Category Archives: Herbs

Catnip: Kitty crack, kiddo calmer

Catnip: Nepeta cataria

Catnip is an herb in the mint family commonly used to make cats twitchy and insane. Every time I have had a bag of catnip in my herb stash not properly stored in an airtight container, my cats have completely annihilated it and gone on a crazy kitty catnip binge that rivaled WWI. Cats have receptors for the chemical nepetalactone that enhance emotion that people do not have, which is why we do not roll around in piles of the stuff making a mess all across the house. Fair warning, cats will destroy the live plants as well, so protecting your plant if your home is around cats may be something to consider when growing it.

Catnip is commonly used with humans to treat colic, headache, toothache, colds, and spasms. It is a calming nervous tonic and USUALLY will help a person fall asleep. Some people might have an opposite effect so if you are trying it as a calming agent, try it the first time during the day to see if it calms you so you are not accidentally up all night.

It is effective for treating anxiety, insomnia, and nervousness, and is also great for easing migraine headaches, stomach complaints, and also reduces swelling associated with arthritis, hemorrhoids, and soft tissue injuries.

An oil infusion of catnip is useful in baths and good for massages for children suffering from measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, colic, fevers, hives, insomnia and hyperactivity.

It is one of the best herbs you can find to use with children because of its gentle calming nature.

I add catnip to my daughter’s chamomile tea when she is teething. The combination helps alleviate pain and calm her so she can sleep. It also adds a slight minty flavor which is pleasant. I keep a sippy cup with the tea in her crib at night for when she wakes up. I also add it to a teething glycerite I make for her, and add it to my husband’s sleepy time tea.

You can see why this wonderful, gentle herb has made it into my “medicine cabinet“. How do you use Catnip in your home?

Shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday, and Simple Living Wednesday.

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Wellness Wednesday: Calendula

Calendula officinalis – Also known as marigold or pot marigold.

Calendula’s bright flowers range in color from yellow to a bright orange. It has widely spaced toothy leaves and grows to a height of about 18 inches. Be sure not to confuse this bushy, aromatic annual with African or French Marigold.

It is a readily self seeding annual. Plant in direct sun with well drained soil with moderate water. Pick flower heads daily to encourage more growth. Calendula will repel eelworm in the garden and is a good companion plant for beans, lettuce, potatoes, roses and tomatoes.

Calendula is a great soothing herb for the skin. I use it in a lot of my salves, oil and skin care recipes to sooth and calm skin redness, rash, and irritation. It is good to treat cuts, burns, lacerations, bruises, diaper rash, sprains and inflammation. It promotes rapid healing and helps minimize scarring.

Calendula is great in a poultice for sore nipples, ulcers, sprains and varicose veins.

It is also a very good lymphatic herb that helps thin and drain lymph that sometimes gets clogged and congested.  My husband had very thick lymph around his neck and ears that was causing ear issues and with massage, and Calendula tea, his lymph drainage improved and so did his ear problems. It also boosts immunity by increasing lymphatic drainage. Note that Calendula tea will make you pee a lot, and this is a good thing. Just be sure to drink plenty of water with it to help aid the body in the clearing of toxins from the body.

I hope you can see why this wonderful and beautiful herb is always at hand in my herbal “Medicine Cabinet“.

How do you use Calendula?

 

Shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

The wonders of Chamomile

As a mother, and a woman who has been pregnant or breast feeding for almost 2 1/2 years straight, and counting, Chamomile is my go to herb for just about everything. It is gentle and great to use for so many different problems and, as long as you are not allergic to it (it is in the ragweed family), has no real side effects. Even the main stream medical sites I have checked have no side effects listed for Chamomile! It is safe to use with children, during pregnancy and breast feeding.

We give chamomile tea to our daughter when she has an upset stomach, teething, emotionally upset, sleepless, has a fever, cold, flu, and pretty much any other problems that might come up. I drink Chamomile tea to calm down and relax after a stressful day, induce sleep, ease “the crazy“, reduce inflammation, and help ease my nasty stomach. I also use chamomile oil in my salves and baths as it is wonderful on the skin. Chamomile is also used to treat skin conditions  like psoriasis and eczema, helps heal wounds and abscesses, reduces inflammation, and can be used as a tea in a bath to help treat and sooth chicken pox, diaper rash, and colic. It is a wonderful nervous system tonic as well.

