As promised in “Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness“, here is my recipe for pregnancy tea. My midwives always advised I drink a quart a day of this special blend instead of taking prenatal vitamins, as our bodies absorb the nutrients from herbal teas more readily than from vitamins; however, I did both. My favorite Rainbow Light prenatal vitamins included many of the same herbs as my pregnancy tea recipe. Of course, there are commercially available organic pregnancy tea blends, but I preferred harvesting and buying bulk herbs to make my own prenatal tea. This tea should also be drunk by breastfeeding moms.
Pregnancy Herbal Tea Recipe:
To make this tea, add about 1 teaspoon of each herb, except the yellow dock, to a glass quart jar. Use just a pinch of yellow dock, as it has a strong flavor and should be used in moderation. Add boiling water to the herbs, and let the tea steep for at least four hours for maximum absorption of vitamins and minerals. This tea tastes good at any temperature, and a quart should be drunk every day by pregnant women and nursing mothers.
- Raspberry leaf: This herb has been called “The pregnant woman’s best herbal friend” by Jeannine Parvati, author of Hygieia: A Woman’s Herbal. The foliage has long been used by native people and midwives, as it relieves morning sickness and eases birth. This herb can also aid infertile couples.
- Yellow Dock: This herb is a mild tonic and laxative. Some sources say this herb should not be used in pregnancy, as it could cause mild diarrhea if taken in excess. Yellow dock is included in pregnancy tea, because it is an assimilated source of iron that is more effective than supplements. This plant is weed common to most of the United States. According to Mother Nature:
The fear of anemia leads most doctors to prescribe iron supplements to pregnant women. However, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (a nongovernment panel sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service, a federal agency), “There is currently little evidence to suggest that routine iron supplementation during pregnancy is beneficial.”
- Alfalfa: Alfalfa is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Especially important for pregnancy is chlorophyll, as it aids in relieving morning sickness and helps prevent anemia and hemmorhaging. It is often recommended by midwives instead of an iron supplement, as it helps people build red blood cells.
- Oat Straw: Oat straw is high in mineral content, such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It is useful for bone building and is a nerve tonic. It is also great for menstrual cramps.
- Red Clover: This is another herb that you may encounter as not recommended for pregnancy, as in rare instances, it causes spotting. My midwives suggested using it sparingly at first. Red clover, like alfalfa, contains chlorophyll and has been called by herbalists a “God given remedy”. Its alkaline qualities purify the blood. This herb is also useful for infertility.
- Nettles: This herb also contains a lot of iron, which helps prevent anemia that is common in pregnancy.
- Lemon Balm: This plant is also beneficial for relieving the symptoms of morning sickness, and it adds a wonderful flavor to the tea. It is also beneficial for eliminating melancholy moods and may help treat mild postpartum depression.
- Peppermint: This herb is very useful for alleviating the symptoms of heartburn common in pregnancy, and it gives the tea a soothing flavor. It is very useful for calming a queasy stomach and eliminating the nausea of morning sickness.
As always, consult your midwife or doctor about any changes you make to your diet while pregnant. Herbs can cause interactions with pharmaceutical drugs, and just because they are natural, does not mean they are safe for everyone. That being said, the use of herbs in pregnancy has a long, safe record in human history.
Image credit: davosmith at Flickr under a Creative Commons license