H - Herbs for Healing
In our modern society, it is the expectation for a new mother to bounce back almost immediately and get back to “normal”. In the U.S., for example, most women only take a 6 week leave from work, if they’re even fortunate enough to take that. Often times, due to the lack of the village, the new mother is left at home to fend for herself while her partner goes back to work a day or two after the birth.
Ladies, we need to take whatever length of time we need to heal. Period.
The idea that a woman should be back to normal and feeling great “down there” at six weeks postpartum is simply not true for all women. There are a number of ways to heal, including some natural, herbal remedies.
Although I definitely advocate for pelvic floor therapy, counseling, and chiropractic care, to name a few, there are a few things that can be done daily, at home, to aid in healing.
Let’s take a look at some healing herbs and homeopathic remedies.
A plant commonly referred to as “Indian Winter cherry” or “Indian Ginseng”.
Taken in the form of tincture, capsule, or tea, this shrub is great for mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. The herb combats stress by reducing serum cortisol levels as seen in this randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study. A dose of 500-600mg is suggested to reduce anxiety, but discuss with your healthcare provider what is best for you.
Comfrey is a flowering plant native to Europe used for muscle and joint pain.
This is great in healing sitz baths due to its anti-inflammatory properties. According to herbalist Susun Weed, this herb promotes the strength, flexibility, and function of the vagina.
As a uterine stimulant, yarrow increases circulation to the uterus and alleviates cramping thus making it an excellent addition to a sitz bath. Do not use in pregnancy though.
Motherwort is excellent for overwhelm and feelings of being stressed out. It tones the uterus while also helping with exhaustion and irritability. Need I say more?!
I’ve never really thought about this as an herb but it is most definitely helpful in postpartum. Not only is it a galactagogue (aids in milk production), oats are full of zinc, magnesium, folate, and iron, all nutrients a postpartum mother needs.
Arnica homeopathic remedy is best known for alleviating bruise pain. It also helps stop postpartum bleeding. Take 1 to 2 pellets of Arnica 30C every 2 to 3 hours for the first day, and then take a dose 2 or 3 times a day for the next 2 or 3 days as needed.
This remedy is a lifesaver. Commonly used for mastitis, it helps painful, inflamed breasts. So, breastfeeding mommas, be sure to have this on hand.
These are only a few and there are plenty more. I suggest the following books for more information:
Aromatherapy and Herbal Remedies for Pregnancy, Birth, and Breastfeeding by Demetria Clark
The Homeopathic Childbirth Manual: A Practical Guide for Labor, Birth, and the Immediate Postpartum Period by Betty Idarius
Allesanda received her Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in December 2013. She now lives in North Texas with her husband and children. As a doula and educator of infant sleep and eco-friendly living, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, holistic health, and parenting.