Of all the herbs in all the land, this is one that is easy to get ahold of, even in tea bags. It is cheap and very available. It is easy to grow (since it is a weed and will take over any dirt it gets its little seedlings into) and wild craft.  This is a MUST HAVE in any pantry or herbal medicine cabinet.

How do you use chamomile in your family medicine cabinet?

What is in my “medicine” cabinet

It is cold and flu season. If you have children, are around children, work outside the home, or have any contact with society whatsoever I am sure you are aware of this. I am in a wonderful group of natural living mamma’s who all have kiddos the same age as my little one. We are all different levels of “Green and Crunchy” and have discussions almost daily about the green stuff we are doing in our lives. I love that we all have special things in our life that we focus on, I am big on herbs and healing.

Almost every day someone’s little one is sick and I (or one of the other more herbally inclined mamma’s) have recommendations about herbs that might help the kiddo/husband/mamma feel better, and the moms who do not use herbs on a regular basis never have the herbs I suggest on hand! I decided to make a list of my “natural” medicine cabinet. It seems like a lot but using just these herbs and oils we have drastically reduced our use of Tylenol/Ibuprofen and we don’t even keep stomach medicine, cold and flu medicine, teething gel, sleeping pills, store-bought lotions, diaper creams, shampoo, conditioner, you get the idea.

These are specific to my family. As you get used to using more herbs in your every day life, and find a good herbalist, you will find the perfect combination to have on hand in your home.

Here is my list of things I try not to go without in my home. This includes Herbs, Essential oils, and the extra stuff you need to turn these into medicine. I know the list seems daunting BUT with these few herbs you can take control of your family’s health and be your own family physician.

I will go more into detail with one herb or oil every week for “Wellness Wednesday” so keep an eye out every Wednesday for an update on the benefits of each of these herbs and oils for your family in detail!

Herbs:

Chamomile, CalendulaCatnipDandelion rootElder Berry, FennelLavender, Licorice, Marshmallow root, NettleOat straw, Peppermint, Red Clover, Red Raspberry Leaf, Rose Hips, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Yarrow

Essential oils:

Basil, Breathe oil, Digestzen, Frankincense, GeraniumGinger, Lavender,  Lemon, Melaleuca,  OnGuard oil, Peppermint.

Things that help make medicine:

Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, Vodka, Bees Wax, Olive oil, Almond oil, Baking Soda (aluminum free), Epsom Salt, Sea Salt, Vinegar (white and apple cider vinegar), Tea pot, Tea strainer/ball/french press

What is on your families “Must Have” natural wellness list? I would love to hear what is in your natural medicine cabinet and why! 

This blog is featured on A Delightful Home‘s Your Green Resource, and Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Wildcrafting Wednesday.

Tummy Tamer Tea

As I have mentioned before I have been struggling with a gluten intolerance and have cut out gluten from my food, unless something slips in there I don’t know about. I have been gluten-free for almost 2 months and my stomach still HURTS! Even with the medication I am taking I am having issues and can not figure out what the problem is. I understand I have a food slip (where there is gluten in something I was not aware of) probably once a week but the stomach pain is daily. I called the pharmacy where I get my stomach medicine to find out what else is in the pill other than the drug its self and the pill is not gluten-free… Damn it!

So I talked to my midwife and she recommended papaya enzymes. I am going to go get some tomorrow. I guess most of the people in her family have celiac and that is what they take when they have gluten issues.

I went to the herbalist and told them my problem, and that I needed a tea to help assist with my digestion problems and healing and this is what they suggested, I thought I would share.

Equal parts of:

Calendula: Soothes and heals intestinal lining and reduces inflammation.
Fennel: Helps treat indigestion, calming to the intestines and stomach.
Marshmallow root: Soothes irritation of the mucous membranes, coats the stomach and other digestive regions, protecting their soft walls from acid and other irritants.
Chamomile: Anti inflammatory, calming.

