Herbs for Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery
Create Your Own Botanical Medicine Cabinet
Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)
Raspberry leaf acts as a relaxant for the smooth muscles of the uterus and intestine when they are in tone, and causes contraction of the uterus when it is not in tone. Traditionally, raspberry leaf—much like squaw vine—was used in aiding childbirth. It is extremely valuable in preventing postpartum hemorrhage and improves blood supply, aiding contractions during labor. It is a rich in vitamins A, B-1, C, and E, in addition to calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. Raspberry leaf also eases morning sickness and improves digestion (it is also a galactagogue—increasing breast milk production—and restores vitality postpartum).
Dosage: Mix one ounce loose herb in one pint of boiled water and steep for 20 minutes. The tincture can be used in dosages of two tablespoons.
Squaw Vine (Mitchella repens)
American Indian women often used squaw vine as an aid in parturition during the last weeks of pregnancy, giving this herb its common name. Later, early American physicians would also use it with great success. But it wasn’t until 1926 that squaw vine gained formal recognition and was finally allowed into the National Formulary. In addition to toning the uterus and helping it prepare for childbirth in the last four to six weeks of pregnancy, squaw vine eases the threat of miscarriage and treats water retention.
Dosages: Mix one ounce of loose herbs with one pint of boiled water and steep for approximately 20 minutes to make a decoction. Drink one-half cup of the tea up to three times daily.
Teas and Baths
Nothing beats a comforting cup of tea or languid soak in a warm tub. The latter is a treat during pregnancy, but be sure to keep a thermometer handy and track your temperature while you bathe—if it should go above 99 degrees, you’ll need to step out and for a moment and let your internal temperature lower (the heat can be detrimental to your growing baby).
Uterine Tonic Tea
½ ounce Squaw Vine
½ ounce Cramp Bark
½ ounce Raspberry Leaves
3 grams of Lobelia
Mix together with one pint of boiled water, steep twenty minutes, and strain. “This uterine tonic can be used for prevention of miscarriages,” suggests Jensen. “This combination can also be used for treatment of bladder infections and vaginal discharge.”
Raspberry Bath Tea
1 ounce loose Red Raspberry Leaf
1 pint boiled water
1 quart Epsom salt
Mix the raspberry with the boiled water and steep, just as you would for a drinkable tea. Draw a bath and add the tea along with the Epsom salts. This is a great soak for treating the aches and pains of pregnancy.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN