Nourishing Herbs for Postpartum Health
Updated: Aug 12, 2018
In my first blog Welcome to the Postpartum Revolution https://www.pollinationmamas.com/blog/welcome-to-the-postpartum-care-revoluti I listed the 5 pillars common to postpartum care culture all over the world, REST, WARMTH, nourishing FOOD & DRINKS, SUPPORT & RITUAL. It's no surprise that nourishing food and herbal teas are central to this care. Traditionally each culture has great knowledge about there own local herbs for nourishing Mama's. However in todays global and multicultural society we have access to a wide variety of herbs. I absolutely love herbs and the passion is ever growing. Pictured above are just some of the postpartum herbs from my organic garden or wild harvested (from a clean pollution and pesticide free area). I use herbs daily in my personal life and will cook and brew them up for any woman I work alongside. Herbs in teas and soup also provide a warming benefit so crucial to healing during this time. Herbal teas are a great way to ensure Mama's stay hydrated, especially important if breastfeeding.
There are so many herbs to mention but some of my favourite herbs that I personally grow and harvest for adding a delicious and nutrient rich touch to postpartum meals and for making tea blends are:
- Nettle, a nutrient rich green high in iron, calcium and vitamin A, is a wonderful addition to soups and stews
- Raspberry Leaf, a fantastic uterine tonic used in teas and vaginal steams high in calcium, iron, and magnesium. Other vitamins and minerals include vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3 as well as vitamins C and E, manganese, niacin, and selenium.
- Fenugreek, an Indian spice and seed of a legume, with a sweet yet slightly pungent and bitter taste is often added to curries and is great in teas as it is used as a galactagogue (promote breastmilk production).
- Fennel seed, a lovely subtle aniseed flavour used in a wide array of dishes. Also added to teas as a galactagogue
- Moringa leaf, this little leaf from the drumstick tree a tree found all over Asia is a power packed gem. I first discovered it whilst living in Thailand. Moringa has a long history in postpartum use both in soups and teas with recent studies showing its potential as a powerful galactogogue. My Filipino Mother-in-law cooked me a soup with Moringa in it a few days after birth. High in iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamin A. It's worth a mention here though that due to the very high vitamin A levels caution should be taken in pregnancy. I personally feel that moderate use of this leaf fresh or dried is enough. In recent times Moringa has gained popularity and is dried and sold in capsules, such high dose usage is best avoided for postpartum and pregnant Mothers.
- Lemon Myrtle, we are very lucky in Australia to have some amazing native herbal medicines. Lemon Myrtle is not only a delicious addition to tea and curry but it is also a powerful antiseptic, high in antioxidants and minerals like calcium, zinc and magnesium, and it has a healthy helping of vitamins A and E. It may also ease cramping.
- Lemon Balm, a delicious relaxant and tonic for the nervous system, perfect for new Mums and everyone else for that matter
- Gotu Kola, another wonderful medicinal herb I discovered in Thailand. A powerful tonic for connective tissue (perfect after birth) and as an excellent nervous system and cerebral tonic.
This list is really just scratching the surface but gives an idea of the delicious and amazing healing potential that herbs can bring to the postpartum experience. I will continue to post about my herbal journeys and recipes. I will also be offering packaged teas individually and as a part of my postpartum baskets in Spring at local markets and online.
Quick note: Many of these herbs along with yarrow, plantain, lavender, rose geranium, calendula can also be used for vaginal steams and sitz pelvic baths. Stay tuned for a steamy post on this topic and the benefits later.
I'm currently studying Herbal Medicine with the Herbal Academy of New England and much of the information in this blog is from my course material. However I have added extra references below.
Medicinal Plants In Australia, Vol. 3, Cheryl Williams, 2012
The New Healing Herbs - The Classic Guide to Natures Best Medicines, M. Castlemain, 2001
Nature's Pharmacopeia, R. Singh Rawat & V. Kumar Bhatt, 2002