Homemade Herbals

Handmade Herbal Medicinals

Pregnancy Herbal Medicine

NAUSEA/MORNING SICKNESS -

Common symptom of early pregnancy (or even the entire pregnancy) that can be mild or severe.
It can last a few days to weeks to even a few months. The change and surge of hormones creates this symptom and it is important to make sure there are small regular meals and snacks to keep blood sugar levels balanced.
Many women say that bland carbohydrates such as salted crackers, oat cakes or biscuits can help the nausea stave off.

Stay away from fried, greasy foods, and eat more cooked greens, vegetables, carbohydrates and chicken, fish, or beef.
Ginger is an excellent root and was a great friend to me when I was experiencing pregnancy nausea. As was mint, lemon balm, and chamomile and freshly squeezed lemon in water.
Other herbs recommended are raspberry leaf, peach leaf, especially if you feel overheated, and homeopathic Nux Vomica 6c or 30c for nausea and irritability. Pulsatilla 6c or 30c for nausea and teary/weepiness. Cocculus indica 6 or 30c can be helpful for motion related nausea, and Sepia 30c for nausea triggered by smell of food, and is not helped by eating.

Make sure you take your prenatal vitamins with food, and keep hydrated. If you find cold water hard to drink a lot of, drink sips of warm water or herbal tea throughout the day. If symptoms are severe, contact your doctor.



CONSTIPATION

As levels of Progesterone rise and the baby adds pressure to your bowels, Constipation can become more of an issue. Make sure you drink lots of fluids, especially water and herbal teas. When you are dehydrated water gets pulled from your intestines, which can make Constipation worse. The recommendation is 10 8 oz glasses of water a day. At least.
Eat plenty of fibre including fresh fruits and vegetables, prune juice and dried fruit if stools get a little harder. I have found that drinking hot lemon and honey or warm water helps soften stools as well. I also find warm water easier to drink that cold water.
Make sure you are getting enough Magnesium, which you can source in your diet by eating lots of leafy greens, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fish and dark chocolate.
Dandelion root and other herbs such as Burdock root, Yellow Dock root and Beet can also help with constipation and have the additional benefit of helping your body retain Iron.
Prebiotics and Probiotics can also help gut bacteria - Inulin in probiotics contains fibre and B lactis and L reuteri can help relieve Constipation.
As with many other healthy life style factors, making sure you eat well, sleep well and exercise will give you and overall upgrade to all aspects of your physical and emotional well being.


VARICOSE VEINS

The increase in blood volume, extra weight and need for blood to return back to the heart from extremities can demand extra pressure on the venous flow. In addition pregnancy hormones such as progesterone and relaxin soften the smooth muscle tissues of the body, including those that surround the blood vessels. If the valves of the veins that make sure the blood returns properly to the heart for re-oxygenation become too lax or weak they do not close efficiently, thus blood pools in the veins causing varicose veins. Varicose veins can appear as knotted blue veins in your legs where blood is less able to return to the arteries. It can be helped by putting your feet up as much as you can and not crossing your legs. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time, it is an excellent time to put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea. Alternate with short periods of daily exercise.
Add Rutin to your diet in the form of berries - Rutin strengthens capillary walls and improves circulation. Increase magnesium in foods such as leafy greens, avocados and nuts. Take a daily small amount of apple cider vinegar with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Apple Cider Vinegar is naturally high in potassium which reduces fluid retention and cayenne pepper stimulates blood flow and circulation.
Herbs that act as astringents (meaning they tone and tighten tissues) can be helpful with varicose veins as well as being supportive to muscles so that they can perform optimally. This means that your body can birth with the support and adequate tone and blood supply necessary for healthy function.
Red raspberry leaf (Rubus Ideaus)- this herb is one of the most commonly used in pregnancy, it contains fragrine which tones the muscles of the pelvic area including the uterus. This helps the muscles function at their best for delivery, while the rich mineral content aids nourishment of tissues and blood.
Horse Chestnut Seed Extract is a popular European remedy that helps support vessel walls.
Butchers Broom (Ruscus Aculeatus) is also used for hemorrhoids, poor circulation, varicose veins, swelling and hardening of the arteries. It has not been recommended for pregnancy internally, but there are some great herbal creams for external use, including Planetary Herbals Horse Chestnut Cream that can be massaged into affected areas. It contains Horse Chestnut Seed Extract, Butchers Broom Leaf Extract, Witch Hazel Bark Extract, White Oak Bark Extract Myrrh Gum Extract and Rosemary Leaf oil.


You may also get varicose veins in your bottom, also known as hemorrhoids or piles. It is important to stay well hydrated and eat sufficient fibre to prevent hemorrhoids. You can apply witch hazel with a cotton ball to soothe and tone tissues.

Lady’s Mantle (Alchillea Vulgaris) can be used at the END of pregnancy, in the 9th month to prevent hemorrhage, it is an excellent and well known uterine tonic and female’s friend. Lady’s Mantle is astringent and anti inflammatory and can help tone tissues after birth, including being helpful with a prolapsed uterus. It is a great herb to add to your post partum sitz bath.


Main arteries and veins in your pelvis get pressed upon as your womb grows, this can cause a sensation of feeling faint as you lie on your back. It is better to sleep on your side and place a pillow between your legs and at your ankles to prevent this feeling and to support your posture lying down.



