These recipes came from an article over at www.midwiferytoday.com and were written by Demetria Clark, the director of Heart of Herbs Herbal School in Vermont.
Moms will need extra nutrition after birth. Some practitioners recommend EsterC or other electrolyte drinks to help replace those nutrients lost in birth; however, most of those drinks contain processed, GMO components that aren’t the best option for mom. This tea changes that by offering a well-rounded nutrient replacement drink that has all natural ingredients.
Mama Tea and Infusion
- 2 parts chamomile flower
- 2 parts hibiscus flower
- 1 part rose petal
- 1/8 part lavender flower
- 1/4 part rose hips
- 3 parts lemon balm
This recipe makes a gallon. It is rich in nervines, vitamins and minerals. Mom can drink on her tea throughout the day, either hot or cold.
- For a delayed placenta you can use Angelica Root Extract. Place a drop under the tongue and drink with a big gulp of water.
- Hot basil leaf infusion can bring positive results. Drink by the cupful.
- Make a feverfew flower infusion when labor begins by adding four teaspoons of the herb to a quart jar, fill with boiling water, and cap. Allow the infusion to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes and then refrigerate. This keeps the infusion fresh in case of a longer birth.
All hemorrhage mixtures should be made ahead of time.
- 1 part yarrow flower extract
- 1 part shepherd’s purse seed, leaf, or flower extract
*Drink 1/2 teaspoon in warm water every half hour.
Make an infusion using equal parts raspberry leaf and nettle. This can be drunk as a beverage.
Make an extract using this blend
- 1 part shepherd’s purse seed, flower, or leaf
- 1/4 part blue cohosh root
- 1 part motherwort leaf
- 1 part witch hazel leaf or bark
*Give mother two dropfuls orally. You can follow with juice. Repeat in one minute, if needed, then again in ten minutes.
- 1 part motherwort flower and leaf extract
- 1 part witch hazel leaf or bark extract
- 2 parts shepherd’s purse flower, seed, and leaf extract
- 1 part bayberry bark or root extract
*Use 2 dropperfuls as above and repeat if needed in ten minutes.
If a woman is hemorrhaging, please follower proper protocols and seek appropriate medical attention. Transport if the herbs are having no effect.
Afterpains are caused by the contraction of the uterus. They are generally worse after the second child.
- Alleviate pain by having mother relax and nurse regularly, and try the following herbal extracts or combine them in an extract blend: cottonwood bark, black haw and cramp bark. This can be prepared as a tincture and given in doses of 20 drops two to three times a day.
Apply the following after birth pain relief extract
- 2 parts motherwort
- 1 part lavender flowers
- 1 part chamomile
- 1 part cramp bark
- 1 park lemon balm
Use 20-30 drops two to three times a day.
Make a tea from strawberry leaf. Drink a cup before bed.
Witch hazel serves as a base for many remedies for varicose veins, vaginal area varicosities, and hemorrhoids.
- 1 cup 80 proof alcohol
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup witch hazel leaves
Cover the leaves with the alcohol and water. You can add more leaves if you want. After 4 weeks strain and bottle. Add five to ten drops cypress oil, if desired. Apply to affected area with a cool cloth.
- Apply the following herbal teas, once cooled, to the area: St. John’s wort, witch hazel, plantain leaf, sage, parsley, shepherd’s-purse.
- Extracts or tinctures of these plants can also be used as a compress.
- Create afterwipes by applying witch hazel extract to soft tissue or cloth and using it to wipe affected area if traditional wiping is uncomfortable. These can also be used for tears and swelling. Cotton pads from the drug store placed in a small plastic food container and covered with witch hazel extract make wonderful healing wipes for mom. Cotton flannel cloths are suggested.
- Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to the toilet before mom goes to the bathroom. Relaxation and deep breathing also helps.
- Encourage the mother to use a vaginal steam. Find an old chamber pot chair or cut a hole in the seat of a thrift store chair and cut the legs down to a foot and a half. Then when the mother feels she needs to go but is unable, place a bowl of hot water with steeping lavender flower, peppermint leaf, and comfrey leaf under the chair. Wrap the mother in blankets and have her sit over the steam. (Don’t fill the bowl completely in case mother accidentally urinates in the bowl. This maybe happen when she feels soothed and her body relaxes.) Make sure the steam is not too hot or too close so she will not get burned. Women can also use the steam for yeast infections, vaginal infections, and so on.
For Tears and Episiotomies
I suggest allowing a small tear vs. a large cut. The body can repair itself much more easily.
- A perineum wash can be made with a diluted infusion of lavender flower. To a cup of warm water add 1/4 cup of lavender infusion. Add a drop of tea tree or patchouli oil to a liter of water or the lavender infusion. Rinse the vulva after urinating. This is used to sooth swollen and sore vaginal tissues after birth.
- Apply ice immediate after the repair to decrease swelling.
