While researching herbal teas for postpartum mothers, I called a midwife, Tisha Graham, CPM, from The Family Life Center in Albany, New York. She made it clear that drinking herbal tea was only a small consideration in the well-being of a new mother and baby.
The whole process of childbearing, starting with conception, must be taken into account. Graham is a homebirth midwife and services mothers throughout their pregnancy, labor, and the subsequent six weeks after birth.
Homebirth midwives treat any problems that may arise during the prenatal and postnatal periods by holistically using alternative healing methods such as herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, Bach Flower Remedies, chiropractic, and yoga.
For instance, if a mother gets high blood pressure, she may be given passionflower tea or be advised to eat cucumber. A nervous or fearful mother is given Rescue Remedy or chamomile tea.
These alternatives cannot be recommended by hospitals or by medical doctors, who usually haven’t been trained in herbology, homeopathy, or other alternatives that are not included in the obstetric standard of care.
A homebirth midwife meets the whole family. She teaches everyone what to do for a harmonious, healthful outcome. “We encourage the mothers to be proactively healthy,” Graham said.
Midwives make various recommendations to accomplish this feat. One is to buy and read Susun Weed’s book “Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year,” about medicinal and nutritious plants and their application to childbearing situations, which are described in detail. Susun Weed is a famous herbalist who also lives in the Albany area.
Women’s Blend Tea
A tea blend that Susun highly recommends is called Women’s Blend. It is a combination of oat straw, red clover leaf, raspberry leaf, nettle, and spearmint.
Oat straw is very good for reducing the effects of stress and promoting sleep because it has B vitamins and zinc, both tonics for the nerves. Oat straw’s ability to decrease water retention can give relief to those swollen ankles that may occur toward the end of pregnancy.
Red clover leaf tea is rich in magnesium, calcium, and B and C vitamins. It is said to balance the hormones, purify the blood, tone the uterus, and increase the milk supply in new mothers.
Raspberry leaf tones the uterine and pelvic muscles. Raspberry leaf contains vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Raspberry leaf also promotes the flow of milk.
Nettle tea should be taken during pregnancy, as it can prevent heavy bleeding during childbirth, perhaps due to its vitamin K content. It also has folic acid, an important nutrient in spinal chord and brain development in the fetus. It can prevent anemia in the mother and increase lactation.
Nettles have many nutrients that strengthen the adrenal glands. Strong adrenals prevent allergies and allay anxieties and fears.
Spearmint enhances the overall taste of the tea and improves digestion.
Looking online for what these herbs can do, I found some cautions regarding pregnant or nursing mothers, especially for nettle and raspberry leaf. However, the midwives in upstate New York use them. If one has questions about this advice, one can do the research or ask one’s professional caretaker.
Because the scope of this article is limited to new mothers, only certain aspects of these herbs are emphasized. Their usefulness goes far beyond what is described here.
In science today, we analyze what a substance does by isolating it and feeding it to cells in a test tube or to animals. Plants are much more holistic. All the chemicals in a plant work synergistically and can vary within the species depending where and how it is grown.