What is the one thing a pregnant mama could do that would nourish her uterus, her baby, and her immune system all at the same time? Drink a red raspberry tea infusion throughout her pregnancy, and especially during her third trimester and after birth!
Historically, Basic Pregnancy Infusion (“Tea”) has been safely used by herbalists and midwives for nourishing all aspects of pregnancy, birth & postpartum. As an adaptogenic herb, red raspberry is a plant that exerts a normalizing influence on the body, neither over-stimulating nor inhibiting normal body function, but rather exerting a generalized tonifying effect. The basic recipe typically consists of 2 parts red raspberry leaf, 1 part nettle, and 1 alfalfa. For additional benefits, any of the other herbs detailed below can be added to the mix as desired. General ratios are 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the raspberry/nettle/alfalfa base & 1/2 – 1/4 cup combination of the following herbs. (Indigo Forest carries these organic herbs in both our store front & webstore.) Note that this is NOT an exact science; it’s ok to mix according to personal taste and preference (just the way you would vary ingredients in a stir fry) and enjoy!
An infusion is made by seeping chosen herbs in nearly or just boiled water for at least 4 hours or even overnight. There are several benefits to using loose herbs instead of tea bags, namely fresher herbs (teabags tend to be filled with smaller herb pieces that age faster) and no contamination from the bag material (dust, mildew from sitting in open pallets etc), so therefore a more flavorful & benefit-packed brew.
Brewing Directions: In general, 1-cup total of loose herb will make a half-gallon of nutritive tea (herbal infusion). Simply place herbs in a 2-quart glass jar and fill to the top with almost boiling water. Cap jar and let the infusion steep for at least four hours, or even better, overnight. Strain & squeeze out the herbs to extract the deep minerals. For an additional nutritional boost, sweetened with raw honey or real maple syrup, and then refrigerate. Herbal infusion typically lasts at least three to four days, reheat gently on the stove if warm is desired (no microwaves), or drink as an “ice tea”.
LABOR FUEL VARIATION = Red Raspberry Leaf Ice Cubes. 2 cups of Red Raspberry leaf to a half gallon of water. Simmer for 30 minutes, strain. Add generous amounts of raw honey; freeze in ice cube trays. Store in zippy bags, and use them during the birth for effective contractions and great energy! This midwife-designed recipe is routinely credited with supporting effective contractions in weary labors (remember the ADAPTOGENIC nature?), so that the use of Pitocin may avoided.
Here’s a good variety of herbs from which to choose, they may change throughout your childbearing year as you respond to your body’s needs:
Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)
Mild nutritive herb used to promote general well-being & immune support, rich in vitamins A, C, & B complex, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, and iron. High in the mineral manganese, this mineral encourages healthy bonding, (especially nice for expectant mothers). Used during pregnancy to support proper nutrition, and a timely & effective labor. This commonly-used species of raspberry is used to help stabilize pregnancy, prevent miscarriage, ease morning sickness and prevent hemorrhage. Red raspberry leaf helps ease cold & fever symptoms, colic, diarrhea, & dysentery (lovely for infants). It’s known to cleanse the blood, which can help support healthy liver function.
Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
Rich in virtually every vitamin and mineral needed for growth and human health. High in Vitamins A, C, D, and K: minerals calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur. Helps raise oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood through its high absorbable iron content. Promote breast milk production in lactating females. Eases muscle spasms & legs cramps. Helps relieve seasonal allergies & hay fever, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, & reduce an enlarged prostate (BPH). Have anti-inflammatory properties, which are useful for treating arthritis & rheumatism.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Known as the “King of Herbs,” Alfalfa helps the body assimilate protein, calcium, and various other nutrients. It’s high in vitamins A, D, & K, and high in minerals iron, phosphorous & potassium. It’s the richest land source of trace minerals, also containing eight essential enzymes. Combine alfalfa and mint for a soothing digestive aid.
Burdock (Arctium lappa)
An excellent liver tonic, burdock root has been used traditionally in pregnancy teas (infusions) to prevent newborn jaundice and is a superior blood cleanser. Stimulating to the digestive and immune system, it also helps reduce cell mutation, and aids in the healing of skin blemishes such as acne, eczema, boils, and carbuncles.
Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis-Roman)
Reduces stress and anxiety, calming shattered nerves. Relieves indigestion & flatulence. Aids sleep. Helpful for colitis, diverticulitis, fevers, & headaches. Useful for reducing inflammation and easing menstrual cramps.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
This liver and blood cleanser alleviates edema, reduces uric acid levels, lowers blood pressure, helps treat jaundice, and relieve red and swollen eyes. Is used to treat urinary tract infections.
Hawthorn Berry (Crataegus oxycantha)
Regular use has been found to strengthen the heart muscle and in some cases restore normal cardiac function. An effective herb for reliving insomnia and nervousness. High in vitamins C & B complex, a moderate source of the minerals sodium, silica and phosphorus.
Adds a pleasant berry-lemon flavor and color to teas. High in chromium, manganese, and selenium. Used traditionally to help calm muscle spasms, and added to bulk laxative formulas as an antispasmodic.
Oatstraw (Avena Sativa)
High in the minerals magnesium and silica, both strong participants in the utilization of calcium. Silica is used in the proper growth and development of the hair, skin, and nails. Excellent herb for helping the body cope with stress & ease depression. Used for ovarian, uterine, and general glandular disorders.
High in the minerals chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, & potassium. Soothes nerves, acting as a mild sedative for nervous exhaustion. Historically used to treat whooping cough, rickets & spasmodic afflictions. Excellent for purification of the blood & inflammatory skin conditions.
Excellent source of vitamin C, and rich in the vitamins A, E, B complex and D. High in food-source sodium (very useful to the body, & very different from table or even sea salt). Used during cold & flu season to boost immune function. Anti-inflammatory properties make use ideal for arthritic conditions.
Shavegrass, also known as Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
High in silica: a mineral essential for the proper growth, and function of the hair, skin, nails, connective tissues, and nervous system. (Think skin integrity & moderating stretch marks!) Helps dissolve tumors, and is used to treat and prevent arthritis, good for glandular disorders.
Aids digestion, excellent for soothing an upset stomach, an effective remedy for colic. Blends well with most teas, and adds a pleasant flavor to the somewhat grassy-tasting Alfalfa tea.
A reminder: This traditional herbal information, garnered from naturopathic sources such as the reference “Herbs for the Childbearing Year” does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your favorite herbal expert or natural health professional with questions or concerns. And as always at Indigo Forest, we charge you with using your common sense and listening to your intuition as part of your health care approach!