We’ve talked about what prenatal nutrition needs to be, eating real foods for vitamins and minerals and today we’ll cover using herbs as prenatal vitamins!
Red Raspberry Leaf
First up is RRL = Red Raspberry Leaf! Typically taken as a tea, this herb is rich in nutrients such as iron, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins.
This herb is beneficial for women on many levels, not just pregnancy. Red Raspberry Leaf can aid in fertility. It also helps tone and strengthen the uterine wall.
RRL is also ideal for postpartum to help restore hormones and boost breastmilk. Even aid in the management of postpartum bleeding!
Note: because of the uterine toning benefits Red Raspberry Leaf provides, it can cause contraction-like sensations. If you have a history of miscarriage it is recommended to wait till 2nd or 3rd trimester to start drinking RRL and adjust the amount of leaves you use when brewing.
To use Red Raspberry Leaf, buy loose leaf. I use this one. Add a few tablespoons to a quart glass mason jar. (I just eyeball amount.) Bring pure water to a boil (do not use fluoridated water!) and then pour into the jar. Let steep overnight. In the morning strain with a nut milk bag and either reheat the tea or drink at room temperature. You can add a little raw honey if desired.
Note: I use my mason glass jar as a drinking glass and use this to drink from.
This herb isn’t as widely known, but it really needs to be!
Nettle Leaf, also known as Stinging Nettle Leaf, is rich in minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, potassium, calcium. The vitamins that Nettle Leaf contains include A, C, K and B. In the phytonutrient profile, you’ll find chlorophyll, quercetin, beta-carotene and lutein.
The healing properties of Nettle Leaf include but not limited to pain management, decreasing inflammation, help fight off a variety of infections, stabilize blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also helps milk production!
To use Nettle Leaf, make sure it’s high quality tea leaves. Again, I recommend this brand. Follow above brew directions for Red Raspberry Leaf. Consider mixing the two leaves together for a RRL+NL tea blend!
This herb is more widely known than the two above. Peppermint is not spearmint, same family but different plant.
The nutrient profile of peppermint contains manganese, copper and vitamin c.
Peppermint is helpful for colds and coughs, nausea, can help soothe oral inflammation, ease digestive discomfort and even boost energy levels!
Peppermint is typically used as a tea but you can also explore other ways of using it. Add crushed leaves to a water glass (again, make sure water is pure!), as an essential oil and in food dishes (how about a Pineapple Mint Salsa?!).
Want a little variety in your herbal uses? I take and recommend Nourish Her from Earthley. This tincture contains red raspberry leaf, nettle, catnip, spearmint and alfalfa. So many nutrients packed into this tincture! This herbal tincture is great to use in place of a prenatal pill-form vitamin.
Some other great herbs to mix into your routine include Hibiscus (great for the immune system!), Rooibos (very nutrient-filled including iron, calcium, magnesium), Dandelion (a gentle laxative), Chamomile (relaxing before bed), Ginger (soothing for digestive system), Cranberry (keep urinary tract healthy), Rose Hips (calcium, iron, magnesium to name a few of the nutrients), Alfalfa (iron!) and Echinacea (beneficial for the immune system and/or if you are feeling sick).
The wonderful thing about herbs- typically used as teas- is that they are caffeine free. I’ve always loved herbal teas. A fun tidbit about myself is that I’ve not ever made drinking coffee a habit. If you are removing coffee from your life, pregnant or not, (and I highly recommend you do so) is that it’s nice to start the day with a warm mug of herbal tea. If you are used to a hot cup of coffee in the morning this can ease the transition for you.
With the above herbs you can create a wide variety of choices everyday!
One note: if you are using tea bags for some of the herbal teas make sure you using reputable tea brands. I use and recommend Buddha Teas because they use unbleached tea bags which is really important!
So, what herbs are you going to start using first?!