As we have discussed during our consultation, you will be drinking a blend of herbs as a nourishing and toning support during your pregnancy and post-partum. Options for purchasing these herbs are on the end of this post.
The following are instructions on preparation and the intended value of these herbs during your childbearing year. You will be drinking a combination of the following herbs:
- 1 part Nettle leaf cut
- 1/2 part Alfalfa leaf cut
- 1 part Red Raspberry leaf cut
- 1/2 part Oatstraw cut
To prepare infusion:
- Warm a quart glass jar under hot tap water.
- Put one large handful of herbal mixture in empty, warm jar.
- Pour boiling water into jar, making sure to stir down herbs.
- Cover jar and leave overnight to extract nutrients.
- In the morning, pour contents through a fine mess strainer (the metal screened type with a handle works best.) Rinse jar out and pour your infusion back into the jar. Discard or compost herbal material.
- Drink entire quart over the day. You may dilute the infusion with water or herbal tea if you wish, be sure to work at drinking the entire quart.
If you have never been a tea or coffee drinker, this infusion may seem strange to your taste buds. The flavor can be improved upon by adding one or two herbal tea bags. Flavors from Celestial Seasoning such as “Magic Mint”, “Grandma’s Tummy Mint”, “Mandarin Orange” or “Lemon Zinger” as favorites for some women. Diluting the liquid with more water or natural unsweetened fruit juice is an option that some women prefer.
(Remember to refrigerate herbal infusions after straining. Herbal infusions are food, and will begin to ferment after several hours in summer heat.)
Herbs have been used throughout history as beverage, food and medicine. The herbs which have been chosen for this blend are considered toning/nourishing. This classification is the same given foods which you would eat on a daily basis. Each of these herbs can be, and often are, eaten as foods in this and other cultures, and can thus be seen as relatively harmless and “good for you”. As with any food, however, there does exist a possibility of sensitivity. Should you be concerned about this issue, or should you have known grass, grain or food sensitivities, you can test each herb individually before purchasing the blend.
Most health food stores do have these particular herbs in 4 ounce boxes. Needless to say this would not be cost effective. You can prepare quart jars of each herb, one herb per week, drinking two glasses per herb per week, to check for allergic reactions. If you should notice one causes any unusual reactions, you can still purchase the others and blend them together on your own. Experience has not revealed any problems with Nettle. Occasionally, people who are allergic to gluten are allergic to Oatstraw. People with extreme grass allergies sometimes exhibit some sensitivity to Alfalfa. Red Raspberry, drunk in large quantities, on it’s own, can cause some constipation. In general, this blend has been drunk by virtually every client I have served with nothing but outstanding results and is an enjoyed immensely by most of the women (partners and children often as well) in my practice.
Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)
One of the richest mineral foods in the world, alfalfa’s roots grow as deep as 130 ft. into the ground, allowing it to reach minerals not available at higher levels. The name “alfalfa” is Arabic and means “Father of All Foods” (Al-Fal-Fa)
Contains: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, chlorophyll, biotin, choline, inositol, iron, PABA, sodium, sulfur, tryptophan, Vitamins A, B complex, C, E, G, K, P and U.
Alfalfa is a restorative tonic, which promotes pituitary gland function. It contains eight enzymes known to promote a chemical reaction that enables food to be assimilated properly, helping to normalize weight, reduce incidence of ulcers, diabetes and other digestive orders. It alkalinizes the body, reducing arthritis symptoms, neutralizing uric acid, improving kidney function and reducing edema. A toning agent to the intestines, it improves peristaltic action of the bowels, improving colon disorders and normalizing bowel movements. It contains anti-fungal properties. Alfalfa’s tryptophan levels help improve sleep patterns. In tablet form, alfalfa has been used successfully to reduce heart disease, and improve arrhythmias. Alfalfa has been shown, in laboratory trials, to reduce cholesterol levels by reducing plaque.
Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
For those of you who have wandered into woodlands near water, stinging nettle will be a familiar memory. Nettle is a popular table green still today, eaten much the same way as cooked kale or spinach. Rich in chlorophyll, nettle is a world favorite for all urinary tract problems.
Contains: Chlorine, chlorophyll, formic acid, iodine, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, tannin, Vitamins A and C, facilitates absorption of Vitamin D form the sun, proteins, iron, copper, histamine, glucoquinine.
Nettle is a gentle yet powerful tonic to the adrenals, and is know to rebuild the adrenal cortex, thus improving energy levels. It has been used with great success in the treatment of adrenal exhaustion, one of the primary underlying causes of Chronic Fatigue and a host of other autoimmune disorders. As the adrenals are the fundamental glands of the immune health, Nettle is used to improve general immune function, thus increasing resistance to illnesses caused by viruses or bacteria’s. With its strong affinity to the adrenals, Nettle is used extensively to eliminate allergy and hay fever symptoms.
