Herbal medicine is a wonderful ally for postpartum healing and recovery. In many different cultures and old traditions, there is an underlying understanding of the importance of the early postpartum, where the new mother is taken care of while she rests, heals and recovers. Herbal remedies can be key in this postpartum care, used to aid and encourage a smooth healing process after birth. It is also used to support a women’s nervous system, allowing for a more calm and grounded experience into motherhood. Childbirth can be an intense experience and often leaves women feeling sore, bruised and vulnerable. It may come with tissue trauma, postpartum cramping, bleeding, as well as arising insecurities and anxiety that the hormonal storm can cause. Being well prepared and having some of these natural remedies in place, may allow for a more enjoyable transition, allowing the new mama to focus on her new baby and exploring her intuition as a mother.
Some of the most common healing herbs to support women during the early postpartum include;
Raspberry leaf – which is a nutritive herb that offers nourishment of essential nutrients and minerals, restoring key nutrition after the demanding and depleting experience of birth and labour. It also has an astringent and toning effect on the womb, promoting proper uterine function and guiding the uterus to contract back to its normal size and position. Best enjoyed as a herbal tea and herbal infusion.
Nettle – is also a nutritive herb that helps replenish important nutrients and minerals, it’s very high in iron, making it useful in rebuilding the blood that is lost during and after childbirth. It is also helpful in promoting healthy breastmilk supply, increasing the richness and amount of breastmilk produced. Best enjoyed as a herbal tea and herbal infusion.
Motherwort – is the ultimate mother nurturer and is often used in the early postpartum. It is an all over restorative herb, very calming to the nervous system, lifting low moods and easing any anxiety. It also has toning and antispasmodic actions on the womb, making it very useful in easing any postpartum cramping or after pains. Best used as a herbal tincture.
Calendula – is well-known for its potent healing properties, promoting tissue regeneration and speeding up slow wound healing, it’s ideal for any perineal tearing, caesarean scarring or any general tissue trauma. It eases inflammation and pain, has strong antiseptic properties, preventing and assisting any associated infections. Best used topically as a herbal ointment or sitz bath.
Yarrow – has astringent and antispasmodic properties, reducing excessive bleeding and preventing any postpartum haemorrhaging. It may help sooth cramping, nourish inflamed tissues and promote a faster recovery. It also improves circulation to the womb, enhancing tissue regeneration and providing local oxygenation and nourishment. Best used topically as a herbal sitz bath.
Fennel – is used to encourage lactation and promote healthy breastmilk supply. It is also a sweet aromatic herb that has a calming effect on the digestive system and may assist in easing upset tummies in colicky babies through breastmilk. A very grounding and nurturing botanical for both mama and baby. Best used as a herbal tea or herbal infusion.
Mama’s Nourishing Postpartum Tea: a herbal blend that is rich in essential nutrients and minerals, providing nourishment to body and soul.
Raspberry Leaf – 1/4 cup Nettle – 1/4 cup Oat straw – 1/4 cup Rosehip – 1/8 cup Hibiscus – 1/8 cup
Directions: Add a heaped teaspoon of herbs per cup into a pot or diffuser. Add boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes or more. Strain herbs and enjoy with some Manuka honey to sweeten and add extra antimicrobial and healing properties.
Mama’s Soothing Postpartum Bath: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and healing properties, providing a soothing and comforting herbal blend.
Calendula – 1/4 cup Yarrow – 1/4 cup Chamomile – 1/4 cup Uva Ursi leaves – 1/8 cup Lavender flowers- 1/8 cup
Directions: Mix the herbs. Add ¼ cup of herbs to 6 cups of boiling water. Remove water from heat, cover and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain the liquid using a mesh strainer and add to bath. Enjoy and soak for up to 20 minutes.
Aline Candish – Naturopath, Massage Therapist, Birth and Postpartum doula