I have many favourite herbs for the new mothers who come to see me. Here are a few of the ones I use commonly.
Leonorus - ‘the herb for mothers who worry too much’.
Leonorus cardiaca, commonly known as Motherwort, is one of my favourite herbs in practice for new mothers, most conveniently since ‘Mother Wort’ actually means ‘Healing herb for mothers’ and in Latin translates to ‘Lion-hearted’. Not only does it have healing properties for the heart and palpitations or arrhythmia, it has always felt to me to be an herb that summarises the love a mother gives… and gives – until sometimes it emotionally depletes her. Motherwort therefore works to restore her. In my practice I will often give this herb if I see a mother excessively worrying about her child as it helps emotionally to give perspective.
In the post-partum period, when mothers are particularly exhausted and sometimes irritable too due to hormone changes, it is a perfect choice since it acts as an anti-stress herb. It supports the body to cope in times of intense stress and anxiety. It also helps to tone the uterus - soothing cramps and after birth pains whilst also giving some pain relief. This herb tastes bitter and is therefore good for the liver, which most of us need at any time of our lives, but makes it perfect to improve erratic hormone health. If I use it in a tea for my client, I add other herbs to tone down the taste but it works especially well in a tincture which I will prescribe from my dispensary.
Holy Basil or Tulsi, is a herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine that comes under the class of adaptogens. As such, it is one of the best post-partum herbs because it really does help you adapt! As well as stimulating milk production, it can help with mild post-partum depression by supporting resilience against long term stress, balancing hormones by decreasing cortisol and benefiting mood, anxiety and energy levels.
Holy Basil tea is a wonderful comfort as a regular daily beverage and ideal for new mums if they are feeling the blues or if milk is running low. It is available from most stores and health food shops and can also be found in supplement form, which is more suitable for depression, or as an essential oil which can be diffused to help spread calm in the home. Traditionally in India, the leaves are eaten raw to fight off a cough or cold.
The word I associate with the herb Nettle is Nourishing - ideal for this often depleting post-partum period. The tea is very high in the minerals iron, calcium and silica and so helpful for any blood or hair loss. For the new mum 2-3 cups of nettle tea will help in those early days to prevent extreme exhaustion when you are not getting a good night's sleep. Nettle tea will also increase your milk supply. Caution: It is not safe in pregnancy due to its effects on the uterus but has no other known side effects.
Healing Bath Herbs
The postpartum herb bath is a long held traditional that aids healing for the mother - both physically and mentally, in the days and months after birth.
There are many herbs that can be used to soothe tender tissue, and heal tears. Yes, you can take herb baths if you've had stitches! However immersion in a bath is not appropriate until 7-10 days after C-section (do consult with your medical provider beforehand), but foot soaks with any relaxing herbs, for example, lavender and rose petals are an absolutely delicious way to relax and treat yourself to something special! Preparing the bath is as simple as making a giant pot of tea, and the medicinal liquid can also be made into compresses and peri-rinses. Baby can accompany mum into the herbal bath, which also promotes drying and healing of the umbilical cord. I include these special bags of herbal love ❤️🌹in my mum and baby wellness packages but I generally have to refill orders for postpartum bath herbs several times as women find them so soothing! This particular bag mix contains Rose, Lemon balm, St. John’s Wort, Chamomile and Verbena. Pure heaven and smells truly divine!
My new post natal program is designed to support mum and baby when they need it most! Helping mum to get her mojo back, deal with any physical or emotional challenges and provide guidance towards healthy choices for baby and their optimal gut health to ensure the best possible start and a bright, healthy future.