It has been used throughout time to restore kidney function, eliminating edema, cystitis, incontinence and urinary tract infections. Improving liver function, nettle reduces jaundice. The high vitamin C levels in Nettle ensure that dietary iron is absorbed properly, thus reducing anemia. Its unique blend of nutrients stabilizes blood sugar, strengthening the nervous system and reducing headaches. By improving nerve signal to the muscle, Nettle helps increase muscle response time, thus reducing incidences of post-partum hemorrhage. By improving elasticity of the skin, Nettle helps prevent tearing of vaginal tissue. Combined with Burdock Root, Nettle is extremely helpful in the treatment of eczema. Nettle is an excellent promoter of abundant breast milk.
Oatstraw (Avena Sativa)
Oatstraw, as any livestock breeder will confirm, builds the strongest possible body, with the greatest resiliency. Used extensively in European cultures throughout time for health and beauty, our country has let this valuable herb slide into disuse.
Contains: Starch, silicic acid, calcium, high in Vitamins A, C, B complex, LE, G, phosphorus, potassium, mucin, and proteins.
Oatstraw contains Avenin, an amorphous alkaloid which is highly nutritive to cells, improving normal cellular reproduction. Its calcium form is so easily absorbed that Oatstraw is considered the premier herb/food for the nervous system. Working directly on the brain and endocrine system, Oatstraw reduces nervous disability, anxiety and epilepsy. Due to its ease of absorption, Oatstraw has been used with great success in addiction recovery. As calcium is responsible for the enzymatic process by which nutrients are laid down in the muscle, Oatstraw improves muscle tone throughout the body, reducing leg cramps and heart palpitations, improving digestion and elimination. Improving muscle tone allows the cardiovascular system to function more vigorously, thus improving circulation to the uterus and placenta, and therefore, to the preborn infant. Its high levels of minerals make Oatstraw invaluable in building excellent bone density and enamel on teeth. Oatmeal’s high levels of silicic acid are responsible for its international fame, in skin disorders such as acne and relief from topical inflammations such as chicken pox and poison ivy. Oatstraw, in cases of allergic reactions, seems not to affect the individual to the same degree as the oat grain itself and is often used, without aggravation by those who cannot eat oats.
Cleavers (cut and sifted) is an excellent substitute in this formula if you are allergic to oats.
Red Raspberry (Rubus strigosus or idaeus)
Likely the most well-known pregnancy herb, red raspberry has been used throughout Europe and the Americas for centuries as the premier childbearing years herb. Growing easily in almost every environmental condition, even the youngest country child can identify the wild, briary canes as they overtake everything in their path.
Contains: Fruit sugar, pectin, citric acid, malic acid, silicon, Vitamins C, B2, niacin, carotene, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, improves Vitamin D absorption.
Red Raspberry is a specific muscle toner, working on the smooth muscles of the body, including the uterus. As it soothes spastic muscle behavior, it improves contractibility of the uterus during labor. The particular properties of the herb tone and nourish the ovaries, and by relationship to the pituitary, reduces nausea, morning sickness and intestinal spasm caused by excessive progesterone. This same relationship has made Red Raspberry a popular herb for menstrual cramps and hot flashes. Due to its astringent qualities, it is used for mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids and cold sores. The unique mineral blend in Red Raspberry promotes healthy nails, bones, teeth and skin.
If you have never tried herbs as food and medicine, this is the ideal time to learn the wonderful benefit they can be for you. Beginning with the highest quality product is important, for you will receive little benefit from stale, old materials. If you have tried herbs before, and your only exposure has been those little boxes on health food store shelves, you have never really tried medicinal level herbs. If you are experienced with herbs, the following list may give you options you never had for price and quality.
If you are ready to adventure into purchasing herbs at pound level and want the industry standard of excellence for harvesting, drying and shelf life, AmeriHerb is for you. This company guarantees the freshest herbs on the market and can be counted on to deliver on its promise. They carry hundreds of herbs. All herbs must be ordered in one-pound minimums. Since the formula calls for 1 pound additions of alfalfa and oatstraw, you will need to order 2 pounds each of nettle and red raspberry; not a problem as most women will go through at least 4-5 pounds total of the blend during the pregnancy. A minimum order of:
- 2 pounds Nettle leaf cut
- 1 pound Alfalfa leaf cut
- 2 pounds Red Raspberry
- 1 pound Oatstraw cut
This will produce 6 pounds, leaving you with plenty of herbs for your breastfeeding year.
The following is the very best price I have found, but you have to order under my customer # and have it drop-shipped to you. Attached is the order form to use. Call in your order with a credit card. They do not take American Express. It would cost over $100.00 to order locally in the health food stores – so enjoy your discount!
Mountain Rose Herbs
acct. Carol Gautschi Midwifery
Customer # C171366 (you must use this number)
$37.90 on 02.01.2008 (prices subject to change.)
There are hundreds of companies selling dried and tinctured herbs, herbal oils and salves; it can be difficult to know where to begin. Blessed Herbs is an excellent first exposure. Family owned and operated, Blessed is open to the public, prides itself in quality and reliability and has a moderately wide choice of products. They have been blending the one pound Herbal Pregnancy Blend for years. Should you wish to order the ready-made blend from a company that can provide additional items in the same order, you may wish to contact them for a catalog. Blessed is notorious for delays and has not sent me a catalog for some time, so I cannot tell you the current price. In ’95 it was $16. Per pound blended, plus shipping. Contact them at: 1-800 489-4372