I began 2022 with herbal studies of the Southern traditions for pregnancy and postpartum
focusing on the herbs and healing modalities used historically by Southern Black midwives. This class was a combination of something I REALLY love, history and herbs! It was truly a joy to learn about "Granny Midwives" that supported not only the Black birthing person but also that person's family and often times Granny Midwives provided holistic support to the whole community!
During our studies of Nettle (Urtica dioica) I learned that our ancestors used this plant to strengthen the blood during pregnancy. The Vitamins A, B, C, and D, along with Potassium and Calcium in nettle increase iron and strengthen blood vessels which reduces the risk of leg cramps, anemia, and hemorrhage that can come from increased blood volume during pregnancy. After pregnancy nettle can continue to contribute to the healing process by promoting milk supply and reducing the risk of hemorrhoids and muscle spasm. Because of this class I was inspired to create a nettle and red raspberry leaf tea to provide to all my birthing clients, the recipe will be below.
The benefits of nettle are not just limited to pregnancy! Nettle has been used to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, and gout. Many communities also use it to treat urinary tract infections and insect bites. Nettles’ mineral content makes it useful for promoting the growth of bones, hair, and nails due to it's high silica content. According to Antler Alchemy one magical aspects of nettle is that "it’s a tropho-restorative herb, which means it brings back function to atrophied organs and body systems such as the kidneys, thyroid, hormones, muscles, nerves, and more".
As you can see this powerful plant medicine can be a wonderful addition to your personal "farmacy", you can find the dried leaves at your local herb shop or in tea bags at grocers and online. Remember that if you are going to harvest fresh leaves wear gloves as this plant is known to be thorny, and blanche fresh leaves or dry them before using them in teas or meals. The following pregnancy tea was adopted from The Birth Center however for anyone to enjoy a simple nettle tea for every day use visit Sencha Tea Bar
It is recommended that you drink nettle and red raspberry tea throughout pregnancy as follows:
3-4 tablespoons of nettle and red raspberry to one quart (4 cups) boiling water.
Let steep, covered for 2-4 hours. Strain and refrigerate.
Drink hot or cold—one cup per day in the first trimester, 2 cups per day in the second trimester, and 3 cups per day in the third trimester.
Red raspberry frozen chips sucked throughout labor can facilitate placenta expulsion and prevent hemorrhage.
(DO NOT USE IF ON BLOOD THINING MEDICATIONS)
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Doula that provides whole person wellness education along with Full Spectrum Doula support for all birthing peoples. This support includes providing thoughtful emotional, spiritual, and physical support before, during, and after pregnancy and pregnancy loss. If you or someone you love in interested in support let's connect! I look forward to connecting!