fertility teas for pregnancy

Fertility Teas: Do They Work?

So, what’s the tea on fertility tea for women? Can womb detox teas help you get pregnant? Here is what the science says.

If you've been trying to conceive, chances are you've gotten targeted by ads trying to sell you fertility teas (sometimes called “fertiliteas” or “fertility detox teas”). Popular in wellness circles, these "womb teas" or "womb detox teas" feature herbal blends believed to boost fertility by promoting hormonal balance and reproductive health.

So, do these natural fertility remedies actually work? Can fertility teas help you get pregnant? And are there any side effects? 

These tea brands will do their best to convince you they work, with glowing customer reviews and links to a scientific article or two. But if we take a look at the clinical evidence, does this anecdotal evidence stack up? 

The truth is, most of these teas anchor their “fertility-boosting” claims in their antioxidant properties, since there is good research showing the importance of antioxidant intake when TTC. Of all the tea types, chasteberry (also known as Vitex agnus-castus) may have the most evidence supporting its claims to enhance fertility, but even this is extremely early and far from “proven” and clinicians don’t recommend it yet. But beyond that, the herbs found in fertility teas have extremely limited evidence that they can help you get pregnant. 

It’s also important to note that, contrary to common belief, just because they're “herbal” doesn't guarantee their safety. Some common fertility tea herbs can pose risks during pregnancy and may interact unfavorably with other medications or supplements. 

This might be a different take than you hear from these fertility tea companies, and that's because they make a lot of money promoting products that promise to get you pregnant. So, let's break down the unbiased fertility science behind fertility teas and how to weigh whether they’re worth it. 

So, What Are Fertility Teas?

Nutritionists with a keen focus on fertility, along with holistic practitioners and midwives, champion the use of herbal fertility teas as aids in enhancing the odds of conception.

These teas are believed to unlock fertility-boosting compounds when steeped in hot water, offering benefits ranging from heightened libido, potentially increasing chances of conception, to "toning" the uterus and "balancing" hormone levels. Furthermore, many of the ingredients in these teas are esteemed for their rich content of essential minerals and nutrients.

Teas, tonics, and herbal remedies have a long history of being used to support different ailments, including fertility challenges. From this long tradition, a few ingredients have risen to prominence in popular fertility teas:

  • Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

  • Black cohosh

  • Red raspberry leaf

  • Stinging nettle leaf

  • Green tea

  • Ashwagandha

  • Tribulus

  • Peppermint

  • Lady's mantle

What are the best teas for fertility?

Chasteberry (or Chaste Berry) Tea

Chasteberry (aka. Vitex Agnus-Castus) is a plant native to Asia and the Mediterranean region that has been used as a supplement in Eastern medicine to treat conditions like premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast pain, menstrual irregularities, and infertility. It’s one of the most popular ingredients in fertility teas.

One review of 33 studies on the evidence base for herbal medicine in PCOS found that Chasteberry may be helpful for fertility in people with irregular cycles. But the authors of the study caution the data isn't great to make any definitive conclusions: "the quantity of pre-clinical data was limited, and the quality of clinical evidence was variable." 

Note: Chasteberry may interact with some drugs and, therefore, is not safe for everyone. It should be avoided altogether while pregnant or nursing, and so during pre-pregnancy make sure you talk to your doctor before taking anything with this ingredient.

Green Tea

Because of its antioxidant properties, green tea is a common remedy for various health concerns, including infertility. 

A 2018 review exploring the therapeutic potential of green tea polyphenols for fertility highlights the potential of its antioxidants to mitigate DNA damage, enhance sperm count and motility, and bolster egg viability.

However, some of the reviewed studies have some serious limitations. Several lacked proper randomization or control groups, while significant variations in antioxidant treatments across studies hindered direct comparisons. Moreover, many studies were confined to animal subjects, meaning we don’t have evidence that green tea can support fertility in humans.

