Herbs for Post-Natal Support
Pregnancy and birth can be filled with utter extremes of joy, glistening love, mind-bending pain and sometimes sadly loss and grief. The transformation of the womb alone is a wonder to behold. Layer upon this the energy taken to process hormones and grow another life and the physical contortion of pregnancy. All followed by the endurance test of labour where women face the outer limits of their bodies and souls, literally walking an edge between life and death.
Gone are the days when women were given weeks of bed-rest to recover and rejuvenate after pregnancy and birth. These days, it can be challenging to carve out healthy space and time to convalesce. There are some wonderful herbal allies that can deeply support women while their bodies heal after birth and as they begin bonding with their infant during nursing. Remembering to drink herb tea, take some drops with a healing affirmation or soak in a sitz bath can be key tools that create space for new mothers to rest.
The Seed SistAs support our clients with Ladies Lovelies Drops and tea blends that can be drunk or used for a healing sitz bath which administers herbs directly to the womb-centre and the bruised tissue around the vulva and perineum.
Here are our favourite herbs for Postpartum Support, at this time in a woman’s life:
Like all her brothers and sisters of the rose family, Lady’s Mantle offers us the astringency of tannins, helping to tone the smooth muscle of the womb and to stymy any unwanted bleeding.
Another herb of the rose family, raspberry leaf offers astringent toning of womb tissue along with the nourishment of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Red raspberry leaf is also a good source of B vitamins, including thiamin and niacin, as well as vitamins E and C.
Nettle is what herbalists call an alterative which means that it restores balance to the blood. Nettle is also full of protein, vitamins and minerals and boosts the body’s ability to absorb iron. Nourishing and energizing.
Calendula is an anti-inflammatory herb that has wonderful properties to speed the healing of wounds and soothe broken skin.
Rose offers cooling, calming support to the nervous system after the extreme stimulation of labour. Rose can support women in the grief of a miscarriage, or in dealing with the feelings of loss of independence and “self” that can sometimes accompany birth. Like Lady’s mantle and raspberry leaf, her tannins offer a useful astringency that can bring integrity back to the sensitive tissues of the womb, vulva and perineum.
Famously known as a styptic to stop bleeding. Achillea Millefolium takes the name of the warrior Achilles who it is said used the plant to pack the wounds of his soldiers on the battle field and stop their bleeding. Yarrow also improves circulation to the pelvic region, so potentiating the action of the other herbs on the womb area and also helping the body to bring fresh blood to the area, bringing oxygen and nutrients and efficiently removing damaged cells to speed up healing.
Famously used in “gripe water” for infants to help ease the distressing gas associated with colic. Fennel calms the smooth muscle of the digestive system and eases excessive wind. Fennel also encourages lactation to support breastfeeding. Amidst the overwhelm of hormones, physical exhaustion and the new role of mother, womens’ spirits can be enormously tested. Fennel offers a welcome boost – identified by the famous herbalist Hildegard von Bingen as a herb to restore and uplift the spirits.
A well-rounded blend of herbs like red clover, calendula, yarrow, ladies mantle that support womb health, hormonal balance and healthy circulation of the blood and lymph.