She mentioned the tea mix they usually recommend has other herbs in it that are not safe for pregnancy/lactation so we stuck with this simple tea. Lets hope it helps. I have had a nice big 24 oz of it so far today and my stomach does feel better. Lets hope it lasts!

How do you soothe an angry stomach? Any natural celiac tips?

Geranium Essential Oil

I ordered some essential oils to help ease labor and delivery when the time comes and one of the recomended oils was Geranium. I have never worked with geranium before and was not sure of its effects on me so I figured I would give it a go.

I decided to make an anti dandruff hair oil tonight and used the geranium as one of the ingredients and I LOVE the smell! Floral, but not too strong, it is relaxing and calming but less strongly scented/potent smelling than lavender.

I think I will add this to my scented set of wool dryer balls once the current oil wears off. I would love to smell this all day.

From the doTERRA website:
Geranium Essential Oil
Pelargonium graveolens

Geranium offers outstanding benefits for soothing skin and is a common ingredient in many skin care products. Also useful for joint support and tempering minor aches and pains, geranium’s calming effects make it a popular choice for many essential oil users*. For aromatic or topical use.

Properties: Antibacterial, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, insect repellent, refreshing, relaxing, sedative, tonic

There are numerous uses for geranium but I will just list a few here relating to pregnancy and labor, seeing as that is why I got it, although I want you to know it is good for so much more! If you have any questions ask me I have some very good books that might have the answers.

Geranium is safe for use int he second and third trimesters of pregnancy and is used to treat exhaustion, varicose veins, and edema. It is a known hormonal stimulant so listen to your body and how it reacts to this oil, especially when pregnant. (Essential Oils For Maternity published by Abundant Health, LLC)
It can be used in a massage oil for back pain/sciatica/leg cramps/perineal preparation (I am making an oil for sciatica soon); a foot rub for edema mixed with lemon, wild orange, or lavender; Hemorrhoids (you know the ones you get after pushing a melon out your lady bits); sore breasts, and stretch marks.

It is calming, reduces agitation, bleeding, dysmenorrhea, environmental stress, gall stones, insomnia, pelvic pain syndrome, physical stress, PMS, post labor, varicose veins, vertigo, and has numerous skin benefits. (Modern Essentials, A Contemporary Guide to the Theraputic Use of Essential Oils)

As you can see it is a great feminine ally, and one all woman should have on hand.

One of the things I love about doTERRA oils is their purity, being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils are tested bottle by bottle for purity, to be sure they are 100% pure essential oils without pesticides or chemical residue. It insures the plants used on the oils were harvested at the right time, and very high quality. This makes it the only brand I trust to use while pregnant, breast feeding, and on my child. For more information on doTERRAs quality control compared to other manufacturers you can read here.

How do you use Geranium Essential Oil? I would love some recipes/protocols on how you have used it and how it has benefited you.

Essential oils 101: What are Essential Oils?

As you can tell from reading my different recipes, I love essential oils. They allow me to be able to gain the medicinal benefits of a plant without having to use a large amount of material. People always ask me questions about the oils, like where do I get them? How do you use them? Can you use too much? Because EO use is not common among the general population I decided to start an Essential Oil 101 series. Every week I will focus on a specific aspect of the use of EO’s to hopefully help  you in your wellness journey and increase your confidence in using oils. I just started selling EO’s through a wonderful company called doTERRA and will discuss them intermittently through all of this, but know that my focus here is to help you feel confident in your use, not to sell you oils. IF you do need them though, please take a look at my site. Thanks.

What are Essential Oils?

An Essential Oil is a concentrated liquid containing volatile organic compounds from different parts of the main plant including, but not limited to: seeds, bark, stems, roots and flowers. This plant liquid is not specifically oil of the plant, but the essence of the plant, with its specific scent, and chemical properties which is where we get the specific benefits from each individual kind of oil. Essential oils are very clean to the touch, not at all oily, and immediately absorbs into the skin.

Essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils. Essential oils are made from pure plants, while most perfume and fragrance oils are petroleum based fake scents and do not have the same beneficial effects of EO’s. Extraction of pure essential oils usually requires laboratory equipment and large amounts of plant materials for a small yield of oil. Seeing the extraction methods available it is easy to understand why good, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils cost so much.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years across many different cultures not only because they are beautifully fragrant but also because essential oils contain unique benefits to health and well being depending on the specific plant they are derived from. For example Lavender is a commonly used oil with anti-fungal, antiseptic, antidepressant, calming, normalizing, harmonizing, deodorizing, rejuvenation, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties and is believed to enhance the immune system. It is well known to calm and relax the nervous system. Sweet Orange is used for its uplifting properties, it is great for skin care, regenerative, antispasmodic, and balancing. These are benefits you will not get from a fake fragrance oil.

Essential oils many holistic and wellness benefits, which we will focus on more with specific plants later in the series, but should be used with caution. Due to their highly potent nature a little bit really does go a long way.  Use caution with the oils if you have a specific health condition, are pregnant, breast feeding, or using oils with children. There are a lot of good sources for information on essential oil uses and safety which I will try to provide for you as I use them. There are also a lot of bad and inaccurate sources out there, mostly on the internet so be ware and be sure your information is from a trusted source. I will link my sources as I can. If I forget please remind me and I will put them up for you!

When you buy Essential Oils, be sure not to trade cost for quality. I may have been cheap when buying oils to clean my house with, but never skimp on the oils I will be applying to my body, or in the products I make for others. “The quality of even pure essential oils can vary greatly depending on the country where the plant was grown, climactic conditions, how the raw material was collected and stored, and the process used to obtain the oil. Always opt for the best quality of oil available.” – The Essential Oils Book by Colleen Dodt. When you buy oils be sure to buy from a reputable supplier who is focused on providing the finest, high quality, pure essential oils. Always look for oils packaged in full dark glass bottles. Read the label carefully. Look for the term “pure essential oil” and for cautions such as “keep out of reach of children” and where the oil is intended for use.

dōTERRA (CPTG) Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils represent some of the safest, purest, and most beneficial essential oils available today. They are gently and skillfully distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy. Experienced essential oil users will immediately recognize dōTERRA’s superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade essential oils.

Cautions: everyone is different and will react to different oils in varying manners. Keep oils away from eyes. Always wash your hands before and after using essential oils. There is nothing worse than working with an oil, (like peppermint), then rubbing your eyes or mucous membranes directly afterward. I promise you, it feels like burning.  If you do get oil in your eyes do not rinse with water, but apply sweet almond oil (or another base oil) to a cotton ball and apply that to your eye. Water will disperse the oil and make it worse.

Keep out of reach of children. Pure essential oils can be toxic if ingested in large amounts and can be harmful to skin and eyes if improperly diluted.

Practice caution while pregnant. Essential oils are very strong and many have an effect on hormones and muscle contractions. Of everything I have read I would avoid most eo use in the first trimester, and use great caution and education while working with an educated midwife, doctor, or aroma therapist through the rest of your pregnancy.

A little bit goes a long way, using 1-2 drops has beneficial effects, but many people who use more than instructed find the benefit to be mitigated. Remember it takes pounds of plant material to make that very small amount of oil in your bottle. Use sparingly for best results. Also use proper dilution for oils. Most recipes will tell you how many drops of EO to use per oz of carrier oil, or water, or whatever you are using to dilute your material.

The uplifting, healing, and beneficial properties of EO usage in my daily practice has been a pleasure and I truly enjoy finding new uses for the oils. I am now working on putting together an essential oil kit to aid mothers in the stages of labor through the use of calming and uplifting scents, mixed with oils that are known to be beneficial during and after labor for the mother and baby. It is very exciting and becoming an addicting thing. I hope to share the journey with you.

What is your favorite use for Essential Oils? Include your favorite recipe or link here!

How to make herbal tea in a french press: For dummies

I made some Crazy Pregnant Lady Tea for a friend of mine who was having some anxiety issues. When she received the zip lock bag full of the tea ingredients she then continued to freak out a little bit. Not very helpful for the anxiety. What do I do now? I have this bag of herbs and now what? I keep forgetting that most people are used to having their tea neatly put into bags and not having to deal with any of this mixing non sense. I did write a post a while ago about the different ways I steep tea BUT here is a step by step guide of the way I make my tea most often.

First thing is first. This is a french press: 

You can get one at Target, and I often see them at Ross. You can also find them on Amazon. They come in 2 sizes, large and small. Pretty straight forward over all. That mesh screen on the bottom of the plunger keeps floaties out of your drink. It is awesome.

When you make herbal tea you use 1tbsp tea mixture for ever cup of hot water. My french press is 6 cups so I use 6 heaping table spoons of tea. It conveniently is right up to the top of that red line on the bottom if you are feeling particularly lazy.

Fill the press with boiling water, put on the top without pushing down the plunger, and let steep AT LEAST 20 minutes. It can steep for up to 8 hours for the maximum benefit. The reason you put the top on to cover it is to keep the volatile oils from the tea in the tea without letting it evaporate out. This is very important.

After it has steeped an appropriate amount of time push down the plunger, pour in your favorite mug and serve.

What is your favorite way to brew your herbal tea?

Oh my achy pregnant body.

I am almost 32 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy really has been pretty good to me up until recently. I have not thrown up at all except for when I had that horrible stomach bug that put me in the hospital. I have not gained a lot of weight, had very little swelling, and no real “scares”. It has been pretty nice compared to my extremely crappy pregnancy I had with Ellie.

Now that we are getting closer to the end my body HURTS. I have not been able to get my weekly massage because my husband has been sick for a month, and I can definitely feel it. Out of sheer desperation I remembered salt baths were supposed to ease muscle pain and it worked! I have been taking a bath with a combination of Epsom salt, Himalayan sea salts, and some oils every night and my body feels much better afterward. I have had much less pain and cramping, it stops my braxton hicks contractions that I have been having at night, and reduces the pain I feel in my hips when sleeping. My skin is softer and feels healthier than it has in a long time. And, on a side note, since I have been taking this bath nightly my CRAZY HORRIBLE pregnancy dreams/nightmares have not been occurring. I am loving this added side effect as the dreams were truly terrifying.

Ow my achy pregnant body bath:

1c Epsom Salt
1c Sea Salt (Celtic, Himalayan, Dead Sea, or “real salt”)
1/2c Baking Soda (aluminum free)
1/4-1/2c Chamomile Olive Oil Infusion
4-6 drops Lavender Essential Oil
 
Combine in hot bath water (no more than 120 degrees, you are pregnant after all), mix with hands until salt dissolves. There may be a little bit of extra graineyness, that is the extra minerals in your sea salt. Add essential oil drops right before getting into the tub to get the full benefit of the oils. If you add them too soon the bath room will smell lovely, but the oil will have evaporated before it absorbs into your skin. 
 
Enjoy your bath with a nice glass of water or tea. Soak at least 20 minutes. 
 
Be sure to clean out your bath with baking soda when you are done so the next person to use it does not slip and fall! 
 

How do these ingredients help?

Epsom salt is not actually a salt, but a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium and sulfate are readily absorbed in the skin making bathing in it an easy way to absorb all the great health benefits. Magnesium plays many important roles in the body including enzyme regulation, reducing inflammation, improving muscle, nervous, and digestive function. Sulfate improves the absorption of nutrients, flushes toxins, and helps ease headaches.

Here is a great site I found about the benefit of Epsom salt baths. It explains things so well I feel no need to go into more detail. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/health-benefits-of-epsom-salt-baths.html?page=1

Sea Salt is different from the over processed, de-mineralized, iodized “Morton” salt you get at the grocery store. It is naturally occurring salt with the trace minerals still intact having many health benefits, which the over-processed iodized salt does not provide. If you do not know about the difference please do your research! You will be glad you did.

