There are plenty of time honored and tasty herbs that are beneficial and safe for use in pregnancy and nursing, and have been used for hundreds of years if not longer by mothers the world over. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but the most traditionally and generally consumed herbal teas safe for use by almost anyone, along with their most basic properties. For more detailed and technical information on the specific actions and indications of each of these herbs, of which there is much to learn, I highly recommend researching each herb independently and educating yourself on the specifics of each of these herbs. This is a very simple and basic guide for the average person as well as information and tea blends I may give my expectant clients or any professional midwives that may need tea blends from me for their clients.
The first trimester is when we are most concerned over any herb/food/beverage/vitamin effects, as it’s the most formative time period for your babe and your body is still establishing being pregnant. Herbs used in pregnancy, such as those on this list are considered to be very gentle, highly nutritive, calming to the digestive system and nerves and are used best as delicious and nutritious teas.
While taking a prenatal multivitamin is important, eating a diet that is healthy and full of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals is the absolute very best you can do for yourself and baby. Our bodies understand and assimilate foods, herbal teas and spices in their natural form better and easier than any other method. Herb teas high in vitamins and minerals are an excellent way to boost a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals needed to support the extra demands our bodies require during pregnancy, birth and lactation. Use these individually or as a blend of whichever herbs you like. If you make your own tea, use equal parts of each, and ¼ part of those marked as to be used moderately, or less depending on taste with mint.
Herbal allies that are safely used in pregnancy:
Alfalfa, Medicago sativa- Very high in vitamins and minerals
Nettle, Urtica dioica- Very high in vitamins and minerals, also great for allergies
Red Raspberry leaf, Rubus idaeus- Very high in vitamins and mineral- particularly high in iron, great in combo with nettle for anemia, is an excellent uterine tonic.
Rose hips, Rosa canina- High in vitamin C and tasty.
Oat tops/straw, Avena sativa- High in minerals, great for the nervous system.
Ginger, Zingiber officinale- Calming to the digestive system, relieves nausea and gas- is also very effective in the treatment and prevention of colds and flus.
Peppermint Mentha piperita,/ Spearmint, Mentha spicata- Relieves nausea/gas. Moderation.
Chamomile, Matricaria recutita- Calming, helps nausea and digestion. Moderation in pregnancy
Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis- Calming to the nerves and digestive system, relieves gas, antiviral.
Dandelion leaf, Taraxacum officinale- High in vitamins and minerals, helps digestive system. Helpful in conditions such as pre-eclampsia or edema.
One of my and my clients favorite formulas:
Healthy Mama Happy Baby Tea
1 part Nettle
1 part Oatstraw
1 part Alfalfa
1 part Red Raspberry leaf
1 part Rosehips
¼ part mint if desired
To make a quart of a tea blend use 2 Tblsp/per quart of nearly boiling water and let steep 5-10 minutes, serve hot or cold and drink as you like throughout your day up to the entire quart. This blend is great for anyone at anytime looking for an extra vitamin and mineral boost. Side benefit, these herbs are are fantastic for our skin!
Helpful herbal allies for nursing mothers:
* Note that it’s helpful to avoid excessively spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol or foods that cause gas while breastfeeding, as well as common food allergens such as peanuts, etc..
Alfalfa, Medicago sativa-Nutritive, very high in vitamins and minerals
Nettle, Urtica dioica- Nutritive, very high in vitamins and minerals
Anise, Pimpinella anisum- Increases quality and quantity of milk production, calms and supports digestive system/relieves gas
Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare- Increases quality and amount of milk production, also calming and supportive of the digestive system/relieves gas.
Chamomile, Matricaria recutita- Calming for the nerves and helps support digestion/relieves gas.
Dandelion leaf, Taraxacum officinale-Nutritive, high in vitamins and minerals.
Oat tops/straw, Avena sativa-Nutritive, calming.
Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum- Increases quality and quantity of milk production, calming and supportive to digestive system/ relieves gas.
Dill, Anethum graveolens- Calming and supportive of the digestive system/relieves gas
Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis- Calming to the nerves and supports digestive system/relieves gas, antiviral
Catnip, Nepeta cataria- Calming to the nerves and supports digestive system/relieves gas
As you can see, most herbal formulas used during lactation are chosen for their highly nutritive and milk increasing properties (termed galactagogues), as well as being calming to the nerves and digestive system. Herbs are such an amazing resource in that they can simultaneously address several issues at once, perfectly. In this case they're quite tasty as well.
Additionally, remember that the food and drinks you consume will ultimately be passed on through the your breast milk in varying quantities to your baby. Often newborns and young babies have digestive issues such as colic/gas/tummy aches in general while they get used to using their own bodies for food assimilation in the outside world. Sometimes this can be mild or very severe, so keep these herbs in mind, as they are incredibly effective and time honored ways of helping our children and ourselves stay healthy and happy.
This information is for educational purposes only, and is not meant to be taken as medical advice, or to treat, cure or diagnose any disease or condition.
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