- Apply aloe vera gel (best if extracted straight from the plant)
- Encourage the mother to get plenty of fresh air. Exposure to sunlight speeds healing. This is at times an unrealistic recommendation. I just encourage mom to get fresh air, as exposing the bottom to the air is not always easy or appropriate for your neighborhood!
- Have mother decrease activity; severe tears heal faster with bed rest.
- Increase mother’s internal dosage of vitamin E to 600 mg/day.
- Use comfrey leaf for compresses and sitz bath. The mother can also drink it to promote healing.
- Calendula flower, comfrey leaf, St. John’s wort flower, and plantain leaf are all used as ointments or in sitz baths.
- Recommend sitz baths with infusion of vulnerary herbs.
To 3 cups of simmering water add:
- 2 tablespoons comfrey leaves
- 2 tablespoons St. John’s wort flower
- 4 tablespoons calendula flower
Turn off the heat. Allow it to steep for 20 minutes. Pour into shallow bath. Add four drops lavender essential oil and two drops cypress essential oil. Mix well to disperse essential oil.
Postpartum Sitz Bath
- 2 parts plantain flower
- 1 part Calendula flower
- 1 part comfrey leaf
- 1 part burdock
- 1/2 part violet flower and leaf
- 1 part yarrow flower
- 1/2 part lady’s mantle flower and leaf
- 1/2 part lemon balm leaf
Mix well. You can add sea salt to the mixture if you wish. Add approximately one cup of herb and salt blend to six quarts boiling water, strain and add to shallow bath. You can also use as a compress.
Or try the following blend:
- 1 part uva ursi leaf
- 1 part shepherd’s-purse leaf, seed
- 1/2 part myrrh gum powder
- 1/2 part garlic (1-2 whole cloves)
- 1/2 part comprey root
- 1/2 part sea salt
Prepare in the same manner as Postpartum Sitz Bath above.
Another popular sitz bath blend contains:
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1/2 cup plantain leaf
- 1/2 cup Calendula flower
- 6 cups of water
Oak bark, rosemary leaf, witch hazel leaf or bark, and yarrow flower are great for healing sitz baths. If the mother is stitched, limit the bath to once a day. Other great herbs and herbal sitz baths for the perineum are Calendula flower, St. John’s wort, and essential oil of cypress or lavender.
Handling postpartum issues naturally gives the mother more control and is generally less invasive than going to the doctor. Make sure the mother knows when to seek additional medical care.
These basic herbal formulation instructions will assist you with the formulas in this article.
Infusion: Pour boiling water over the plant matter and allow it to steep between 20 minutes and overnight for a medicinal infusion. It is important that they are medicinally potent since they are used for so many tonic and medicinal uses.
Infusions are made from the more fragile parts of the plant. There are few exceptions to this. Valerian, for example, is a root prepared as an infusion because of its high volatile oil content.
Decoctions: This method is used to get the healing constituents from more tenacious plant material such as bark, roots, or nuts. Allow the plant matter to simmer gently in water for 20 minutes. A decoction is also the preferred method of preparation for pre-blended roots and leaves. Allow the decoction to steep for 30 minutes to an hour after it has been removed from heat.
Amount of herb used for decoction or infusion: 1 tablespoon dried herb or 2 tablespoon fresh herb per cup of water. Teas and be made by the quart and refrigerated for convenient consumption.
Extracts: Extracts are easy to make and a convenient way to take herbs. Place as much of the herb as you want into a glass jar. Then add beverage alcohol, such as vodka or brandy, to a depth of three fingers higher than the herbal matter if dried herbs are used or two fingers higher if fresh herbs are used. Close the jar and allow it to sit in the sunlight for a few days to soak in the healing power of the sun and then put it away until done. If it is macerating during a full moon, put it outside to gather the moon’s energy as well. Many people allow extracts to sit for only a few weeks to a month. I allow mine to sit for over 4 months in order for them to become as potent as possible. Always store your extracts in glass in a dark, dry spot.
When finished, pour the extract through a cloth. Squeeze the remaining herbs thoroughly to remove as much fluid from them as possible. Extracts can be made of single herbs or herbal amalgamations, depending on your needs. Some run the extracted herbs though a juicer and strain them. Extracts can be taken straight or in juice.
Appropriate strength of alcohol for extracts:
- 35-40% (70-80 proof) alcohol for flowers and leaves
- 40-60% for barks, roots, and seeds
- 90% for Kava root. (Kava is best fat extracted because it is fat soluble. Fat extraction uses an oil like coconut.)
Eighty-proof alcohol has an alcohol content of 40%. These percentages are just baselines. You may find some herbs work better for you with different percentages.
This is the traditional method of making extracts, called the “simplers” method. Some herbs are best made into teas rather than extracts.
Tinctures: A tincture is a diluted extract, traditionally. The tincture is diluted with water and is one-fifth as strong as the original extract. Unfortunately, the terms “extract” and “tincture” are often confused. An extract is the mother of a tincture and five times stronger. (Placenta tinctures are in fact extracts.)