Supplementation of Plants with Immunomodulatory Properties during Pregnancy and Lactation-Maternal and Offspring Health Effects

Nutrients. 2019 Aug 20;11(8):1958. doi: 10.3390/nu11081958.


A pregnant woman's diet consists of many products, such as fruits, vegetables, cocoa, tea, chocolate, coffee, herbal and fruit teas, and various commercially available dietary supplements, which contain a high number of biological active plant-derived compounds. Generally, these compounds play beneficial roles in women's health and the development of fetus health. There are, however, some authors who report that consuming excessive amounts of plants that contain high concentrations of polyphenols may negatively affect the development of the fetus and the offspring's health. Important and problematic issues during pregnancy and lactation are bacterial infections treatment. In the treatment are proposals to use plant immunomodulators, which are generally considered safe for women and their offspring. Additional consumption of biologically active compounds from plants, however, may increase the risk of occurrences to irreversible changes in the offspring's health. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out safety tests for immunomodulators before introducing them into a maternal diet. Here, we present data from animal experiments for the four most-studied plants immunomodulators genus: Rhodiola, Echinacea, Panax, and Camellia, which were used in maternal nutrition.

Keywords: Camellia; Echinacea; Panax; Rhodiola; immunomodulators; maternal nutrition; pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camellia / chemistry
  • Diet*
  • Echinacea / chemistry
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Lactation*
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Panax / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / administration & dosage*
  • Phytochemicals / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal / adverse effects
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Pregnancy
  • Rhodiola / chemistry


  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts