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Having Babies, Nursing Support, Remedies & Supplements

The Amazing “Pregnancy Tea”

October 30, 2013

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.

Hibiscus
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.

Red Clover
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.

Rosehips
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.

Spearmint
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!

Having Babies, Naturopathy, Nursing Support, Remedies & Supplements, The Knowledge Nook

The Bane of Thrush & Yeast Infections

October 26, 2013

Many mothers & babies struggle with yeast or thrush infections after birth.  It’s much more common now than even in the last decade, due in large part to the routine use of antibiotics at birth for the approximate 30% of pregnant women who test positive when cultured for Group Beta Strep.  While not usually a ‘serious’ problem, it can cause a very serious level of discomfort & pain for mothers/babies (as well as disrupting the infants digestion over the long term), even eroding a mama’s determination to breastfeed.  Prevention is a worthy goal, aided by passionately avoiding all antibiotics as much as possible, avoiding antibiotic soaps (which wipe out the good guys too) and including ‘live cultured food’ and restorative probiotics in one’s diet.  Here’s some more information if you find yourself wondering if you may have yeast/thrush….

Candida Albicana is commonly called yeast.  The problem arises when there is an overgrowth in the vagina (yeast infection), or when there is an overgrowth of yeast on the nipples, in the baby’s mouth or diaper area (all of which are called ‘thrush’). The body strives to maintain a delicate balance of appropriate “good” bacteria to help counter the overgrowth of the “bad”, thrush is a sign of imbalance.

Sometimes referred to as a fungus, yeast/thrush is an opportunist microbe, which reproduces rapidly & thrives in moist dark places.  And as you might guess, it’s highly contagious, and requires scrupulous hygiene to limit its spread.

You’re at greater risk for thrush if you:

  1. Have a history of yeast infections
  2. Have had antibiotics (yes, ever)
  3. Had an IV in the hospital which may have included antibiotics (I.e. Surgery)
  4. Wear wet nursing pads
  5. Take medications

Women are more at risk for thrush during times of illness, stress and times of hormonal changes such as during menstruation or pregnancy.

What to watch for – things that MAY indicate thrush in Mom: 

  1. Onset of intense nipple pain after a period of comfortable nursing
  2. Itchy or burning nipples, which MAY appear pink, red or shiny
  3. Cracked nipples that will not heal

What to watch for – things that MAY indicate thrush in Baby:

  1. White patches in the baby’s mouth that don’t wipe off, or if they do they are red or bleed underneath
  2. Diaper rash
  3. Baby’s mouth is sore, as possibly indicated by pulling off the breast or a clicking sound during nursing
  4. Gassiness or fussiness

It is possible for both mother and baby to have no visible symptoms.

Simple Solutions:

  1. Expose nipples to light and air.
  2. Change pH by rinsing nipples with a 20% vinegar solution (after nursing is a good time to apply it, as although it’s not harmful the baby would not like the taste.)
  3. Kill yeast by washing ALL items that come in contact with the yeast (breasts, milk, infant clothes and spit-up rags) in water over 122 degrees F  (‘hot wash’ generally does it) or hang wash to dry in the sun.  Set nursing pillow in sun for 20 minutes; UV light is your friend, not yeast’s.
  4. Reduce or eliminate consumption of sugar, coffee, black tea and dairy products.  Some also would increase consumption of ‘live cultured foods’, which include yogurt (organic brands, NOT sugary dessert versions), miso broth, real sauerkraut, feta cheese, raw cider etc.
  5. Increase use of coconut oil in diet, which has antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties due to it’s lauric & caprylic acid.   Studies have found it kills off excess yeast & fungal overgrowths in the body, and balances beneficial flora in the gut while targeting harmful bacteria.

Critical Care:

  1. Acidophilus/Probiotic Supplements – highest (and most effective) quality will normally be found in the refrigerated section, and often cost $25-$45/bottle.  Look also for infant specific strains to give the baby directly (sprinkled on your nipple before nursing or to suck off your finger).

“Work up to 3 capsules 3 times daily for at least 2 weeks AFTER symptoms are gone.”  (Hafner-Eaton, 1997).

Many mothers seem to need an extraordinary level, even as much as 12-14 caps/day for a couple of weeks, including at least 5 days longer than the symptoms, to overcome thrush.  The more persistent the case, the longer passed the symptoms one might take the probiotics (reduced level) as a preventative against ‘relapse.’
(Beth Barbeau, Indigo Forest Owner/Midwife)

  1. Liddell’s ‘Candida Yeast’ Homeopathic liquid tincture, take according to directions.
  2. Homeopathic pellets – Borax 12c or 30x, take according to directions.
  3. Motherlove Thrush and Diaper Cream.   This can be safely used on both mom (nipples) & baby (bottom rash).   Use a fresh, clean finger each time, so as not to contaminate the bottle.  Don’t use lanolin-based creams if they are not thrush specific – they can make it worse.
  4. Fresh Breast pads – cotton (wash hot), disposable (change frequently), or soft natural wool (helps heal cracked nipples and can be put in the sun for 20 minutes of UV to kill any lingering yeast.)
  5. Essential oils – specific to your symptoms, often includes oregano oil.

Support for the tough times:

Ann Arbor’s original “Nursing Café” most Wednesday afternoons, 2-3pm, @ Indigo Forest, no charge.

La Leche League, free weekly support groups in many areas.  Breastfeeding help & meeting locations are available 24 hours/day at 1-877-LALECHE (452-5324).

THIS CONVERSATION IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE!

LISTEN TO YOUR COMMON SENSE ABOVE ALL, & CONSULT A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL IF NEEDED!

Remedies & Supplements

Indigo’s New Health Club!

April 29, 2011

Join the Indigo Forest

Health Club!

Practical 1-hour *Saturday classes

*10:00-11:00 am: Class,

11:00-11:30 am: Q & A.

Wish you felt more confident using natural remedies?  Are you eager to try natural health solutions, but feel unsure about the next step?

We are offering a new series of classes to celebrate Indigo’s 4th year of empowering healthy families!  In a handy, information-packed hour, we’ll take your knowledge & confidence to the next level!

Beth & Juliana will help you build your naturopathic foundation,

suitable for beginners and intermediate level students alike.

If you’ve ever been that customer that always wanted to know more,

or wants to use the remedies you have with more assurance,

these mornings are for you!

Saturday May 14

Natural First Aid & Your Car Travel Kit: Everyday Basics (Emotional upsets, bumps & bruises, cuts, & punctures)

Saturday May 28

Natural First Aid & Your Car Travel Kit: Seasonal (Sunburn, bites, stings, heat exhaustion, hypothermia, food poisoning)

*Thursday June 2nd, 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Fevers in the Family: Prevention, Understanding & Management.  (Afternoon series is Young family oriented, bring your babies, your floor blankets and your sense of humor!)

Saturday June 11

Essential Oils – Top 10 oils, uses & applications

Saturday June 25

Cell Salts: A Part of Homeopathy Mineral combinations that are some of the most versatile in your medicine chest!

Saturday July 16

Healthy Homes – Lessening the toxic burden – startling information on indoor air quality, antibacterial soap, and mulitpurpose products (good for both home AND body!) 

$10 per person when preregistered prior to Friday 6 pm.

(734) 994.8010,

$15 drop-in’s welcome.

10% topic products same day for class students!

Remedies & Supplements

Naturally Supporting the Immune System: Class TBA in January!

November 15, 2010
friendly germ mask

Whether you chose to vaccinate or not, are you among the many parents who wonder how to naturally support their children’s immune systems?  We get many questions at the store about what to use for this or that – and this is THE CLASS to help parents get comfortable and understand some of their natural resources when a child gets ill!   Surveying natural therapies such as essential oils, herbs, homeopathics, and minerals, you’ll gain a good introduction to the numerous natural modalities that you can use to support your children both for prevention and also in acute situations, including many communicable childhood illnesses.   This class is a great stand alone for those wanting to incorporate a greater range of holistic modalities for prevention and treatment, or as a follow-up to our “Vaccines #1:  Informed Choice.”

Teaching is Nicole Paquin, Certified Traditional Naturopath and Instructor at the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education in Mt. Pleasant.  “Vaccine #2:  Supporting the Immune System Naturally” is held at Indigo Forest, Tuesday TBA, January 2011, at 6:30 – 8:00 pm.  $30/person or $50/two people.  Space is limited, please call Indigo Forest to register 734.994.8010.

Healthy Living, Naturopathy, Remedies & Supplements

What Are Your Plans For The Flu Season?

July 7, 2010

Wouldn’t it be comforting to be proactive this year? As the “Back-to-school” germs make the rounds, our attention turns to the cold and flu season.   When the over-the-counter cold & fever remedies for kids under 6 were pulled from the shelves many parents panicked – how do you ease sick symptoms or even better, help your kids stay well in the first place? 

Natural remedies can offer tremendous support for strong immune response, respiratory protection,  and sailing through illnesses smoothly with quicker recoveries when they do come. Many parents rely on such products as Buried Treasure Raspberry Vitamin D liquid, Green Pasture Cod Liver Oil, Living Streams Probiotics, Nature’s Sunshine VSC, Vitamin C, Elderberry Syrup, Raspberry & Nettle ‘Family Health Tea’, raw honey, NSP’s ‘Sunshine Heroes’ Kids’ lines for Anti-oxidants, Calcium/Mag, & Muli-Vitamins.    Maximize results with medicinal grade essential oils such as Thieves (on the soles of feet), Melrose (under ears on neck lymph), Ravensara (on chest) , or Purification (in midst on surfaces).  Homeopathy can offer precise response to individual symptoms.

Here’s what Indigo Forest’s long-time customers have said,

“It’s such a relief to break the cycle of endless winter ear infections – I LOVE that VSC!”    S.

“My whole family have fallen in love with the ‘Family Health Tea,’ we’ve not been sick once this winter!”  D.

“I’m here to stock up – Last year was our healthiest year ever with your products.”  Sarah

“I just went to the pediatrician, and they didn’t have any ideas, so I came straight here.  You’ve always been so helpful!”   F.

“You have products that we can’t find anywhere else.”  Mary


“There’s two things that I love.  I love that there is a place that I come to get practical, healthy, non-toxic products that are safe to use on my kids.  And I love that there’s a place that I can access preventative medicine and don’t have to resort to dangerous products.

I love what you sell, because it’s all natural and does a great job.  With a lot of traditional (over-the-counter/Rx) medicines,  it’s not even an option to use them on children to treat symptoms of colds, fevers, or flu – they’re unsuitable.  We’re left with really poor alternatives if we don’t have access to the sorts of stuff Indigo Forest has.

It provides me with a lot of comfort that I can actually offer them something that helps them feel better. These natural products make them much more comfortable and give them some relief – they actually improve their condition, they don’t just mask the condition.”    Michele, Veterinarian