Are Bitters Safe for Pregnant Women?


Wild Angelica, a bitter root used in Bitters


I just got the new Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care… it’s great like everything else. I am just looking for clarification about a topic in Chapter 1…

In one paragraph the use of Swedish Bitters is encouraged. Great! But in the same paragraph it says to avoid Angelica which is an ingredient in Swedish Bitters.

I’m confused. One part of me wants the Swedish Bitters because I think it’s helping, but the other part of me doesn’t want to accidentally abort any babies!

Thank you in advance for the help! This is one thing I feel I need to be sure about.

–A Facebook Fan of Weston A. Price Foundation

A: from Author, Sally Fallon Morell

It has just been pointed out to us that Swedish Bitters contain Angelica and Gentian, both of which are contraindicated for pregnant women.  So please don’t take Swedish Bitters while pregnant.  We will make a change to the book in the next printing. However, Swedish Bitters is a fine product to take while not pregnant to enhance digestion, particularly digestion of fats and oils. Pregnant women with digestion problems might want to employ fermented foods, such as kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, beet kvass, any ferment will help.  Even vinegar in water.

By the way, the book has sold beyond our wildest expectations.  We are almost out of our initial printing of 20,000 books. We are scrambling to reprint, but there will be a few weeks when it will be “Out of Stock,” at least from online booksellers like Amazon. If your readers need to obtain a book during this time, they should try a traditional bookstore, or order from NewTrends Publishing,  We still have considerable stock at NewTrends.  The new print run will be available in early April.


Sally Fallon Morell, Author

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care

Note  from Kimberly Hartke:

Readers, I consulted and asked a Bitters company Urban Moonshine, “are bitters safe for pregnant women?” Their chief herbalist, Guido Mase had this to say about the reasons why pregnant women should avoid these bitter herbs.

“Both gentian (Gentiana lutea) root and angelica (A. archangelica) root are generally avoided during pregnancy. Both have a traditional history as emmenagogues, meaning they were used to stimulate and increase menstrual flow. Gentian is strongly bitter, containing chemicals such as secoiridoids that have been linked to miscarriage in animal models; angelical contains psoralens and strong essential oils that can stimulate uterine contractions in animal models. While the evidence is limited and there are no case reports of any issue in humans, it generally is of enough concern that herbalists recommend steering clear of these herbs during pregnancy.”

The marketing director of Urban Moonshine referred me a new book by Guido Mase. Guido is also the Co-Director for the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. for more information about Bitters and Health see the section starting on page 132 of this online preview of the book: Wild Medicine Solution.

Kimberly Hartke is a featured blogger with Village Green Network.


  1. So pregnant women should probably go with the ox bile? Is there any other supplement to aid in the digestion of fats and oils?

  2. Gaia herb’s Sweetish Bitters do not contain these two herbs.

  3. hello there. kindly help, I desperately need Swedish bitters and I don’t know where to get it. I am currently in martorrel, Spain. anyone with info on where I can get it within my range should kindly do me an email on thank you

  4. adenike ayodeji says:

    I was shocked to hear dt swidish bitters is not good for pregnant women.But there was a time I worked wt a phamatical shop in which our pharmacist do recommend this drug to preg women.After leaving tthere I met a friend who was 10mths pregnant,And I recommend this same swidish bitters for her and when she delivered d baby the baby died.pls does that means the swidish made him to die cos I read it on the paper dt is good for 9mths old pregnancy,two weeks b4 delivery. pls reply cos I am very confused.thks


  1. […] recommends bitters, but Sally recently issued a statement in which she changed her position. Please read this for more […]

Speak Your Mind