wonder what’s in that wonder tea

I stand by my Moxie Rx recipe from my last post. It is delicious, and I truly believe it helped me fight (and win) against my latest cold threat. If you missed it, check out my last post. For real. Read it!

Just today, 3 different patients, not reading my blog or knowing about this wonder tea, asked about the safety of using one, or a combination of many, of the ingredients in the tea. That’s not surprising – honey, lemon, and ginger have long been used as cold remedies.
I am not pregnant, so I drink this mixture without a second thought. You may be pregnant though, thinking about everything you put in your body.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Honey is considered a demulcent – a product that coats mucous membranes with a film to relieve mouth and throat irritation. Make sure your honey is pasteurized (if you’re buying honey at a farmer’s market, ask the seller). Like I’ve said before, unpasteurized anything (milk, cheese, honey) should be avoided during pregnancy to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Lemon in moderation is good in pregnancy. Vitamin C can increase the absorbency of iron supplements, which most women take during pregnancy to avoid / correct anemia. Lemon scent can also help decrease nausea. Citrus may exacerbate heart burn though, so avoid if you have severe gastric reflux.
  • Ginger is often used in the first trimester to decrease nausea and vomiting (ginger lollipops, anyone?).  No adverse outcomes have been reported.
  • Cayenne pepper:  In the small amount used for the drink, it is likely safe. Spicy foods, similar to citrus, can exacerbate heart burn. Women have long believed in the aid of super spicy foods to provoke labor. Although it hasn’t been proven to work, it is an interesting topic, and we can discuss this more later.
  • Echinacea is the wild card here. It is an herbal medication obtained from the roots, stems, and leaves of the plant Echinacea purpurea. It is used in attempts to stimulate the immune system, to prevent colds and respiratory infections, although studies have never shown great effect. One published study has looked at its safety in pregnancy, and no adverse effects were seen.  Like most herbal medications, it is not FDA regulated, so no safety or preparation standards are verified prior to distribution. This means: although echinacea is likely safe to use during pregnancy, because the product’s quality cannot be assured, and the potential benefits are limited, it isn’t recommended as first line cold remedy in pregnancy.

Now you don’t have to wonder any more!

And to end: a beautiful Margaret Bedell painting, with ginger and all!

Screen shot 2013-01-17 at 7.26.43 PM

Sources: MayoClinic, OTISpregnancy.org

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