is important to note that this study was conducted on rats, not humans. It’s still unclear whether or not the same effects occur in humans.

The potential for heavy metal toxicity from parsley is another area of worry. Parsley absorbs heavy metals from the soil during irrigation (Source: Journal of Environmental and Public Health). Metal toxicity can lead to serious health problems like organ damage, anemia, and central nervous system problems (source: Interdisciplinary Toxicity Journal). So when buying raw parsley, choose organic whenever possible or purchase from a trusted source.

As with all other fresh herbs, give your parsley a good wash before eating it.

cup of parsley tea on a cutting board

Can I Drink Parsley Tea When Pregnant?

Parsley tea is a popular herbal tea made by steeping parsley leaves in hot water. It is thought to have several health benefits. It is a diuretic, and may also relieve indigestion and cramps.

Despite these potential benefits, you should avoid parsley tea if you are pregnant. This is because parsley tea may contain a larger medicinal amount of parsley, and can therefore act as a uterine stimulant. Consuming large amounts of parsley has been linked to abortions and miscarriages (source: Healthline). Therefore, it’s best to avoid parsley tea during pregnancy.

Excessive parsley consumption during breastfeeding should also be avoided because it may reduce milk production (source: BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies Journal).

Parsley is safe to consume during pregnancy, but only in culinary amounts. Large quantities of parsley can be dangerous. Don’t worry about eating dishes that contain parsley. As long as it doesn’t exceed culinary amounts, it’s safe to enjoy!