However, sometimes our kids have other plans for us! Whether it is a crying baby that keeps you up all night, over-committing ourselves, or just generally being off balance and on the verge of burnout- herbs can be an excellent ally! Fellow moms often ask me what herbs I like to use during busy or stressful times- below are some of my favorites! All of these herbs are safe to use while nursing and are also excellent for postpartum.*
- Milky Oats - Milky oats (tincture) will give me instant relief when I am on the verge of burnout and exhaustion, not thinking clearly, moody, and just plain overwhelmed. Milky oats are nourishing for the nervous system and can be taken over a long period of time. I notice the effects immediately, feeling revived and rejuvenated.
- Alfalfa- Alfalfa is packed with nutrients- a great addition to tea!
- Gotu Kola- Commonly used in Ayruvedic medicine, combined in a formula with other nervines, it reduces nervous exhaustion while at the same time promoting mental clarity.
- Nettle- One of the best nutritive herbs. This herb can be used daily. This is a great herb to use to revive yourself if you are feeling drained. The whole plant including the seeds is an excellent remedy for adrenal exhaustion, something a lot of mom's may experience when they juggling multiple tasks and don't take the time for self care. Nettles are packed with trace minerals and vitamins.
- Dandelion- Often thought of as just a weed, dandelion is a wonderful mildly bitter herb that has a long use in traditional herbal medicine as both a food and a beneficial medicinal remedy. Dandelion leaf can be eaten in salads, stir fry, the root roasted can be used as a coffee substitute and the dried root can be added to your tea blends.
- Catnip- this herb will come in handy for both mom and baby. Not only does it have a gentle relaxing effect, it will reduce colic in your baby both through the breast milk, used alone as a tea, or used in a "gripe water" formula. Catnip in a tea along with slippery elm, chamomile, fennel, and infant massage helped my daughter with her colic symptoms tremendously.
- Chamomile- Another great herb for both mom and baby, it is not only relaxing it is a natural anti-inflammatory, and good for nervous tummies. So when your baby begins teething, chamomile is an excellent herb to have on hand to both relax you and your baby. Chamomile will also help with local inflammation of the gums when your baby is teething (apply tincture directly). I like chamomile combined with lavender as a tea for relaxation.
- Lavender- Gentle and relaxing to the nervous system, it is good for insomnia, as well as milk production & the let down reflex, combined with other herbs such as chamomile, fennel, catnip.
- Passionflower- I like this combined with other nervines in a nighttime tea, excellent for relaxation.
- California Poppy- Excellent for anxiety and insomnia.
- Lemon Balm- I like lemon balm combined with other herbs in a tea, the herb gives a general over-all good feeling. Calming effects will pass to your infant through the breast milk if you are nursing. Combines well with milky oats in tincture form.
- Motherwort- This herb is bitter, great for anxiety. I like this herb in tincture form.
- Skullcap- For the mom's with so much on their mind, new changes, over stimulation, a touch of the blues, exhaustion from lack of rest, I think this herb is one of the most valuable. It will nourish & restore your nervous system.
- Vervain- This herb will help when you are irritable and on the verge of the angry "I've had it and I just might lose it" cry. Great to combine with the skullcap and or milky oats in tincture form. Good for the emotional mood swings of PMS-safe to take over long periods of time.
Angie Goodloe graduated from the American College of Healthcare Sciences with her Diploma in Herbal Studies Master Herbalist and Holistic Nutrition Certificate in 2005. She also graduated from the East West College of the Healing Arts in 2003 and currently teaches holistic health courses online. To read more about Angie and her work, check out her blog: http://authenticmama.com/
*This is the opinion and/or claim of the author. It is always recommended that you consult with a primary health care provider before making significant changes to your diet or health care routine.