HERBS FOR LABOUR

While there should be absolutely no judgment over what type of birth you prefer or require, it’s worth considering the natural tools that can help you avoid preventable birth interventions. @avivaromm

It can feel like there is a lot of judgement or standards around how we birth as women. First and Foremost, we say, our babies should be healthy. And yet, there is the very real journey of us as women, how we will react to the pain, and tolerate the unknown length of time, how we birth our feelings of entering one end of a ritual as a woman and the other end as a mother. (If this is our first time). How we will adjust to the demands of multiple children. There can be added pressures of existing health conditions, how our health care providers will respond, whether we will be allowed to birth as we want or feel supported in those decisions. Where the boundary is between what we wish for and what we might medically need, as opposed to the convenience of the health care providers that so often comes up today in a medicalized birth setting. So many variables, and yet, our bodies have been birthing since time immemorial, and as my midwife said to me, “if we just get out of our own way..’ Our bodies know how to birth.
Even so, preparation is needed to help support our bodies physically and emotionally to create good conditions for birth.
Ultimately, the wisdom of herbal medicine for birth lies in nourishing the mother and supporting our own natural systems to function at their best. This means a healthy diet, good rest and sleep, regular exercise, hydration and relaxation on a physical level.
On a mental and emotional level, it means gathering information about your local birth resources, insurance, how your hospital responds to birth, if you plan to birth in a hospital, taking a tour there to know the lay out and what to expect from them, making a birth plan and making copies for your partner, health care providers including doctors, midwives, doulas and nurses.
Make a plan for how you might cope during the intensity of labour. If you are considering a home birth, hospital birth or birth centre, it is useful to go over different positions that can help during labour, different pressure applied to your lower back to ease sensation or learning which herbs and homeopathic medicines may be helpful at different points. It can be a great source of support and comfort to have a doula or midwife that knows about herbal medicine and can help ‘mother the mother’ as she transitions through this major life event. Outsourcing different comfort measures and making a plan allows for the birthing woman to feel supported, and at ease as she goes through the terrain of deepening contractions, so she can sink into deep body realms and to know that she will be met on the way, without having to micro manage details.

Helpful Herbs during the last 6 weeks;
Certain herbs and foods are ‘partus preparators’ which means they tone and prepare the womb for delivery.
These include Red Raspberry leaf, which you can take in a tea blend from the second trimester onwards.


While RRL doesn’t actually appear to be very effective at stimulating or shortening labor, research has found that drinking RRL tea or taking capsules can have a number of benefits.
The results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial consisting of 192 low-risk, first-time moms found that RRL tablets, taken daily starting at 32 weeks' pregnancy until labor, reduced the rate of forceps deliveries while 
another study found that raspberry leaf was associated with:
  • Decreased likelihood of preterm labor
  • Decreased likelihood of going too far past your due date
  • Decreased need for having your bag of waters artificially ruptured to stimulate labor
  • Lower overall rates of caesarean section, forceps delivery, and vacuum extraction.
avivaromm.com
Partridge berry - Mitchella Repens - Squaw Vine.

I used this herb for all three of my baby’s births, during the last month of pregnancy. It helped shorten the length of labour and seemed to smooth out contractions so that they were more effectual.
This is what Henriette Kress has to say;

If a good preparation of mitchella be administered once or twice daily for the sixth and seventh months of pregnancy, three times daily for the eighth month, and in larger doses as confinement approaches, the influence upon the entire system will be most marked. I have observed this influence in so many cases that doubt is impossible. Erratic pains and unsatisfied longings are removed, the nervous system assumes a tranquil condition, reflex symptoms abate, the urinary function is performed normally, the bowels become regular, imperfect digestion is improved, and the appetite becomes natural. Labor approaches, devoid of the irritating, aggravating complications, the preparatory stage is simple, the dilatation is completed quickly, the expulsive contractions are strong, unirritating, and effectual, and are much less painful than without the remedy; involution is rapid and perfect, there are no subsequent complicating conditions to contend with, the patient's strength is not abated, and the function of lactation is in its best condition. This has been proven in very many cases. After making the above statements, evidences accumulated rapidly confirming their truth.
Auxiliary measures such as judicious dieting, a thorough oiling of the enlarged abdomen, and an occasional hot sitz bath for the last few weeks will materially assist the remedy. Less of it need be taken.

Dates are often a food used in traditional cultures, especially Iran, to help ripen the cervix for birth - taken best six weeks before due date to help increase dilation, lessen the need for induction and decrease the length of the first stage of labour. Red dates and deglet noor dates specifically, medjool dates probably fine too. Eat 6-8 a day starting around week 37 until delivery. Dates contain fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. Also helpful as a labour snack to aid energy and nutrition.

There is often anxiety of the timing of the due date. OBGyns often do not like to go more than a week over the due date before they start talking about interventions such as induction, however Midwives may support a more natural human gestation zone of two weeks after expected due date, barring medical necessity of course. Fortunately there are many tricks of the trade to help labour get going and herbal assistance if desired.
During my second pregnancy I was assisted by midwives that knew about homeopathic preparations to help labour start. I have used this myself and successfully for other women too. I love that it feels safe and there aren’t risk factors associated with homeopathy in any way. I say this thinking fo the safety factor associated with Blue Cohosh that is cautioned against using for labour. It is a root that was used by Native Americans for labour, likely in ways that were known to be safer than in our current context. Homeopathic Blue Cohosh however works in combination with other remedies and poses no danger, due to the dilution to imperceptible levels.
Here is the Labour Preparation regimen; Take up to 10 days before but often works in 3 or 4 days.
Homeopathic Arnica, Gelsemium, Caulophyllum, Cimicifuga, Pulsatilla - all remedies are 30c Add one or two pellets to water and take one sip a day every day around the same time, for up to 10 days.