Herbal medicine has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. In the pre-internet world my mother always did her best to learn as much as she could and raise us in the most natural environment she could provide. In my adult life I have always made my own tisanes, infusions, and tinctures and I have both shared them with friends and family and sold some of my tinctures and much of my own self-care products made with my herbal infused oils. I truly can’t imagine my life without herbs.
During pregnancy I make and drink a 24 hour herbal infusion of nettles, red raspberry leaf, and alfalfa and I recommend this blend to all of my friends and family who are pregnant. I also suggest red clover to be added to this trifecta when my loved ones are trying to conceive. I also made tinctures of each that I use not only on days when I can’t make the infusions but also periodically because there are constituents in the herbs that are gifted to us when we make tinctures that we can not get from the infusions-we will talk more about that another time.
I use alfalfa for the blood support it provides especially in pregnancy as our blood volume increases by about half! I also tend toward anemia so alfalfa (along with nettles of course) is such an important ally for me as it provides me with so much iron, many vitamins prominently including vitamin K, magnesium (no Charlie Horse cramps in the night for me!), and so much more. Vitamin K is such a hot topic in pregnancy as it is one of the injections that hospitals insist upon for newborns within the first hours after birth because babies do not clot until about day eight of life. The medical community sees this as a deficiency but just as we trust birth we must learn to trust that the human body isn’t inherently broken but rather that there are still so many mechanisms that we do not yet fully understand and we need to trust the symphony that is the human body. By being sure I have high enough vitamin K levels in pregnancy I am giving the same gift to my baby.
Nettles are a nutritional powerhouse! There is not time in life for any person where nettles don’t belong. Nettles infusions give a body an incredible amount of energy supporting the adrenals. Like alfalfa this infusion is a rich source of vitamin K along with other vitamins, minerals including an unbelievable amount of calcium, and it is a good source of protein. It supports every body system and is such a dear ally. When I do not have my nettles I absolutely miss it!
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red Raspberry Leaf is a gentle uterine tonic that helps keep the uterus strong at all times in the child-bearing years helping make far more comfortable mensural periods and making the uterus strong preparing for birth. Before I began using red raspberry leaf infusions I had excruciating menstrual periods! I missed school and work and at times even wished for death! The few times I have had cycles in the past 14 years of pregnancy and breast feeding I have had the kind of cycles I have always wished I had! They are shorter and fairly comfortable. Red raspberry leaf will always be one of my dearest allies. Often Red Raspberry Leaf is mistaken as a natural way to induce labor but rest assured it is not. During pregnancy, especially toward the end when I tend to experience very strong Braxton-Hicks contractions for the last month to 6 weeks, if I find that the toning contractions are uncomfortable I just use a bit less Red Raspberry Leaf in my infusions and either slow down or stop drinking my infusion that day.
If you don’t already have these herbs on hand always try your local herbalist or health food store first. If you can not source locally there is no better respected and trusted name in herbs than Rosemary Gladstar’s Mountain Rose Herbs
Remember that these herbs are nutritious and healthy for people of all stages of life so be sure to make enough to share! My favorite way to drink this infusion is cool or cold with a nut milk as a latte but please experiment with it to find your favorite way. Of course depending upon the circumstances in my life there are other herbal allies that I may rely on in different ways.
1 ounce of each dry herb
64 ounce ball jar (if using 3-4 herbs)
Cover with boiling water
Cover in a dark spot and let steep for 24 hours or at least overnight
Drink as desired throughout the day-there will be enough to share with little ones who will also benefit from this intensely nutritional infusion
To Your Health,