Sea salt is effective at stabilizing irregular heart beat and regulating blood pressure, helps extract extra acidity from your blood cells (a leading cause of inflammation), balances blood sugar levels, is vital to nervous system function, the function of blood cells, the absorption of nutrients, the clearance of lung mucous, anti histamine, anti inflammatory, prevents and eases muscle cramps, along with being an over all good provider of micro nutrients. It also is known to soften the skin. You can use extra salt as a body scrub while you are in the bath to remove excess dead skin cells. It is very relaxing, especially if you combine the salt scrub with some oil.

I have also found the natural sea salt crystals help set the “resonance” of the bath. I prefer Celtic sea salt because I feel like it grounds me better. Yes hippie dippy as my father would say but it does make a difference for me!

Baking soda helps detoxify the body, neutralizes extra acidity in the body and softens the skin. It is a huge detoxifier, and because of this I only use a 1/2 cup per bath. I have read about using a pound a bath but I don’t want that much of a detox while pregnant or breast-feeding.

The chamomile olive oil infusion is for relaxation, anti inflammatory, and calming properties. It helps reduce anxiety and insomnia, it is anti spasmodic and works to calm and relax the nerves and muscles. The oil diffuses nicely in the bath and absorbs well into the skin. I find I rarely have to use oil after the bath for extra moisturization like I do after a shower.

Lavender essential oil helps circulation, eases aches and pains, reduces cellulite,  heart palpitations, high blood pressure, reduces pain and swelling, relaxes muscles, and reduces joint pain. It is calming, uplifting, and balances emotion. It also helps with depression, insomnia, nervous tension, panic and stress. All things experienced at one time or another during pregnancy, at least from my experience.

What do you do to relax and take the pain away while pregnant?

Crazy Pregnant Lady Tea

So I guess pregnancy makes me crazy. I noticed feeling depressed this pregnancy around 12 weeks. I was just down and completely useless as a mother and a wife. I mentioned to my loving husband that I felt down and he said he thought I was depressed during my last pregnancy. I must not have noticed it over all the puking, gall stones, high blood pressure, pain and over all grossness.

Anyway I talked to my midwife about my options. We discussed antidepressants, because I have been on them before for situational depression and postpartum depression. We discussed the merits of massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and therapy as well. She wrote me a prescription for antidepressants but I decided to do some research before filling it and taking the drugs. After careful consideration I did not think the benefits of the drugs did not outweigh the risks, namely the baby dealing with detoxification effects after birth, increased chance of colic, and increased chance of behavioral/neurological problems. Considering I was not suicidal or homicidal, I decided to try natural solutions first.

I decided to take better quality health supplements that I was taking before I got pregnant and stopped taking because they cost more. I highly recommend finding a good whole food supplement. I was taking Standard Process, which I really like, but have gluten in them (I very recently got diagnosed with gluten intolerance) so I had to switch to a different supplement which is working well for me. I got my vitamin D levels tested and am taking liquid vitamin D drops.

I get massage at least once a week, and am going to start going to acupuncture again (insurance ran out last year, but now it is covered again so I am going again).

I have increased my fat and protein ingestion with healthy animal fats, coconut oil, and omega-3 supplements in the form of cod liver oil. There is some great information out there about how these fats are beneficial to your nervous system and health. See http://www.westonaprice.org/basics/principles-of-healthy-diets .

On top of all this I did a lot of research on herbs that can help balance my nervous system and the rest of the body. I am very careful with herbs while pregnant because they are not tested for safety during pregnancy. You need to depend on years and years of gathered data from herbalists, doctors, midwives, and other professionals who deal with herbs on a daily basis. A good rule of thumb I have found is if it is food it is usually safe. There are some notable exceptions though so do your home work!  There are some great books out there about herb safety during pregnancy, nursing and for use with children. I went to my herbalist to discuss options for tea, and between the research I had done with my books and the interwebs, the herbalists vast knowledge, and the assistance of my midwife checking for safety we came up with my crazy pregnant lady tea. This tea is also safe for breast-feeding, we checked as I am still breast-feeding. I actually see an increase in my milk supply when I drink it, I am guessing because of the nutrient boost.

