Sunday, November 7, 2010

Herbs for the Mama to Be

Since I am pregnant (though, not for much longer, I am due in 12 days!) I wanted to touch on herbs during pregnancy. The following is a list of herbs I have found personally useful during pregnancy. I really don't use tons of herbs while pregnant unless I really need them but I have used my fair share over the course of my 3 pregnancies, so I thought I'd share my experiences here.

Every woman's pregnancy is unique to them so you will have to use your own intuition and judgment when using herbs while you are pregnant. Be sure to always look up any herbs you are using or plan to use if you are not sure it is safe. When in doubt don't use it or ask your midwife or local herbalist their opinion. This is really important, especially during the first trimester.

Red Raspberry Leaf~ A good tonic herb. This is the best herb for pregnancy. If I had to choose just one herb it would be red raspberry leaf!! It will help keep you nourished and it tones the uterus and helps soften the cervix. It is also iron rich which will give you a boost and protect you from becoming anemic..

Oatstraw/Milky oats~ A gentle nervine this is a good herb to take daily. It is also extremely nourishing and it helps stabilize moody emotions and depression. Of course it is very nourishing to the blood and body as well as the mind.

Skullcap~ I use skullcap for headaches but I have been reading that it is useful in toning the uterus in the 3rd trimester to promote a better birth and reduce labor pain. It is also high in calcium.

Cranberry~ Not an herb but I thought I'd include it anyway. I have found cranberry tablets useful for UTI's if you are prone to them. Be sure to cut out all artificial sugar as well.

Catnip~ A gentle analgesic. This is a good one for easing headaches and body aches. I like it infused with lemon balm and red raspberry leaf!

Lemon Balm~ A nervine. Good for extreme tension. I have used it for cramps during the latter part of pregnancy. The kind that don't let you get sleep. It helps soothe them really well!

Peppermint~ I love peppermint. I use it for everything from morning sickness and to help soothe myself during allergy attacks. I find it relaxing and it helps My kids love it too iced or hot which is a bonus! Try some peppermint tea pops (frozen) during labor too for a boost! yum,yum!

Ginger~ Good for nausea for some! Though it doesn't work for morning sickness for me and I don't use it until my 3rd trimester generally. I like it for quelling an upset stomach later in pregnancy. I also like it for colds/sinus upsets.

Lavender~ Probably my most used herb. I use the essential oil almost daily! I find it extremely calming and relaxing. I use it in an aromatherapy burner and endless baths during pregnancy. It is also useful for many other things like the yeast rash I got under my breast a month ago or so.

Rose~ (rosa gallica and rugosa) Rose is really calming like lavender but in a more sensual way. I love it in an elixir or infusion for calming myself down. It's great for anxiety and calming a worried heart. I have some delicious rose chai that is such a treat to drink! It helps stimulate a poor appetite and is also useful for colds. I also like the oil in the bath and an aromatherapy burner. It helps for anxiety, moodyness, sadness and more!

Comfrey- Comfrey infused oil is useful for the skin. Stretch marks and the stretching during labor and beyond. It can be made into an infusion and applied topically post birth too promote healing.

Arnica- Useful in an infused oil or made into a sale for topical pain relief. I like it for sore muscles and things like relieving round ligament pain.

Chamomile- Useful as a mild sedative. I use it as an infusion when I can't sleep. It helps. I also use the essential oil alot as I find it soothing.

Slippery Elm~ Useful for heartburn if it works for you. I had tried it with some success but I generally get heartburn no herbs have been able to touch! ackk!

Hawthorn-I used hawthorn tincture for about 2 months to help keep my blood pressure somewhat stabilized during a bout of high blood pressure during my first pregnancy. Turns out it was white coat induced but I do believe it did help some. You can also make hawthorn jelly (Use the recipe in the rose hip jelly in the post below)

Nettles~ An overall nourishing herb, nettles can help you have a better birth. It can make labor less painful by providing extra calcium. It is chock full of vitamins and is useful for building vitamin K in the blood.

Peach leaves~ These can be used as an elixir or infusion for mild morning sickness. It helps settle your stomach and is very soothing.

Rose Hips~Useful in tea for a vitamin C boost. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron better and can help you recover from being sick faster. Ohh, and I almost forgot, I just found some rosehips in my yard and plan to make an infused oil with them for my tired postpartum skin. I have heard rose hip infused oil is divine. I may make a body butter of some sort. Of course I will post about my results later! : )

Elderberry~ One of the most delicious preventative medicines out there! I love elderberry syrup for helping boost your immunity. You could also make elderberry jelly. (use the rose hip video below just use dried elderberries!)

Cayenne~ I know this is going to sound crazy but I feel like cayenne helps me during horrible bouts of morning sickness. I love to add it to my food and feel like it stimulates my appetite. It's also good for clearing out sinus stuff.

I hope you find this info. helpful. I am not writing this as medical advice just as my own experience! I know there are probably plenty of herbs I am leaving out but these are the most used herbs I have used.

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