During my last pregnancy, I was not “crunchy” at all. I was on the SAD (Standard American Diet) and was taking prenatal vitamins that contained artificial and GMO ingredients.
I had to forgive myself because I simply didn’t know better.
Not this time, as a crunchy pregnant mama, this time around I am doing things differently.
If there is one thing I have learned since embarking in this journey (both natural living and a second pregnancy) is that pregnancy is a natural state, and not a condition, and that food heals and nurtures.
That includes herbs. Herbs are food, too. But if you ask your OB about drinking a herbal tea during pregnancy he’ll tell you that for starters it hasn’t been FDA approved (*huge eye roll*) and that herbs can be dangerous.
They can be. But guess what? Herbs have been used as food and medicine effectively longer than prenatal vitamins, or any other modern medicine has been on the market.
I rest my case.
Using Herbs Safely
There are certain safety rules and precautions one must follow when using herbs. After all, some herbs can kill. Here are some of my suggestions when using herbs:
- Make sure the herbs are organic or at the very least come from a reputable source
- If possible go through a Certified Herbalist (this herbal pregnancy recipe was okayed by one).
- Do your own research! I can’t stress this one enough. I suggest books like Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal, or any other book by Gladstar actually.
- For a quick guide read my interview with Sarah Outlaw, a Certified Health Coach, Herbalist, and soon-to-be Certified Nutritional Therapist.
Herbal Pregnancy Tea
The herbs used in this herbal pregnancy tea recipe have been known for their toning and nurturing properties. Let’s look at the individually.
Urtica dioica, also known as stinging nettle. This herb is gaining popularity finding a place at the table much like kale or spinach. It is rich in cholophyll, iodine, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sodium, proteins, iron, copper, histamine, vitamin A, and it facilitates vitamin D absorption from the sun. This herb supports the urinary tract and kidney functions, helps eliminate edema, a common complaint of pregnancy. It also supports the adrenals, immune function, strengthens the nervous system helping with headaches, reduces postpartum hemorrhage, prevents tearing of the vaginal tissue, and promotes milk production. Don’t you want to run to get some nettle now!? (Read more about harvesting and cooking with nettle!)
Red Raspberry Leaf
Rubus idaeus, also known as just raspberry leaf. It is the leaf from the raspberry plant. Probably the most well know pregnancy herb. Raspberry leaves are rich in fructose, pectin, malic acid, silicon, carotene, magnesium, manganese, selenium, flavanoids, vitamins C and B2, and it also improves vitamin D absorption. This herb is a well-known muscle toner that works particularly well for the smooth muscles, like the uterus. It soothes spasms and helps the contraction ability of the uterus during labour. It has a good relationship with the pituitary gland and its functions. It also promotes healthy nails, bones, and skin. Bring on the raspberry leaves, baby!
Medicago sativa, also known as holy hay. This herb is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, chlorophyll, biotin, choline, iron, sodium, sulfur, trytophan, vitamins B, C, and K. This is herb is said to promote pituitary gland health, it helps assimilate nutrients due to the eight enzymes present, helping with many GI issues including colon and bowels. Due to its tryptophan content, it is a sleep aid. Zzzzzz I know I could use better sleep!
Avena sativa, also known as common oats. This is the plant that’s left after harvesting the grains. It is rich in silicic acid, calcium, high in vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, musin, and proteins. Oatsraw works on the endocrine system, improves muscle tone, reduces cramps (another big complaint during pregnancy) improves digestion and elimination–ahem, things tend to slow down during pregnancy.
Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Jamaican tea flower. This herb has a special place in my heart. Growing up in Latin America this was (and still is) a ubiquitous flower and drinking ice tea from its flower is something I remember fondly. Besides bringing up my childhood memories this flower is high in citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid, and alkaloids. Hibiscus has been used to maintain cholesterol health as well as blood pressure. Plus, it gives this tea a light fruity tart flavour!
Herbal Pregnancy Tea
- 1 Oz nettle leaf
- 1 Oz red raspberry leaf
- 1 Oz. hibiscus flowers
- 0.5 Oz alfalfa leaf
- 0.5 oatsraw
Measure each of the herbs and add to a glass or ceramic jar with a tight seal. Use 1 tbs per 8 0z of hot water, steep for a minimum of 5 minutes. You can take up to 2 cups per day, during the second trimester and up to a quart per day in the third trimester.
While this recipe was supervised by a certified herbalist, please consult with your health care provider. Here are other things to keep in mind
- If making large quantities please refrigerate it, as with any food, this infusion can start to ferment if left out in a warm environment
- Avoid if you are allergic to gluten, as a reaction may be caused by the oatstraw
- Avoid if you have extreme grass allergies, as a reaction may be caused by the alfalfa
- Red raspberry, if drank in large quantities may cause constipation
- While some believe this tea is safe at any point during pregnancy, I feel safer recommending it starting the in the second trimester
Here is to a healthy pregnancy!