Not only is the tea great for depression/anxiety/neurological issues, but it is also extremely nourishing, especially for woman. All woman can benefit from this tea but it is extremely nourishing and tonifying to benefit pregnant woman.

Here is what we came up with:

All ingredients are equal parts except for the St. Johns Wart which is 1/2 part to the rest.

Red Raspberry Leaf
Nettle leaf
Oat straw
Chamomile
Lemon Balm
St. Johns Wart
Lavender (optional)

This is why we decided on these herbs:

Red Raspberry Leaf:  Is the “best known, most widely used, and safest of all uterine/pregnancy tonic herbs.” -Weed p.18 It is nutrient dense with high levels of vitamin c, vitamin E, easily assimilated calcium and iron, vitamins A and B complex, and many minerals including phosphorous and potassium. It is known to increase fertility, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, ease morning sickness, reduce pain during labor and after birth, and assists in the production of breast milk. If you do nothing else at least have a cup or two of this great tea every day. And it tastes good too! – Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

Nettle Leaf: Nettle One of the finest nourishing tonics known. Contains vitamins A, C, D, and K, Calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and sulfur. It aids in kidney health and function, increases fertility, nourishes the mother, fetus and placenta, eases cramps and muscle spasm, reduces pain, prevents hemorrhage after birth and increases the richness and amount of breast milk. – Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

Oat Straw:  This was an addition mentioned by my herbalist as a highly beneficial ingredient to the nervous system AND breast-feeding. It is also highly nutrient dense with high levels of Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamins B (complex), A, C. The oat straw I get from the herbalist is not processed in a plant with wheat or other gluten containing grains and is gluten-free. If that is a concern from you be sure to ask this to your herbal provider.  “Oat straw is a nervine, which means it provides nutrients to reinforce nerves, particularly when an individual is suffering from stress. It is high in vitamin B and can help people maintain restful and regulated sleep patterns and other nerve-related problems associated with sleep and stress, including insomnia, anxiety, memory less, depression and restless legs”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/105497-benefits-oat-straw/#ixzz1kX3xrKuS

Chamomile:  Chamomile is probably one of the most widely used relaxing nerve tonics. It is used to relieve mental stress and tension. It is calming, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-spasmodic for easing muscle cramps, nervine (helps soothe, calm and strengthen the nervous system). -The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green

Lemon Balm:  *fresh lemon balm is listed in the Wise Woman Herbal as an emenogogue (helps bring on periods). I use dried lemon balm and have had no issues but if mis-carriage is a concern you may want to exclude this from your tea. This was one recommended by my herbalist to add to the tea and was checked for safety by my midwife with no concerns. Lemon balm is considered specific for helping one cope with life situations that are difficult to accept. It is an old favorite for depression, melancholy, and hysteria. – Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

St. Johns Wort:  Is nervine (helps soothe, calm and strengthen the nervous system). It has a sedative and pain relieving effect appropriate for treating neuralgia, anxiety and tension, and any irritable and anxious effects of menopausal changes. As an anti-depressant, it is highly recommended for treatment of melancholia or “the blues”. -The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green.  There is a lot of misleading information on the internet about St. Johns Wort. It has never been proven  to cause miscarriage, birth defects, or to decrease milk supply. It has at best been anecdotally linked. My herbalist consulted three different books, (two written by medical doctors) about the risk to pregnancy and did not find anything concerning. It in fact is known as a moistening herb and can slightly increase your milk supply. If you are concerned please consult your health care professional and find information for your self!

Lavender: I listed this herb as optional because it is not synergistic to me. It does not calm me, but makes my nervous system twitchy, which is not a normal reaction. For this reason I do not include it in my tea but the herbalist suggested it might be beneficial. It is well-known to ease stress, tension and headaches. -Natural Health by Nerys Purchon

I hope this helps explain the tea and the great things it does. As always this is not intended for medical advice and you should speak to your health care provider before starting any herbal routine. As I said I worked on this with my herbalist and midwife to come up with the best solution for me. I hope this helps anyone who is suffering and can serve as a great guideline!

What do you do to help combat anxiety/depression?

Shared on Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday.