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My Personal Herbal Birth

Birth & custom holistic herbal plans.

 



This is my personal herbal protocol for birth, tailored just to me. While these herbal formulae work for me, they may not work for you, and it is best to consult your healthcare provider(s) first and work with an herbalist to customize an herbal protocol for your individualized birth plan.


This article does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to prevent, diagnose or cure. For educational purposes only.

 

I share my personal herbal protocol to show how holistic herbalism may be incorporated into the birth plan. When planning and preparing herbal formulations I take into consideration the dominant constitution (e.g., cold & dry), imbalances or preexisting health conditions, unique physiology, and current (or anticipated) tissue states. I also consider modes of how to best administer the potent plant properties – and when. As an herbalist, I customize the dose, type of herbal preparation to increase the likelihood of use, tastes, and other personal preferences, and take into consideration the environment of the individual. For instance, this herbal protocol is best suited to home birth, in which I will have access to a stove, family aid, and the freedom to use the herbal remedies at will.



The experience of birth is also influenced by the state of the body. During pregnancy, I pay focus and effort to eliminate stressors that may interfere with my body’s natural processes. I eliminated stressors to ensure a positive birth outcome by cutting out food allergies and sensitivities, getting good quality rest and sleep, remaining active, spending time in nature, censuring stressful media, reducing mental stress, and spending time engaging in positive relationships with people I love and care for. When the time comes, I want to ensure the child that she is ready to be received in a safe space full of love.

 

Birth


There is a range of herbal actions that I am seeking at birth:


  • Nutritive & adaptogenic: nutritive herbs supply minerals and nutrients, and adaptogens support endurance for the long birth process.

  • Demulcent: herbs that bring and maintain hydration throughout the body needed to maintain all bodily processes and decrease fatigue and "irritable uterus" (or more painful contractions).

  • Anodyne: herbs used internally to dull the sensation of pain, and analgesic herbs to interfere with pain signals to the brain when applied topically.

  • Relaxant: herbs used to relax tissues of the body and/or thought patterns.

  • Anxiolytic: herbs specifically tailored to address anxiety.


Hydration: hydration is key all throughout pregnancy, and can decrease chances of premature birth. Many of the herbal formulations I am planning are also geared toward hydration such as cold-water marshmallow and linden (also great for patterns of anxiety) overnight infusions, bone broth soups full of herbs (including adaptogens) and vegetables, and teas. I avoid excess caffeine and other diuretics, and prepared meals and take-out dinners full of salts – instead opting to cook my own nourishing meals at home. As a reminder to hydrate, I keep a liter of tea on my kitchen table in the morning, and put a glass of water in each room I frequent during the day. I listen to my body and do not ignore signs of thirst – you know, that electric yellow pee, dry mouth, less than supple skin, constipation, beginning of a pulsing headache, thoughts of drink, etc.


Hydration Formulae & Directions:

  • 1-tablespoon marshmallow root

  • 1-tablespoon linden leaf and flower

  • 1-quart of cool water in a French coffee press

  • Let it sit for 7+ hours, strain and enjoy it first thing in the morning

  • Wait for 2-hours before taking supplements to ensure absorption

In a hurry?

  • 1-teaspoon of marshmallow root added to a large cool glass of water

  • Let it sit for 30-minutes, stir and drink

  • Wait for 2-hours before taking supplements to ensure absorption


Flower essences: flower essences are sympathetic medicine and work deep down on an emotional and psychological level. A custom blend of flower essences, using a dropper, is placed 4-10 drops under the tongue 3x per day up to a month. That said, using the essence formulae will begin weeks leading up to the birth. Each time I use the flower essence formulae I meditate on the outcome and personal transformation I want to see – I begin to visualize it, but not dwell on it, and let the thought be taken up to spirit.


Personal Flower Essence Formulae:

  • Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) for courage, strength, and wisdom to draw on inner resources, and trust the ancient knowingness of matrilineal lineages past

  • Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) to ease one through the process of change and personal transformation, and support for the changes ahead

  • Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) is tender and strong, yet offering flexible care in times of birth – and courage for the unexpected


Soup: I have boxes or containers of pre-made organic and 100% grass-fed bone broth on hand that I can easily add my pre-prepped vegetables (conveniently frozen all together in a freezer bag) and herbs premixed contained in single-sized large cloth tea bags for each stew (no measuring needed, just place in and remove before serving). The bone broth adds easy intake and digestible protein, electrolytes, minerals, and nutrients to keep me going during the so-called marathon of birth.


Soup Brew Recipe:

  • In a large pot pour in a container of premade bone broth

  • Add diced vegetables of choice to the broth. I prefer leaks, onions, burdock root, lots of garlic, and maitake mushrooms

  • Add in pieces of seaweed for added minerals (do not strain out, just eat)

  • Add large cloth teabag of herbs and adaptogens such as nettle (mineral and iron-rich), ashwagandha root (adaptogen to help with stamina and perseverance), and schizandra berries (adaptogen to increase energy and help handle stress)

  • Warm on the stove, simmer herbs and vegetables for at least one hour

  • Add pepper to taste and serve warm, may even sip from a cup


Tea: Instead of drinking plain water in between, teas of wood betony (Stachys officinalis) to ground and center me, an added assurance to trust my body - the blend balanced by tulsi for its beautiful taste and adaptogenic (help handle the stress) and slightly awakening qualities.


Tinctures: tincture singles or blends are created and used as needed.


*Partridge berry (Michella repens) taken in small doses (1-2 droppers full 2x a day) one month leading up to the birth to strengthen the uterus.

  • Ghost Pipe (low dose), an herb with nervine and anodyne abilities, 1-3 drops under the tongue to help cope and provide distance from the pain to make it more manageable. Ghost pipe is at-risk for use only when needed.

  • Motherwort for releasing tension and smoothing smooth muscles to help alleviate pain. Mentally it will provide mothering support to the mother, to follow through with what is right for the mother and child

  • Lobelia (low dose), 1-4 drops under the tongue taken with ginger tincture to encourage relaxation and opening of the cervix

  • Cottonwood bark is only to be used with caution in times of hemorrhages. Strong infusions or a tincture blend of raspberry and/or blackberry leaf, sage, yarrow, and lady’s mantle will also protect against dangerous hemorrhage and is my preferred blend.


Balms: topical relaxant balm (base of olive oil and beeswax) infused with kava (numbing when applied), cayenne pepper (capsaicin blocks substance P providing direct analgesic action and increased blood flow to the area), and clove and lavender essential oil to dull pain signals (careful to avoid mucous membranes).


Aromatherapy: essential oils diffused to help calm and cleanse the air. The oils I have chosen are a personal and sacred blend to keep me calm and grounded.

  • Frankincense to calm, de-stress, comfort and serve as a respiratory aid

  • Lavender for its calming yet slightly stimulating effect to protect against fainting, and for shock recovery

  • Clary sage to calm and for its long history if aiding childbirth


Self-care non-negotiables: it is important not to neglect my basic needs - a healthy mother = healthy baby. My non-negotiables are sleep 8+ hours (or the space at least to attempt it); brush teeth and wash face twice daily; shower once daily; daily walk and ground in nature with the early morning sun.


Sending love and blessings to all expectant mothers. If you have questions, please reach out to me, Ashley, at ashley@hwapothicaire.com



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