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Postpartum Herbal Preparation

This is my personal herbal protocol for postpartum. 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 recovery.

I share my personal herbal took-kit to show how holistic herbalism may be incorporated into postpartum care. 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. It is also important to consider the best way to administer the potent plant properties – and when.

The experience of postpartum recovery is improved by the overall focus to eliminate stressors that may interfere with the body’s natural processes. One way to eliminate stressors and ensure positive outcomes is to eliminate food allergies and sensitivities, get good quality rest and sleep, get in light movement, spend time in nature, censure stressful media, reduce mental stress, and spend time engaging in positive relationships with people you love and care for.

There is a range of herbal actions that I am seeking in postpartum recovery:

  • Astringent: herbs that aid in contracting tissues, improving the integrity of vessels, and reducing secretions. Drying in nature due to tannin content.

  • Diuretic & lymphatic: herbs used to eliminate excess fluid retention byway of urination, move lymph and detoxify, and improve immune function.

  • Galactagogues: herbs to increase milk supply.

  • Antispasmodic: herbs used to ease painful cramping and spasms throughout the body.

  • Vulnerary & antiseptic: herbs used externally to soothe and heal compromised tissue, and prevent infection.

  • Digestive: herbs used to regulate and stimulate proper digestion.

  • Restorative, nutritive & adaptogenic: nutritive herbs to supply minerals and nutrients, adaptogens and restorative herbs to bring balance to the body.

  • Demulcent: herbs that bring and maintain hydration throughout the body needed to maintain all bodily processes, decrease fatigue, constipation, balance the effect of astringent herbs, and help increase milk supply by way of hydration.

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

  • Anxiolytic: herbs specifically tailored to address anxiety.

Hydration: hydration is key for recovery, fighting fatigue, flushing the body of toxins, and increasing milk supply by way of hydration. Think cold-water infusions of marshmallow and linden (also great for patterns of anxiety) overnight infusions, bone broth soups full of herbs (including adaptogens) and vegetables, and teas. 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.

Hydration Formulae & Directions:

· 1-tablespoon marshmallow root

· 1-tabelspoon 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 powder 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 for up to a month. Each time I use the flower essence formulae I meditate on the outcome and personal transformation I wish to see – I will begin to visualize it, but not dwell on it, and let the thought be taken up to spirit.

Personal Flower Essence Formulae:

  • Uva Ursi (Artostaphylos uva-ursi) to nurture the feminine, and access healing within female organs;

  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) to strengthen the connection to our Divine Mother and feel safe;

  • Hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium) aids in relaxation, finding joy, and letting go of what cannot be controlled – a gentle reminder to focus on health priorities;

  • Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) for sexual restoration in times of transition like postpartum.

Soup: I will 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-to-intake digestible protein, electrolytes and hydration, minerals, and nutrients for optimal recovery.

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), chili (to warm the body and aid circulation), chickweed, red clover (blossom only) and calendula (gentle lymphatic stimulants), and Solomon’s seal to aid in the recovery of connective tissue;

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

  • Add pepper to taste and serve warm.

Nutrition: easy-to-digest foods cooked and stewed rich with warming carminative herbs and iron-boosting wild or 100% grass-fed red meat. Meals are free of gluten, dairy, and industrial seed oils. Be sure to address your dietary needs and continue to eliminate food sensitivities and allergies.

*Avoid anything too spicy, as gums and digestion may be sensitive.

*Warming foods are encouraged to restore the body post-birth. I'll avoid cold/iced smoothies in favor of fiber-rich room temperature or warm smoothies (a.k.a. puddings).

Supplements: organ/marrow/liver capsules from 100% grass-fed animals; cod liver oil; magnesium.

Tea: instead of drinking plain water in between, teas of wood betony (Stachys officinalis) to ground and center me are mixed with herbs to increase milk supply (known as galactagogues). Some galactagogues include blessed thistle, milk thistle, fennel, and fenugreek. Because some of these herbs are bitter, a balanced chai decoction will add palatable flavor by also adding in cardamon, ginger, sweet cinnamon root, and vanilla bean. Blend with coconut cream and a drop or two of maple syrup if choose.

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

  • Shepard’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), to ease heavy bleeding (lochia) and reduce blood loss, two droppers full every hour until bleeding slows or ceases.

  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) to restore tone to reproductive organs, including the pelvic floor.

  • Yellow Doc (Rumex crispus) mild and non-habit-forming laxative, also high in iron and liver tonic. *For persistent constipation and a more pleasurable treat, Yellow Doc powder can be added to a cocoa or golden latte mix.

*Note on vitex: while this is a common herb used in postpartum, it should be used with caution or not at all with those with a tendency toward depression, anemia, magnesium deficiency, or those low on B vitamins.

Teas/lattes: some tea combinations I'll be reaching for tailored to my needs include lactation teas of blessed thistle, fenugreek, raspberry or blackberry leaf, fennel, ginger, and evening primrose; blood-building black chai with decaf coffee, and powdered mix of yellow dock, burdock root, roasted dandelion root, chicory, reishi, rosehips, beetroot, cardamon, ginger, maca, cinnamon and coconut puree.

Balms: nipple care with balms made of calendula and lanolin – unscented for their vulnerary and antifungal action. Avoid salves and balms on vaginal tissues still open, and in the early stages of healing – instead opt for water-based preparations that are antiseptic, astringent, and healing such as rose water infused with plantain (*see sitz bath recommendation).

*Avoid comfrey externally in the beginning stages of healing or open (or broken) wounds, as it can accelerate cell proliferation before the wound has an effective chance to clear irritants and pathogens increasing the likelihood of driving infection deep into the body. Avoid comfrey internally.

Topical oils: because during birth the body loses vital warmth, restoring the body with warm massage oils geared toward balancing depleted, cold and dry states can help. Infused oils (sesame and ghee blends) of cardamon, mustard seed, ginger, and exhalant and soothing vanilla spiked with vitamin E, warmed and messaged into the skin to move lymph will increase warmth, detoxify, and improve immunity. For a full body ritual check out abhyanga massage rituals – culturally performed in times of change and transition.

Sitz bath: dried yarrow, calendula, rose, and plantain to cleanse, soothe, and heal. Soak perineum 2-3x daily for the next 10 days (5 tablespoons per quart of water).

Aromatherapy: none, to encourage natural scent/skin-to-skin contact with the child.

Self-care non-negotiables: sleep 8+ hours (at least attempt and resist the urge to be “doing”); brush teeth and wash face twice daily; daily walk and ground in nature with the early morning sun.

*Asking for help! This is a precious time to heal, from a relationship with your child, and connect to partner. Avoid distractions by hiring professionals to clean the home and cook nutritious meals, and those who can aid therapeutically such as herbalists, chiropractic doctors, pelvic floor specialists, acupuncturists, lactation consultants, naturopathic physicians, and postpartum doulas. These professionals can put you on the right path to physical and mental recovery.

*Now is the time to “mother the mother” – a well-nurtured mother is truly able to care for her child to her fullest capacity. Mothers are not to neglect their own needs, self-care is a necessity if she is to care for their infant.

Sending love and blessings to all new mothers. If you have questions, please reach out to me, Ashley, at

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure.

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