Herbalism During Pregnancy

I am constantly amazed at the number of women that know little or nothing of herbs, except to use some cinnamon and cloves and maybe garlic powder now and then added to salt and pepper. When they become pregnant, they take training in the Lamaze method, classes in birthing, read lots of books, but when it comes to holistic health including using herbal teas, they either don't want to listen or are talked out of it by medical doctors and happily continue to take pills, shots and continue smoking.

This article is intended to be a guide for those who decide to use herbal methods that predate modern medicine by centuries.

In pregnancy, you are embarking on an adventure that only women can experience. Your body will go through many changes, the major one being the maturation of a young human. It is necessary for you to build your health and strength much more now then before your pregnancy. It is extremely important to keep your system free of toxins to insure a health child. The burden of responsibility is on you, for no matter how close you are to the potential father, or the mid-wife or the doctor, it is your body that is the home for this new life, not theirs. If you haven't stopped smoking, do so now. If you haven't stopped drinking of all alcohol, do so now. If you haven't stopped all drugs, do so now. If you haven't begun healthy eating habits, do so now. If you haven't begun an exercise program, do so now. Yoga stretching exercises are excellent.

Now as to herbs. First some rules of thumb. Unless otherwise noted, use one to two teaspoons of herb per cup of water. Pour boiling water over the herb. Leaves and flowers should be steeped for ten minutes. Roots and stems should be simmered about ten minutes or steeped when mixed with leaves. Seeds should be bruised or crushed before steeping.

Caution: Abortaifacts: These are herbs which may cause "spontaneous" abortions. Some of them are mild but it would be best to avoid all of them. They include, celery, cotton seed oil and root, ergot (rye smut from which LSD is made), horseradish, mistletoe, pennyroyal, Peruvian bark (Quinine), shepherds purse and tansy.

If you plan to breast feed, which is now recommended, avoid black walnuts, English walnuts and sage. These items will cause a decrease in milk flow. They should be used when you wean your child. Also, wean your child when the moon is moving out of the sign Cancer and going into Leo.

Herbs that increase milk are: basil, borage, caraway, dill, anise, coriander, fennel and European vervain.

To ease your time in childbirth, the following herbs are useful: Althea, birthwort, black cohosh, blue cohosh, cannabix (as a tea), comfrey, raspberry leaves, spikenard (both kinds), squaw vine, wild red raspberry and wormwood.

In case of toxemia, the following blood purifiers will be helpful: Borage, dandelion (root in tea and leaves in salads), ephedra and Echinacea root.

If the little one has an upset stomach or colic, he/she can be given spearmint and fennel seed tea, by teaspoon. One or two teaspoons should do it.

A note of caution is necessary here in regard to the little ones; Chamomile is generally thought to be a nice, pleasant tea that helps to calm people, but people, including babies, that have allergies can react violently to it. Chamomile tea is made from flowers, and it is loaded with pollen.

Herbal Regimen for Pregnancy

I would like to suggest the following tea mixture to be used from the first signs of pregnancy until after birthing, with the noted changes:
Master Mix (by volume)
Red Raspberry Leaves three parts
Lemon Balm two parts
Rose Hips two parts
Dandelion Root one part
Dock Root one part

Steep one to two teaspoons per cup.

Drink two to four cups per day.

Note: Lemon and/or honey can always be added.

Changes or additions:
For nausea, morning sickness: Add three parts of Peppermint or Spearmint to the master mix.

During the eight month: Add three parts each of Althea and Comfrey root to the master mix.

From birthing to weaning — make an additional tea mix of equal parts each:

  • Anise seed
  • Coriander seed
  • Dill seed
  • Fennel seed
  • Caraway seed

Drink one to two cups of tea a day, while cutting down on the other tea.

It is hoped that this article will be helpful to you and to your child, so that you both may grow in health. For further information and for reference in general, I suggest:
The Herb Book
By John B. Lust, ND, DBM
Bantam Books
Paper, 659 pages

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