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!

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? 
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(not intended as medical advice)
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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!

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

 

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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

9 Simple Ways to Boost Your Breast Milk Supply

Check out my latest article in “The Mother” Magazine!

http://www.themothermagazine.co.uk/9-simple-ways-to-boost-your-breast-milk-supply/

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

Young woman breast feeding a baby