Herbal Health for Pregnancy & Motherhood
by Kyla Sheffield
At any stage of early motherhood, from pre-conception to post-partum, natural herbal medicines can be of great help in looking after yourself and your new arrival.
The journey of parenting is long and the world of herbs is vast, these recommendations are just a glimpse of what herbs can provide for you and your new family. We at the Happy Herb Company hope this article may shed some light and serve as a source of inspiration for holistic family health!
There's a lot of information out there about which herbs to avoid – please consult a healthcare professional if in doubt about any herbal remedy. However there ARE herbs that are perfectly safe to help your body along the way:
Nourishing - Nettle, Red Clover, and Alfalfa are great for their nutrient content throughout pregnancy when you need all the vitamins and minerals you can get!
Toning – Most health professionals recommend Raspberry Leaf tea in pregnancy after 32 weeks to help prepare the uterus for labour.
Anti-Nausea - Ginger, peppermint and chamomile are generally considered safe to use for morning sickness. Black horehound is also recommended by herbalists.
Labour - Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, Motherwort and Raspberry Leaf are some of the herbs most commonly used during labour - however, only use these remedies under the guidance of a trained herbalist, naturopath or midwife.
Post partum - Motherwort and Raspberry leaf tea are used after labour to help expel the placenta and help the uterus regain its tone. Calendula as a tea or diluted tincture can be used in a sitz bath or wash to help heal any perineal tears.
Increasing milk supply – Many herbs have ancient reputations for assisting new mothers increase their milk flow including Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, Aniseed, Fennel seed, Goat’s Rue and Chasteberry.
Colic – The breastfeeding mother can drink Fennel or Aniseed tea to help settle the baby’s digestion and help relieve gas.
Engorged breasts – A classic remedy is to place green cabbage leaves around the breasts. Sage tea can help reduce milk supply (usually only used in cases of over-supply or when weaning).
Sore nipples – Calendula or Chamomile cream can help heal the nipple area, apply after feeding.
Nappy rash – Chickweed, Comfrey & Calendula creams are great natural remedies for nappy rash and cradle cap.
Colic, Fevers & Sleep Problems – Catnip, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Fennel and Spearmint are safe to give young children as dilute herbal teas. Try 1 tsp for children under 1 year, and up to 2 Tbsp for children 1 - 3 years.
Bumps, Scrapes and Burns – Great remedies to always have on hand in your herbal medicine kit include Calendula and Arnica cream, Aloe Vera gel, Tea tree oil and Dragon's Blood as an antiseptic liquid bandage.
NOTE: This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please consult a healthcare professional if in doubt about which natural medicines are right for you.
- David Hoffmann (2003), Medical Herbalism;
- Isabel Shipard (2007), How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life.