All posts filed under: The Childbearing Year

A Doula’s Top 3 Tips For a Healthy Pregnancy

I’m putting on my birth doula hat today to share my favorite ways to stay healthy (and sane) during pregnancy. It was incredibly surprising to me that even though I LOVE herbs and have made so many pregnancy-related teas and formulas over the years, I wasn’t really into taking herbs when I myself was pregnant. I felt that creating a healthy foundation was more important, so that I wasn’t in need of taking herbs for medicine. I certainly enjoyed lots of beverage teas, though, to stay hydrated and for the pure fun of it!

Mothering Tincture Blend with Peony, Motherwort and Rose

  Motherhood isn’t always easy. Sometimes you need a little boost, a bit of support. Of course the help of family and friends is important, as is a supportive community. But for the day-to-day challenges and triumphs, I call on the plants to help me out. It’s easy even for a postpartum-brained lady like myself to formulate a mothering tincture…because the star herb has Mother in its name, Motherwort! I wrote about lovely motherwort in 2008 in this post, if you want to learn more about it’s medicinal side. Actually, there are two stars in this formula; the other being peony. I find that peony is an intensely womb-connected plant and quite motherly itself. Rose elixir, chamomile and a bit of licorice finish out the comforting, nurturing blend. Yum!

Motherwort – Leonurus cardiaca

Do you see the motherwort in this picture? Hint: its vertical. Mmmm…Motherwort! I have been craving the bitter herb for a steady week running – and as a tea! Who in their right mind drinks motherwort infusion? Someone who needs it, or who likes the bitter zing. Have you ever eaten a motherwort flower? Try it, I dare you. I have been drinking motherwort infusion to calm my critical and exacting PMS self to a down to a low roar; its working quite well. It is also nourishing, stockpiling nutrients that will soon be shed; for this purpose I add a bit of nettle or oat straw. At this time in my cycle I tend to see things very clearly, which can either enrich my life with wise insight or keep me up at night ruminating. Motherwort, along with hops, eases my mind. In the middle of winter, I dream of a sunny day and a garden full of motherwort. There is something very awakening and attracting about the upright member of the mint family. …

Blessed Thistle: Cnicus benedictus

Annual native to southern Europe, growing wild in stony, uncultivated areas with lots of warm sun. Cultivated throughout Europe as a beautiful plant to add texture to gardens as well as for its medicinal uses. Grieve’s historical research led her to say that “it is said to have obtained its name from its high reputation as a heal-all, being supposed even to cure the plague”. The plant was recorded as medicine definitely by the late 1500’s (probably earlier), and even Shakespeare wrote in Much Ado about Nothing, says: “Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm…. I mean plain Holy Thistle” (Grieve, A Modern Herbal). I first met blessed thistle in an English style hedged garden at Perennial Pleasures, in East Hardwick, Vermont (perennialpleasures.net). I was immediately struck by the coexisting softness and sharpness evident in this plant. It’s almost feathery yet sharp, radial flower center are surrounded by the long downy leaves capped in irregular teeth, the whole plant seemed …