When considering carrying life within the womb, it's important for a woman to nourish herself before, during, and after pregnancy to ensure optimal health of the child and herself. The foundation for a child's health is laid in the womb and early infancy. Preventative medicine begins in the womb. The eating habits and nutrition supplied to a child dictate their predisposition to disease in their adult life.
This post is in honor of Folic Acid Awareness Week. When it comes to herbs containing folic acid, and generally nutrient dense herbs, there were a few that came to mind. Below the top three are highlighted, as well as a couple bonus herbs you may incorporate into your lifestyle as well.
1) Red Clover
Plant part utilized: flower Meridians / Energies: heart, liver, lungs / cool, salty, sweet
Active compounds: Phenolic glycosides, flavonoids, coumarins, cyanogenic glycosides, isoflavones, salicylates, polysaccharides, vitamins A, B, C, F, P, magnesium, iron, calcium
Properties: alterative, antispasmodic, expectorant
In addition to its nutrients, red clover also plays an important role in the lymphatic system and skin, thus assisting in processing metabolic waste and reducing skin condition such as eczema and psoriasis. It also promotes breast health and reduces the chance of osteoporosis. Historically it's been used to treat whooping cough, sore throat, and bronchitis.
Plant part utilized: All aerial parts, roots, seeds Meridians / Energies: bladder, blood, lungs, kidneys / cool, dry, salty, sweet
Active compounds: alkaloids, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, histamine, linoleic, quercetin, serotonin, vitamin A, C, K, iron, calcium
Properties: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, hemostatic, nutritive, rubefacient, tonic
Avoid: if you have high blood pressure, are taking blood thinners, diuretics (or sensitive to diuretics), NSAIDS
A gentle tonic and astringent for the uterus, nettles provides nutrients for mama and baby and may help reducing bleeding after giving birth.
Plant part utilized: immature seeds, dried stems, dried mature seeds Meridians / Energies: lungs, nerves, skin, stomach, uterus / sweet, neutral, cooling, soothing
Active compounds: avenanthramides, avenacosides, flavonoids, proteins, saponins, calcium, magnesium, vitamins B1, B2, D, E, silicic acid
Properties: anti-depressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, nervine, nutritive, stimulant, trophorestorative to nervous system, vulnerary
Mentally, pregnancy and birth takes a toll, making women more prone to stress, anxiety, brain fog, and depression. The properties in oat straw help combat the mental strain that pregnancy and birth may bring. It boosts nitric oxide and increases blood flow, thus optimizing brain performance and sexual experience.
Plant part utilized: Leaf (fresh and dried), seeds, flowers Meridians / Energies: whole body / bitter, heating, pungent
Active compounds: protein, calcium, vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, E, D, K, copper, magnesium, zinc,
Properties: antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, hepatoprotective, hypotensive, cardiac tonic, urinary tract tonic, thyroid tonic, nutritive
Containing 18 of the 20 essential amino acids, the moringa leaf is a complete protein. In addition to the vitamins and minerals it contains, it assists with cellular and muscular repair, neurotransmitter productions, and improves the immune system.
Plant part utilized: leaf, root, seeds, all aerial parts Meridians / Energies: digestive system, skin / soothing
Active compounds: allantoin, rosmarinic acid, triterpene saponins, tannins, mucopolysaccharides
Properties: anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-exudative, mucilage, nutritive
A powerful anti-inflammatory plant, comfrey is used on inner and outer extremities to treat a wide variety of illness, to include joint, muscle, and bone ailments. Because of it's rich nutrient profile, comfrey may assist in bone building and maintaining healthy bones.
There are several ways to reap the benefits of these herbs and their components; however, for mama and baby, I'd suggest three ways: (1) tea, (2) infusion, and/or (3) topical application
There were several goodies in my hospital bag for the birthing process, one of them being a postpartum tea blend. The healing tea recipe above is general, so feel free to add herbs that may be necessary for your needs.
One of my favorite blends of all time, the nourish infusion is an excellent way to meet your biological needs with sufficient vitamin and mineral intake. This fusion may be incorporated into a homemade formula blend and it also may promote lactation!
Now of course, this list would be lengthy if it were to include all herbs beneficial for mama and baby; granted, that depends on health conditions during and after pregnancy. If you're interested, I may complete an all inclusive list to have on hand. Comment below what herbs you've tried and your favorite recipes!
(2019, January 19). Balancing Hormones, Easing PMS and More: Red Clover Tea Benefits You Can Count On. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/teas/red-clover-tea.aspx
Herbal Academy. (2014, April 9). Red Clover, Red Clover, Bring Healing On Over - Red Clover Tea.[Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://theherbalacademy.com/red-clover-tea/
Laban K. Rutto, Yixiang Xu, Elizabeth Ramirez, and Michael Brandt, “Mineral Properties and Dietary Value of Raw and Processed Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.),” International Journal of Food Science, vol. 2013, Article ID 857120, 9 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/857120.
Mei, N., Guo, L., Fu, P. P., Fuscoe, J. C., Luan, Y., & Chen, T. (2010). Metabolism, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity of comfrey. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part B, Critical reviews, 13(7-8), 509-26.
Moya, Nick. Moringa (Moringa oleifera). [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.herbrally.com/monographs/moringa
Otles, S., & Yalcin, B. (2012). Phenolic compounds analysis of root, stalk, and leaves of nettle. TheScientificWorldJournal, 2012, 564367.
Pacheco, Lara. Oats (Avena sativa). [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.herbrally.com/monographs/oats
Tomen, David. Oat Straw. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://nootropicsexpert.com/oat-straw/