Herbal Recipes for the Childbearing Year

These herbal recipes for the childbearing year are widely recommended by midwives. The herbs are safe for pregnant and lactating women and are nutritive and healing in their properties. For more information on safe use of herbs in pregnancy, see:

herbal recipes childbearing yearPregnancy Tea

Drinking two or three cups per day of the following herbal mixture can add substantially to the mother’s health throughout pregnancy  and lessen pain and bleeding during birth. These herbs are primarily nutritive in nature, providing much-needed vitamins and minerals in a form that the body can easily assimilate (unlike most vitamin pills). Think “dark leafy greens.” The tea can be taken postpartum as well, to help tone the uterus and build a healthy milk supply.

Red Raspberry Leaves
Contain vitamins A, B, and E, as well as calcium, phosphorous, iron, and an acid neutralizer. Helps tone the uterus and relieves muscle cramping (calf muscles) and constipation. Take regularly as a preventative.

Nettles
Nettle is a blood-cleansing and blood-building herb with a high iron content. It is nourishing to the kidneys and liver, and will help to relieve (or prevent altogether) vascular problems common during pregnancy. Relieves and prevents constipation. Helps build a good milk supply.

The following herbs may be added to the above mixture for variety:

Alfalfa
High in Vitamin K. Contains vitamins A, B12, D, and E, as well as calcium and phosphorous. Recommended to help build the milk supply and to prevent excessive bleeding; add at 36 weeks.

Red Clover
This blood-purifying herb can be added from time to time.

Rose Hips
Contains the entire vitamin C complex and is rich in bioflavinoids. Good for hemorrhoids and varicose veins and to boost the immune system.

Spearmint
Soothing to the stomach, aids in digestion, and lends a pleasant taste to the mixture. Use a relatively small amount of this herb as a little goes a long way.

Directions

Combine one part red raspberry leaves to one part nettles. Add some or all of the optional herbs if desired. Measure approximately two small handfuls of herbs to two quarts of water. Use a glass or other non-metal (aluminum is the worst) container with a lid. A half-gallon mason jar is perfect. Cover the herbs with almost-boiling water and cap tightly. Steep this mixture from four to eight hours. Pour the mixture through a strainer and discard the herbs. The tea will stay fresh for up to four days if kept in the refrigerator. A small amount of fruit juice (try grape, apple, raspberry) can be added as a sweetener, if you like. There is no right or wrong way to make the tea. Play with it a bit, till you find a blend that suits you.

Postpartum Herbal Healing Bath

The postpartum herbal bath is wonderfully healing for both mom and baby. The recommended herbs have a long history in the herbal Materia Medica of healing traumatized skin tissue and are especially well known for soothing and healing sore bottoms, helping to dry up the baby’s cord stump, and preventing infection. Will also help soothe and heal after circumcision as well. You and your baby can take a minimum of one bath per day for the first five days postpartum (Note: If you had a cesarean, wait for your doctor’s okay before bathing). If you have stitches or any lacerations, you may want to take two baths per day for two to three weeks, or until healing is complete. Hydrotherapy on its own is widely recommended for PAIN RELIEF and to promote healing. Add the herbs and you speed the healing process! Plus it smells good.

Bath Ingredients

  • Calendula flowers
  • Comfrey leaves
  • Lavender flowers

Directions

postpartum herbal healing bathBoil a gallon of water or just use a large stock pot (it is not necessary to measure the water). Once the water boils, turn off the heat and add the contents of one pre-mixed bath to the pot. Cover and let steep for at least one hour (longer is better). When ready, pour the herb water through a strainer directly into the bath water. Discard the herbs. The mixture can sit at room temperature for up to 24 hours. If not used within 24 hours, strain out the herbs and refrigerate the fluid. It will keep for 2–3 days in the fridge. You can brew up the next batch just after the current bath is finished and just let it sit out. Then, whenever you’re ready for your next bath, it’s ready for you.

As you are running the bath, keep the bathroom door closed so as to keep the room warm for the baby. Try gathering a few candles for subdued lighting which encourages the baby to open his/her eyes and overall makes for a lovely experience.

It’s a good idea to have a helper if you are bringing your baby into the bath. Mom can get in first while the bath is hot and then bring baby in once it cools down a bit. Most newborns love the bath but will startle when first brought in. Have your helper hand the baby to mom and simply support the baby’s head with both hands, allowing the body to immerse and float between your legs. Try to let as much of the baby be under water as possible so he/she doesn’t get cold. Watch your baby relax and unfold as he/she settles in. Relax and enjoy!

Purchasing the Herbs

All herbs sold at the Center are organic and freshly purchased as our supply turns over regularly. The shelf life of dried herbs is one year. For best results, store in an air-tight container out of sunlight. For the Pregnancy Tea, we just sell the Raspberry Leaves and the Nettles in 1/4 pound bags. The Postpartum Herbal Healing Baths come in one-pre-mixed bag that is enough to make three baths (use 1/3 of the herbs for each bath you brew).

Pick Up Only. We do not mail-order herbs (sorry).

We are not a drop-in center. Other business owners who work at the Center may be seeing clients by appointment, so even if the door is open, it is not likely that anyone can take the time to help you. The best way to purchase herbs is to pay for them here and then make arrangements with Patty (patty@center4cby.com) to pick them up at the Center. Provided I am in town (usually the case), I can leave herbs in our Drop Box (inside front screen door at the Center) where you can pick them up at your convenience–typically within 24 hours.

Red Raspberry Leaves ($7.50)
 

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Nettles ($6.50)
 

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Postpartum Herbal Healing Bath ($12)
 

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