Mom Stress! Herbal Medicines for the Breastfeeding Mama

This is one I hear all the time- “I’m stressed… help!! But I’m nursing… what’s safe to take?”

Use of natural medicines can be tricky while breastfeeding and I’m always conservative in their use (even if some people disagree with me!). Better safe than sorry is my motto. In a field where clinical studies are not always available and everyone has a different opinion, we must sometimes rely on traditional wisdom and common sense.

The following is a compilation of some of my favorite go-to’s for calming the hearts & minds of the busy nursing mother, in the safest way that nature intended.  I tend to prefer tinctures and teas, as you will begin feeling the effects rather quickly. Each brand may vary in potency, so take as directed on the package.  ALWAYS use the whole herbs- they supply nature’s perfect balance of dozens of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that make the herb safe and effective…. essentially acting as a “checks & balance” system for the plant. Side effects can begin to occur when you isolate compounds of the plant. Do keep in mind if what you’re experiencing is above and beyond normal daily stress (such as severe anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders) or you have other medical conditions to consider, I recommend making an appointment for more in depth, customized nutritional & herbal counseling.

That being said… I hope you enjoy a nice warm cup of calming goodness today!

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  1. Oat Straw: This one can be used as a quick and easy tincture, but also makes a lovely sweet-tasting tea. It calms anxiety, tension and stress, yet promotes energy and stamina. Good for exhaustion, and can increase libido. May also increase supply!
  2. Blue Vervain: One of my favorites. Not only does it help manage stress, tension headaches, migraine, insomnia, & depression, it also promotes lactation. One client who was taking it daily nearly doubled the amount she was able to pump. Win win! Not very tasty as a tea, I prefer the tincture form.
  3. Motherwort: Eases hormone-related mood fluctuations and PMS, muscle spasms, reduces blood pressure, and calms anxiety. Note- may cause photosensitivity. Not a fantastic tea- try the tincture.
  4. Hops: Another production-helper! Small quantities of hops have been found to help with let-down. Can help with restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and is mildly sedating. If you feel comfortable with it, you could drink 1/4 to 1/2 of a beer to get the benefits of the hops. Teas have a slight bitterness.
  5. Valerian: A sedative that is good for insomnia, stress, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, & muscle spasms. This is my favorite for “racing mind” syndrome when you’re lying in bed trying to sleep. Some people get headaches with prolonged use, just use occasionally as needed. It tastes like dirty feet if you ask me… go the tincture route. (pictured)Valerian flowers
  6. Chaga: Studies have found this medicinal mushroom to help depression and mood balance. I’d recommend a tea form, used by boiling the dried chunks. With a bit of honey or maple syrup it has an enjoyable (non-mushroomy) flavor.
  7. Passionflower: Its gentle sedating effect calms unease, anxiety, and hyperactivity. This can be used as a tea or tincture.
  8. Chamomile: This delicious tea makes a great nerve tonic. Used for fretfulness, anxiety, and insomnia, and is a favorite of children. Avoid if you are allergic to ragweed.
  9. Linden flower: I prefer to drink this one- with a floral, delicate flavor when made into a tea, it’s a nervine that helps with mild stress, anxiety, and tension.

 

The “Maybe Milk Reducers”

The following herbs can be great for stress, but some mothers have reported a decrease in supply. If you try them, just be mindful and discontinue if you see an undesired decrease in milk production.

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  1. Lavender (whole herb): Some sources say this is a galactagogue, some say it may decrease supply. As a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, I’d say just keep an eye on any changes. It helps to improve mood and calm stressful feelings. It’s best to use a small bunch of the dried or fresh plant in a tea.
  2. Lemon Balm : Called the “gladdening herb,” it is good for nervous agitation, stress, anxiety, hormone-related mood fluctuations, and insomnia. It’s mildly sedating and calms muscles. Another one of those controversial ones- some say it increases supply, some say it decreases… just be mindful. It can be used as a yummy citrusy tea or tincture.
  3. Catnip: An antispasmodic and nerve tonic to relieve stress and anxiety. Tea or tincture, and it grows wild in many areas.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

(not intended as medical advice)
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Super Immune Chaga Gummies

As we are entering “chaga season,” I thought I’d share one of my family’s favorite things to do with it- super immune chaga gummies!
We first make the chaga tea from the dried chunks, then add maple syrup until nice & sweet. Then follow this recipe, simply substituting the elderberry syrup for chaga. Sometimes we will do half & half.  They are delicious and help to keep away the colds & flu that are circulating this time of year!

My hand-harvested Wisconsin chaga to make this recipe is available here!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221


Decadent Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

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Raw, unprocessed cacao is as healthy as it gets- and this is exactly what all chocolate starts out as. In its unprocessed form, it contains a plethora of nutrients that are lost during the processing into dark or milk chocolate. Not only are the candy bars you see today devoid of cacao’s nutrients, they have unhealthy additives like white sugar, artificial flavors, and trans fats added to them.

So why not get the benefits of the real stuff and make your own sweet treats? Raw cacao, usually sold as nibs or a ground into a powder, has some really powerful health benefits. According to studies published in “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” and the “Journal of Internal Medicine.”, it reduces your risk of stroke and heart attack. Cacao is rich in polyphenols, which serve as antioxidants and inhibit blood platelets from forming a clot. This superfood has been shown to lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) while raising your HDL (good cholesterol). It is rich in resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, and phenethylamine, the “love” neurotransmitter, that boosts mood and libido. Cacao’s high chromium and coumarin content help to balance blood sugar, prevent diabetes, and promote weight loss. Do you ever get chocolate cravings? This could indicate a magnesium deficiency- add in some raw cacao to get your magnesium fix!

Decadent Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

1 cup flax, macadamia or almond milk (or whatever you prefer!)

1/3 cup chia seeds (heaping)

1.5 tbsp maple syrup (grade B if possible)

1.5 tbsp raw cacao powder

¼ tsp real vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together the milk and chia seeds. Let sit for about 10-20 minutes, mixing occasionally, until it turns into a gel. Add in the maple syrup, cacao powder, and vanilla. Sprinkle with raw berries if desired. Serve cold and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

*Not a fan of chocolate? Hold the raw cacao and add a bit more vanilla and some fresh berries. (as pictured on right)

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

MultivitaminGate 2017

24819192_10101910803122733_999548494_oWell, another one bites the dust. I was disappointed to wake up to the news this morning- supplement company Garden of Life (a brand I regularly recommend to clients) just sold out to Nestle. Corporate takeovers generally are followed by cheaper ingredients and lower quality standards, and in addition many people prefer to support smaller, family-owned companies. I do plan on closely watching any formulation changes with this brand, but this buyout has understandably left many consumers looking for alternatives.

While a multivitamin can never replace the phytonutrients and trace minerals found in whole food, a good quality one will certainly help fill any gaps in your diet. Maybe one day you simply didn’t eat enough vitamin C, or the next you were lacking in magnesium. If you are eating the standard American diet you will undoubtedly be deficient in nutrients, which can over time increase your risk of acute and chronic illness.

Finding a quality product can be difficult in a market flooded with junk, so here I comprised a list of some of the better multivitamins on the market. Many of these companies have a variety of products, from prenatals to 50 plus to kids vitamins. They are free of potentially harmful additives like synthetic vitamins, preservatives, artificial colors, titanium dioxide, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, etc.

Keep in mind everyone’s nutritional needs are different- some medical conditions make the body require less or more of certain nutrients, there may be food allergies/sensitivities, most drugs medications deplete certain nutrients, etc. So don’t hesitate to consult myself or another holistic nutritionist /herbalist for further guidance if necessary!

  • Vitalerbs or Kid E Mins by Dr. Christopher (the only one I’ve yet to find that only uses whole herbs to get the full spectrum of synergistic nutrients in the way nature intended, instead of using nutrients that are isolated and removed from food)
  • Thorne Research
  • Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin
  • Smartypants Gummy vitamins (keep in mind gummies will not contain very many minerals and may be high in sugar)
  • Nature’s Dynamics Gummy
  • Dr. Mercola Whole Food Multivitamin
  • Megafood
  • Summit Nutrition Organic
  • MaryRuth’s
  • Innate Response

You should be able to find these at most local nutrition stores, and if they are not available most can be purchased online.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Skip the Vitamin C Supplements

I have always taken a vitamin c supplement to help with skin, immune system, and other things, but whole food sources like rose hips really are the gold standard.  In addition to having incredible amounts of vitamin C, you’re also getting dozens of other vitamins, minerals, and healing phytochemicals that you just won’t find in an isolated vitamin C pill, some of which are actually vital for proper absorption of the C.

image3/4 cup of rose hips provides:

426 mg vitamin C  (710% daily value)

17% daily value calcium

17% daily value magnesium

12% daily value potassium

51% daily value manganese

39% daily value vitamin e

(Just to name a couple)

In comparison… the same amount of raw oranges provides just 45 mg vitamin c!

So just a reminder to myself and others- pills and powders can never replace the untouched whole food nutrient sources that the earth provides us.  Food changes everything!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Peaceful Tummy Purple Juice

Wisconsin Wellness

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This beautiful juice contains ingredients that are helpful for any kind of chronic stomach issue- including colitis, heartburn, constipation, diverticulitis, diarrhea, indigestion, and ulcers.  It does has a distinctive cabbage flavor, but the bit of pineapple adds a slightly sweet hint. If you are watching your sugars, simply omit the pineapple.

This recipe provides at least 30% of your daily value of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin c, thiamin, riboflavin, b6, folate, vitamin a, & vitamin k.

Ingredients:

1/2 purple cabbage

8 organic carrots

1/4 of a pineapple, including the core

Directions:

Juice, and enjoy!

Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good ones? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

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The Best and Worst Protein Shakes

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose & aspartame are commonly used in protein/meal/energy shakes marketed as “low sugar” or “sugar free” and come with a slew of proven health risks, such as kidney disease, sugar cravings, weight gain, depression, ADHD, gastrointestinal problems, miscarriage, pre-term labor, infertility, etc.

