Herbs and Herbal Teas for pregnancy and beyond
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There are a lot of different viewpoints and a little controversy surrounding what benefits (if any) does herbal medicine and herbal tea have in helping support and treat pregnant women and the symptoms we experience. As a qualified Bachelor degree Naturopath and Mother, my suggestions come from my education in medical herbalism (B. H. Sc. Naturopathy) and of course experience throughout my own pregnancy. I used herbs as infusions (herbal teas) everyday; supporting not only my physical body but my mental and emotional health in the lead up to birthing my baby. It was so inspiring that it became a catalyst to starting up my business in commercially formulating and manufacturing organic therapeutic herbal teas for pregnancy and beyond.
It’s important to note at this point that out of all the herbal preparations available, herbal teas or infusions are the most commonly used and recommended to be consumed during conception, pregnancy and post-partum/breastfeeding. This is largely due to their safety and efficacy presenting little to no risk to the foetus and of course the pregnant mum. Infusions generally are the least concentrated way to ingest herbs, containing the least amount of compounds that are responsible for risk (if any). This however doesn’t mean that they aren’t potent in their therapeutic nature, as they still impart healing actions that will help treat and relieve symptoms, increase hydration and help with the holistic wellness of both mum and baby.
To keep it simple I have focused on the most common, effective, gentle and safe herbs that have been used by mid wives, healers, qualified naturopaths and medical herbalists for hundreds if not thousands of years. They can be used every day, some during specific periods of pregnancy and postpartum and embraced as part of daily rituals to prepare the mother for birth (AKA partus preparator). They treat unwanted symptoms such as morning sickness and support both mother and baby as they transcend into the fourth trimester as postpartum remedies.
There is always a degree of caution needed when consuming herbal medicine and herbal tea whilst pregnant, but the herbs that are safe are just delightful and work so well. My advice is to build the herbal teas into a daily ritual where you can practice breathwork and relaxation whilst enjoying your tea. Don’t overdo it either; keep to 1-3 cups per day, always remembering everything in moderation.
Safety is always the highest priority, therefore it is also important to acknowledge that due to the nature of those involved in this specific cohort of pregnancy, it is and remains to be unethical to extensively trial pregnant women. Therefore all information is a result of traditional empirical data and some recent animal studies. This all leads to the conclusion that the below herbs can be drunk as herbal tea infusions safely at specific times throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
“The pregnancy herb”
Raspberry leaf has been an important pregnancy herb for centuries. Used by midwives and herbalists, it has always been considered an important part of a pregnant woman’s birthing kit; safe, gentle and effective.
Its effects are mostly as a uterine tonic, where it has an affinity with the uterine muscle. It works by helping to regulate smooth muscle contractions (known as a partus preparator), it ensures a healthy uterine function. This has been supported scientifically where it has demonstrated a variable effect on uterine muscle tone in animal studies; increasing the regularity and decreasing the frequency of uterine contractions.
It’s also super nutritive containing lots vitamins and minerals and has been reported to help milk production and is a topical anti-inflammatory for inflamed a bleeding gums; a common symptom of pregnancy.
This herb can be safely consumed from 30 weeks onwards, some records indicate it can be drunk from the start of the second trimester but I like to recommend it as a ritual to embrace as you transition from the end of the second trimester to the beginning of the third.
It is recommended to be drunk as a herbal tea infusion, up to 3 cups per day. Due to its high tannin content it is recommended to drink at least half an hour away from meals as it may inhibit iron absorption.
Purchase our Raspberry leaf herbal tea blend specific for Pregnancy HERE
Nettle (leaf) is packed full of vitamins and minerals, including iron, and is the base of most commercial chlorophyll products. It has a wonderful anti-inflammatory effect and nettle leaf is safe in pregnancy with no side effects having been reported over the years.
This is a beautiful herb to be incorporated in a pregnancy herbal tea blend, as its nourishing qualities help support the mother from pregnancy through to matressence.
I always say “if I could give one thing to a newly pregnant mum it would be chamomile”. This herb is so beautiful and can be consumed without fear. From pre- conception right through to postpartum and beyond, chamomile will support, nurture and relax everything from digestive issues, skin complaints, nervousness and pregnancy related anxiety. Of course like everything should be drunk in moderation, not exceeding 3 cups per day.
A hero herb for the symptomatic treatment of morning sickness and nausea in pregnancy.
Ginger is considered safe and effective throughout pregnancy; being most effective during the first trimester. It has a powerful anti-emetic action and is ok to use long term as a symptomatic relief of nausea. It’s important like all herbs recommended in pregnancy, to drink in moderation (1-2 cups per day). Combined with other herbal remedies for morning sickness or pregnancy related digestive issues you can increase to (3-4 cups per day).
Purchase our Digestive herbal tea blend specific for morning sickness HERE
Who doesn’t love a cup of fresh peppermint tea? It’s such a beautiful herb, that is probably the most consumed herbal tea across the world. Used and cultivated by many cultures for thousands of years; it has been used therapeutically for digestive disorders, respiratory disorders and as a gentle sedative for the central nervous system.
Consuming good quality peppermint tea in pregnancy is excellent at treating morning sickness and nausea associated with pregnancy related digestive issues. It can be drunk safely from conception through to birth and is wonderful combined with ginger as added relief for the unsettling feeling of morning sickness. The added calming effects of peppermint make it a wonderful herb to embrace to help reduce any anxiety or stress associated with pregnancy and child birth.
I hope this has given you the confidence to enjoy some beautiful nurturing herbs throughout your pregnancy. If in doubt, please feel free to contact us here
to ask about herbs or herbal remedies related to pregnancy and breastfeeding.
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Written by Misha Moran; qualified Naturopath, chef, self-care advocate and ambassador for sustainability. Misha is the founder of Heart Therapeutics Apothecary, a home to her knowledge, education, experience, passion and love for holistic health and herbal medicine.