Mother Nature has given us a fantastic way to support a healthy pregnancy and birth with whole food nutrition in the form of healing plants. We know that vitamins and minerals are critical for a healthy mama and growing baby, but did you know that a delicious and inexpensive way to increase your vital nutrients is by making herbal infusions? This type of whole food nutrition is the way to go when growing a healthy baby and mama.
I learned many years ago from my teacher, Susun S. Weed, the great author and Wise Woman the difference between “herbal teas” and “herbal infusions”. She taught that, “tea was flavored colored water and that infusions were vitamin and mineral rich infused water”.
In order to extract the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from the plants you must infuse a large amount of dried herbs (about a cup) for at least 4-10 hours. These nutrients then become extremely bio-available to the body and are easily assimilated into your bloodstream and to your baby. Because nobody explains things better than Susun Weed, here is her link on how to make herbal infusions. If you’d like to learn more about how herbs can safely support your pregnancy, I recommend her wonderful book, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years.
As a midwife I work with low risk women. In order to keep my gals low risk I focus on optimal nutrition. I am passionate about healthy joyful pregnancy and birth and love the natural plant kingdom as a resource for maintaining and supporting health. That is why I developed Birthwell Mama Tea, my delicious herbal infusion blend for pregnant woman. Infusions are an easy way to supply your body and baby with many of the most important and necessary vital nutrients.
Here are my favorite herbs included in my blend and why they are important for pregnancy, growing baby and childbirth preparation:
Nettle is the powerhouse of herbs. She contains lots of minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and many trace minerals. She is also an excellent source of vitamins C, D,A,E and K. Nettle has loads of iron and builds blood, supports kidneys, strengthens the adrenals, stabilizes blood sugar and builds bones. Did you know, according to Susun there are “3000 mg of calcium in 100 grams dried nettle!” Nettle also contains B complex vitamins, amino acids and protein. She aids in circulation and the hormonal system. In Susun Weed’s book Healing Wise she writes, “Women love this rich green plant during pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation for its safe diuretic effect, its gentle restorative laxative effect, its assured anti-hemorrhagic power, and its contribution to their overall well-being…Her superb, bio-active nourishment is readily absorbed by all soft tissue and working fluids: blood, lymph, hormones, and neurotransmitters…stinging nettle is highly recommended for pregnant and lactating women” (Weed, 1989, p. 171-2).
Oatstraw (Avena sativa) is high in calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin B complex including B6 and folic acid, Vitamin A, E and K and many amino acids. Oats are rich in protein. Avena helps build strong bones and teeth, stabilizes blood sugar, calms, relaxes and strengthens nerves. This herb is very helpful with morning sickness, helps with circulation and prevents leg cramps. (Weed, 1989, p. 203-5)
Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus strigosus) is a very safe and well known uterine tonic. It contains an alkaloid called fragrine which tones the pelvic muscles and uterus while infusing the body with nourishing vitamins and minerals. Red Raspberry leaf is high in Vitamin C, A, E and B complex as well rich in calcium and iron. Benefits of drinking this herb in pregnancy also include calming morning sickness and helps prevent miscarriages. Benefits in childbirth include strengthening the uterus to work more effectively and helps prevent postpartum hemorrhage. This wonderful herb also helps bring in a good milk supply. (Weed, 1986, p.18-19)
Mama tea also contains Lemon Balm and Lavender for anxiety and morning sickness, Hibiscus flowers and Rose Hips for increased Vitamin C (helps strengthen the amniotic sac) and bioflavonoids, and a hint of peppermint for heartburn and digestive upset.
To protect the integrity and freshness of these high quality herbs, I have chosen not to package in tea bags but rather offer organic loose leaf whole herbs. This way you may also experiment with the proportions of herbs to water and come up with your desired strength. Remember, the more herbs you use the more nutrient dense your infusion will be. It’s very easy to make infusions using a French Press, tea pot or a simple mason jar. Always boil fresh clean water to pour over the herbs. I like to allow the brew to steep over night for optimal results. In the morning you can strain and drink hot or cold. I love adding lemon or honey.
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Thank you for reading my blog. Many blessings to you for a healthy pregnancy and joyful birth!
With Love, Midwife Mari
Susun S. Weed, Wise Woman Herbal; Healing Wise. 1989. NY. Ash Tree Publishing. p.203-5.
Susun S. Weed, Wise Woman Herbal; Childbearing Year. 1986. NY. Ash Tree Publishing. p. 18-19