The following companies use them in their products:

Herbalife

Thrive

Special K protein shakes

Ensure

Slim Fast

Medifast

BSN Syntha 6

Muscle Milk

Visalus Vi

Advocare

Check out the article below for other brands that have scored poorly, and some great recommendations for healthier alternatives.

http://www.eatthis.com/protein-powders

 

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Toddler Meals to Promote a Strong Immune System & a Healthy Body

Wisconsin Wellness

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I had to share my daughter’s lunch from today because it looked so darn pretty- hard boiled organic eggs with paprika, spelt pancakes with coconut oil & mulberries, organic apple slices, and a stalk of organic celery. She LOVES meals like this!

Kids meals don’t have to be complex- look for simple, whole food ingredients, and try to include a veggie, a fruit, a protein, a good fat, and a whole grain. (I much prefer whole grains to flours, but these spelt pancakes are a weekend treat for us!). Chemical-free, whole foods like this will keep your kiddo’s immune system strong, will support healthy physical and mental development, and will ensure they maintain good eating habits into adulthood.

Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices and replacing bad habits with good…

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Buttery Wild Mushroom Pilaf with Asparagus – Wild gourmet healing dinner for $.35 per serving!

 

SONY DSCTonight’s dinner is a lovely sprouted brown rice risotto with bits of peas and carrots, cooked with some chopped wild wood nettle, which can be used just as spinach or kale would but is much more nutritious. I sauteed the morels (can use any edible wild mushroom) until golden in a bit of butter and Himalayan salt.  Simply sub the butter for something like olive oil to make this vegetarian dish vegan. The pilaf is sprinkled with chives from my garden & flowers from the creeping charlie “weed” in my yard. A garnish of another delicious “weed” in my yard- goldenrod shoots.

Not only is this the type of gourmet meal you’d only find at an upscale restaurant, it’s more nutritious than just about anything you’ll find at a grocery store, and nearly free of cost. Every ingredient has healing properties! What is your experience with foraging- have you picked berries, morels, or asparagus? Let us know! If you’d like to learn more about wild food foraging, check out Wild Food Wisconsin & Aayus Holistic Health Services on facebook.  And helping people live healthier & happier and tackle even the trickiest health issues is my specialty as a naturopathic practitioner- don’t hesitate to contact me at megan@aayushealth.com for your free consult!

– – Goldenrod is good for colds, flu, inflammation, allergies (it’s an antihistamine, not an allergen), & UTIs.
– – Nettles are food for high blood pressure, kidney stones, allergies (also antihistamine), anemia, hay fever, are restorative, antihemorrhagic, nutritive, & promotes lactation & circulation
– – Morels are a great source of vitamin D, are anti-cancer & have been found to reduce the side effects of chemo/radiation
– – Asparagus is a diuretic, supports kidney function, prostate health, helps to prevent cataracts, supports the liver, supports sexual function & helps with muscle recovery
– – Brown rice is great for digestion and helps to normalize bowel function after diarrhea. It helps lower cholesterol, reduce risk of bowel cancer, lower diabetes risk
– – Chives are good for digestion, anemia, relieving gas, help prevent heart disease and stroke, and help your body to digest good fats.
– – Creeping Charlie is anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and has been used traditionally for ulcers, asthma, and clearing up skin. It can be used as a hopping agent to make beer.

Thanks for visiting!

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

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My first morel of the year, used in my dinner! (it’s giant!!)

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The wild wood nettles

Creamy Wild Watercress & Nettle Soup

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watercress nettles motherwort catmint-w

Wild watercress and nettles are sprouting in Wisconsin, and they are quite the culinary treat!

High in calcium, iron, vitamin c, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, vitamin E, vitamin K, lutein, b vitamins, and many more, watercress is rich in potent antioxidants that help to fight cancer. It’s been found to help smokers or those exposed to secondhand smoke excrete the toxins found in cigarettes from their urine in just 3 days.  It’s also good for liver problems.

Stinging nettles are my go-to safe alternative to allergy drugs. They help hayfever and any type of allergies, supporting the immune system and anti-inflammatory response naturally, instead of just covering up symptoms like drugs. This mint can be used for prostate problems, PMS, asthma, bronchitis, sciatica, tendonitis, multiple sclerosis, gout, hives, kidney stones, sciatica, high blood pressure, & eczema. Just about one cup of this veggie will give you half the calcium you need for the day, with good amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, b vitamins, vitamin k, beta carotene, and potassium.

Both greens are excellent for treating anemia, purifying the blood, and for arthritis.   Note: Be careful not to touch the nettles without gloves- they bite!

Ingredients:

2 cups MSG-free vegetable broth

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or organic butter

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 bunch of watercress

1 bunch of nettles

2 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

¼ cup organic whole plain yogurt, extra to garnish (eliminate to make vegan)

Sprinkle of chives to garnish

Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil, and add the potatoes. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, heat the butter/oil over medium heat. Add the nettles, watercress, and onions. Turn heat down a bit and cook until the onions are translucent. Once your potatoes are tender, add the cooked greens mixture to the pot and boil for a couple minutes. Place in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the yogurt, then season to taste with the salt & pepper. Ladle into bowls immediately and enjoy!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221