While we know antioxidants generally are great for fertility, teas probably don't have "enough" antioxidants to really make a huge difference.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Supporters of raspberry leaf tea for fertility claim it promotes pregnancy by thickening the lining of the uterus.

Despite these claims, there's little scientific evidence to back them up. In fact, the very few studies we do have conclude by recommending against consuming raspberry leaf tea before reaching week 32 of pregnancy. This could be because there's a concern that it might raise the risk of miscarriage. 

Ashwagandha Tea

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an ancient herb native to India, the Middle East, and North Africa. It has a medicinal history in Ayurveda that dates back centuries. Very early evidence suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may improve sperm count, motility, and morphology among individuals with idiopathic male infertility. However, there is insufficient research available to make any recommendations about female fertility.

Can Teas To Increase Fertility Be Dangerous?

While fertility teas are often marketed as natural remedies to support reproductive health and improve fertility, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects, especially if consumed in excess or by individuals with certain medical conditions. 

Here are some common side effects associated with fertility teas:

  • Digestive Issues: Some ingredients of these fertility teas may lead to bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or discomfort. 

  • Hormonal Imbalance: Certain herbs used in fertility teas, such as chasteberry (vitex), may affect hormone levels in the body. While chasteberry is often used to promote hormonal balance, excessive consumption may lead to hormonal imbalances, irregular menstrual cycles, or changes in libido.

  • Allergic Reactions: People with allergies to certain herbs or botanicals may experience allergic reactions after consuming fertility teas. These may manifest as itching, rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

  • Drug Interaction: They may interact with other medications and cause adverse effects. For example, chasteberry may interfere with drugs such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. This interaction could lead to unpredictable changes in hormone levels and affect the efficacy of these medications. 

    Other herbs found in fertility teas, like liquorice root or hibiscus, may have diuretic or blood pressure-lowering effects. Combined with high blood pressure medications, this could lead to hypotension or electrolyte imbalances.

    Cinnamon and fenugreek may negatively affect blood sugar levels. If you're taking medications to manage diabetes, adding these herbs to your regimen could potentially interfere with your medication's effectiveness or lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels.

So if you’re going to try these teas, treat them like supplements: make sure you talk to your doctor before starting anything new to make sure they aren’t going to interact with any medications you’re taking.

What about pricing? Beware of the "fertility tax"!

Saying these fertility teas are expensive is an understatement. They are outrageously overcharged compared to regular tea. Just look at these numbers: fertility tea brands charge $20-40 on the lower end and $60-80 on the higher end. 

Meanwhile, you could stroll down the local supermarket's aisle and pick up a box of regular tea — such as chasteberry, green, or red raspberry leaf, for a fraction of the cost— usually around $6 to $10. 

Similar to when something is labeled as "for weddings" or "for pregnancy" when something is marketed as "for fertility," brands can charge a premium. And they do! 

The pricing of these teas is enough to make you reconsider whether fertility teas are worth it or if you'd rather save your hard-earned cash for something more budget-friendly and scientifically proven. 

The Bottom Line on Fertility Teas

Although fertility-boosting teas may seem like a quick-fertility-fix, it's crucial to approach them cautiously. If you incorporate them into your routine, consider them a supportive treatment rather than a standalone solution. 

Most importantly, remember to keep your healthcare provider in the loop. By discussing your use of fertility teas with your doctor, you can ensure that they're aware of any potential interactions with your medications.

There is a lot of misinformation and viral fertility trends out there — from fertility teas and taking Mucinex to get pregnant to “hormone balancing” supplements and tinctures with minimal evidence.

You deserve answers that cut through the BS. At Doveras, we're committed to providing evidence-based guidance and support on your fertility journey. Our personalized, easy-to-follow programs include the findings from over 100,000 studies in your hands so you don't fall prey to pricey "hacks" that are not proven. Put an end to the try-and-error approaches and focus on what actually works.

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