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The best herbs for pregnancy

I am absolutely in love with using herbs to support a healthy pregnancy. Many of of our 'tonic' herbs, such as the ones I list below, are gentle in action, high in nutrition and work well to promote overall health and wellbeing.

Red Raspberry Leaf Considered the "herb supreme" for pregnancy, raspberry leaf tones and nourishes the uterine muscles over time. It is usually drunk as a tea and used regularly to help with uterine tone and help reduce the length of labor. While I think it is a great herb for most mothers, I particular love it for those experiencing a first pregnancy or hoping to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (vbac).

It is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in naturally chelated iron, which the body can easily assimilate, since herbs are recognized in the body as food.

If you still have an abundance left after you have your baby, you can use the rest to enrich and increase the flow of breastmilk, help restore the system after childbirth and increase iron levels.

Raspberry Leaf is generally safe for the majority of women. But, to be on the safe side many prefer to begin using the herb in the second trimester, only drinking one cup of tea a day until the third trimester, where one may increase up to 3 per day.

Nettle Leaf

An extremely nutritious herb that is good for supporting the kidneys. Being rich in minerals it can help prevent leg cramps, water retention and also encourages abundant breast milk. If taken in freeze-dried capsules, it is an effective, nontoxic aid for those who suffer from allergies during pregnancy. Nettles taste a bit like spinach and is best mixed with other herbs in tea for taste, or can be added to rice or soups.

Ginger Root

A warming herb known for helping morning sickness and digestive problems. Can also be taken as a tea to help with colds, flus, sore throats and congestion. A little goes a long way, so try to stick to 3 cups or less of tea per day.

Hawthorn Berry This gentle tonic herb is very good for the cardiovascular system. During pregnancy you might experience blood pressure issues and varicose veins. Hawthorn, taken over time can help ease that strain on your system and nourish your heart.

Rosehips The dried fruit of roses contain a large amount of vitamin c. They are good for fighting infections, promoting good vascular health resulting in less varicose veins, dealing with stress and can help prevent PROM (rupture of membranes long before labor starts, resulting in the need for antibiotics). Delicious as a tea or taken in capsules.

Chamomile Flower An especially good herb for stress, relaxation and digestive problems. Can help with sleep and contains a decent amount of magnesium. A cup after dinner time is a great way to nourish your body. The longer you steep it, the more bitter it will get. Bitter chamomile is great for upset stomachs, but if you don't like it, simply shorten your steep time to 5 minutes. Do not take if allergic to ragweed.

Oatstraw or Milky Oat Tops/Seed Tincture

An herb naturally rich in calcium and trace minerals. It is also very good as a tonic for the nervous system, helping those with nervous fatigue, anxiety or are prone to worry.

Milk Thistle During pregnancy our liver and kidneys can be taxed due to an increase in blood volume and hormones. Milk thistle is very safe for most. It does not have a harsh detoxifying action like many liver support herbs. Rather it nourishes and supports the liver, helping with things like itchy skin rashes and acne due to excess hormones.

Pregnancy Tea Recipe

2 parts, Red Raspberry Leaf

1 part, Nettle Leaf

1 part, Oatstraw 1 part, Spearmint

1 part, Alfalfa Leaf (optional, adds vitamin k & b's)

Combine the dried herbs in a large bowl. For storage, put the herbs in a mason jar or freezer bag and keep out of sunlight.

For one cup of tea, place 1 Tbsp. of mix in a tea strainer and add 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and let steep 10-15 min. Strain and enjoy.

Many like to enjoy up to a quart of this tea per day when they begin their third trimester, to help prepare their body for birth.

To make, add 1/4 cup of mix to a glass quart mason jar. Fill with near boiling water, cover loosely with metal lid and let steep 15 min-overnight. Strain with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and store extra in the fridge for up to 3 days.

You can also use the tea from this mix to make refreshing homemade popsicles, simply omit the alfalfa and replace it with a second part of spearmint for better taste. :-)

***This information is not presented with the intention of diagnosing any disease or condition or prescribing any treatment. It is offered as information only, for use in the maintenance and promotion of good health in cooperation with a licensed medical practitioner.***

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