Herbs for Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery
Create Your Own Botanical Medicine Cabinet
Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulis Caprifeliaceae)
Most commonly used as an abortive inhibitor, cramp bark is safe to take during all stages of pregnancy. It is considered one of the best female regulators of the herb world, according to www.allnatural.net’s “Encyclopedia of Herbs.” It also is very effective in preventing hemorrhaging. Cramp bark is a uterine sedative, making it useful in treating cramps, afterbirth, and postpartum pain.
Dosage: Mix one-half ounce with one pint of boiled water. Steep for 20 minutes. Use in doses of one tablespoon as frequently as needed. Or make a tincture by mixing four ounces of the bark in a pint of alcohol; take one teaspoon per dose. (Use no more than two cups per day for three consecutive days, or it may cause nausea or skin rash.)
Ginger (Rhizoma Zingiberis officinalis)
“Ginger is one of the best antinauseants available,” says the renowned herbalist Susan Weed in her book Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years. In one clinical trial documented in 1990 by the European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology, for pregnant women with severe nausea and vomiting, 250 mg of powdered ginger root taken four times a day significantly reduced their discomfort. The root and rhizomes dispel gas, indigestion, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting, and hot flashes. Ginger stimulates circulation, cleanses the colon, and reduces cramps and spasms.
Dosage: Mix one to three 1/8-inch pieces with one pint boiled water and steep for 20 minutes. Drink this tea as often as needed.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
A long held favorite flavoring for everything from chocolate to mouthwash, peppermint helps relieve nausea, particularly morning sickness, as well as flatulence. It is especially good for treating heartburn. It can be used for all minor ailments—from colds to cramps, however the menthol contains stimulating properties and caution should be exercised when ingested during pregnancy. Keep your dosages to a minimum.
Dosage: For a beverage tea, mix one-half ounce of herb in one pint of boiled water. Double the quantity of herbs to create a medicinal dose (check with your herbalist or doctor before taking a medicinal dose while pregnant). Drink up to three ¾ cups daily.
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