i'd encourage the mother to drink nettle, red clover and fresh ginger tea... nourishing for her and baby, and would probably help with baby's cold.
surely a few cups of licorice tea wouldn't harm her or babe in this case, but if there's still concern.. regular use of chamomile regulates the bowels, as well as eating apples. exercise also indispensable.
caution with herbs, and all medicine is needed... but it seems that western medical overreacts about the use of herbs quite often. [sigh]
Thanks, folks, for kicking this around. Thanks, Ashley, she has used flax seed. She would boil it, drink the tea, then eat the seeds. She stopped doing that because, she said that although it helped with the bowel movements it caused her to lose weight. This alarmed her. I told her that maybe the weight was just all that poop she had stored up!
The other struggle with my young friend is that she is generally trustful of little pills she gets from the doctor and super cautious about herbal medicines. And she's a bit anxious and depressed, too, so she's not doing so well with taking care of herself as well as needed.
I am still interested in hearing from anyone who can dumbfound me with the tale of an actual case of licorice poisoning.
I am so thankful for this information....
I was able to reach her and told her about the warnings and she was so so so thankful.
I love discussion boards...
I would if she has any history of miscarriage. Or at least warn that it can be an issue for some women and not to overuse it.
Whew, I was seriously worried since I have a friend who has really ba diarrhea and stomach issues and she has been making tea with catnip and anise to stop the uncomfortablness....
also I ran across this...
that puts both catnip and anise in the article as allies for pregnancy.
Should I call her and tell her to knock off the catnip?
According to Brinker, catnip can be an emmenagogue and abortifacient. But what quantity it would take for this I don't know, certainly depends on the person. Has anyone here ever had emmenagogue effects from catnip?
With the anise I think it would be okay. All over the internet it is said to be contraindicated but after looking more closely I can't find a suitable explanation. My guess would be because of its high essential oil content and hormonal effects? But in normal or small quantities this probably wouldn't be an issue. Plus, if Aviva says its okay then I trust that. =)
In general I think not very much is actually known about the safety of most herbs during pregnancy. That is why all the sources say different things. It's mostly just speculation.
I've looked in so many books and haven't seen one disclaimer for anise during pregnancy. Even Prescriptions for natural healing says its okay...along with Aviva Romm's book, Naturally Healthy Babies and KIds. I have never read anything saying catnip cannot be used during pregnancy. I used it thru my whole pregnancy, as well as anise, for my upset stomach. So I'm pretty confused.
Anise appears to be okay in normal (non excessive) quantities during breastfeeding but should be avoided during pregnancy. Same goes for Catnip. A catnip & anise tea when drank by the mom may help ease colic in the baby. That is what I could find in the more cautious books but unfortunately the book I prefer to use (Essential Guide to Herbal Safety) doesn't list either herb. Generally I reference both Brinker and the Mills and Bone books and then take the middle road between the two. The Brinker tends to be very cautious and the Mills and Bone tends to be more trusting.
The Mills and Bone book, by the way, says Licorice is okay during pregnancy and lactation for short periods of time and adhering to the same safety warnings as for all others (ie avoid in those with cardiac, renal, or hepatic disease including high bp). But all the other books strongly discourage its use during pregnancy and to only use with caution during breastfeeding.
Is anise the same? Can you drink that with catnip during pregnancy?
Personally I would say no to licorice during pregnancy but probably okay in small occasional amounts while breastfeeding but not for an extended basis ie not daily even if just a couple cups. And obviously not for use with anyone with or prone to hypertension, hypokalemia, edema, liver disorders, diabetes and cardiac conditions. I'll check some books I have at home though and get back to you.
Has she tried flax seed?
I'm learning, that licorice is very widely used and has been for ages and ages, so I'm not inclined to advise against anyone using it moderately. Further, the sources which claim that licorice isn't safe tend to refer to "large amounts". I don't know what constitutes a "large amount", but from my experience with this kind of science, a "large amount" is probably absurdly large and therefore irrelevant because people are highly unlikely to consume so much!
The Way of Herbs says licorice "can be given to children and persons who are debilitated" and cautions against its use in "people who tend to retain water in their bodily tissues." Can anyone offer more about how much licorice can be used regularly without risking ill effects? I would like to know if others with more expertise have reason to caution pregnant or breastfeeding women, or if this scare is unwarranted.
The following is from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
* In large amounts, licorice containing glycyrrhizin can cause high blood pressure, salt and water retention, and low potassium levels, which could lead to heart problems. DGL products are thought to cause fewer side effects.
* The safety of using licorice as a supplement for more than 4 to 6 weeks has not been thoroughly studied.
* Taking licorice together with diuretics (water pills) or other medicines that reduce the body's potassium levels could cause dangerously low potassium levels.
* People with heart disease or high blood pressure should be cautious about using licorice.
* When taken in large amounts, licorice can affect the body's levels of a hormone called cortisol and related steroid drugs, such as prednisone.
* Pregnant women should avoid using licorice as a supplement or consuming large amounts of licorice as food, as some research suggests it could increase the risk of preterm labor.
I use licorice root to prevent constipation for the few days before bleeding, so I gave some to my friend to try. She's four months post-partum and breastfeeding. And I just did a search online which gives some pretty alarming cautions about use of licorice while breastfeeding, i.e.:
"the components of licorice root possess mineralocorticoid properties leading to unwanted and sometimes fatal side effects, including sodium and water retention, hypokalemia, and hypertension, which can lead to heart failure or even cardiac arrest."
Wow! Did I really mess up, or is it safe for a breastfeeding woman to drink a few cups of licorice tea made by boiling a tablespoon of licorice root? I'm guessing that habitual use of large amounts is what might cause a problem. Should I tell her not to use it even occasionally? If so, can anyone suggest something safe to give a gentle nudge to the colon?
Also, she and the baby have had congestion, "a cold" for a few weeks now. I'd like to give her some trikatu mixed with yerba santa, which is my latest favorite for mucus, but anise is also advised against in a few sources. Any advice for a decongestant for her? And is there something that's safe enough to give a four month old for congestion?
Has anyone ever used enough licorice to cause cardiac arrest?!!