(Please note: I am not a doctor or a physician. I cannot diagnose or treat any medical conditions or illnesses. I am an herbal alchemist and intuitive healer and the information that I provide you with is a blend of historical and modern sources, from folklore and personal experience. This post is purely meant to provide assistance in the form of herbal remedies and information. It is not intending to replace the professional advice and care of a qualified herbal or medical practitioner. Please do not attempt to self-diagnose or self-prescribe for serious long-term problems without first consulting a qualified professional. Heed the caution given, and if already taking prescribed medicines, seek professional advice before using herbal remedies. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you.)
It was because of my babies that I began my path to herbalism – looking for any way to cope, to heal. I had the hardest time with breastfeeding and happened to come across an article in 2017 about a fenugreek tea that helped new moms with their milk supply. That was my first experience with herbalism and I haven’t looked back since.
Since then, I have logged over 1,600 hours of herbal training and work, learning how to better my own life and that of my family through herbal remedies. I have learned how to naturally balance my hormones with herbal extracts, how to cure coughs, congestion, upset tummies, and emotional turmoil in myself and my babies, how to alleviate the terrible PMS I’ve experienced since having babies, how to boost our immune systems and improve digestion and remedy cuts and bruises. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned so far is how to listen to my body (and those of my children) and know what can help it, instead of reaching for a prescription or OTC pill.
There are two books that changed my life as an herbalist and I still use them as references to this day. Combining the information found in these two books completely shifted my life of herbalism, from cooking to finding remedies for my family to brewing my own teas for support that I needed as a mama. I try very hard not to have regrets, but I wish I’d known about some of these remedies much sooner.
The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride
The Woman’s Herbal Apothecary by JJ Pursell
Although my time as a “new mom” has passed, I am passionate and driven to learn about (and pass on) anything that may help a struggling mama, because I am still one as well. If you know anyone that could benefit from this information, please pass it along so that we can heal together.
30 Herbal Remedies
(Most of these herbs can be consumed as a tea or added to food and beverages. There are also tinctures (liquid form) and plant extracts that come in capsules and make it easier to take daily that can be found in most natural grocery stores and online. Please do your research and consult your physician before consuming.)
Alfalfa Leaf – If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you probably know how important it is to include plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet, even after you’ve given birth. Alfalfa is great for mineral deficiencies and can easily be added to smoothies or cooked meals. It has an alkalizing effect on the body and combats the overly acidic nature of the digestive tract, which can relieve indigestion and heartburn. It can also relieve generalized fatigue, which we all know affects every mama even after delivery.
For wilted alfalfa greens, pick, wash, and chop two cups of the fresh plant and place in a frying pan. Pour two teaspoons of vegetable oil or bacon grease into the pan and add salt if desired. Heat and stir until the leaves have wilted, then eat immediately.
Add the delicious and healthy sprouts to sandwiches, soups, toast, and salads.
Allspice – Building your immune system is vital during and after pregnancy. We forget how important the after pregnancy part of that is, when our immunities are even lower due to lack of sleep and hormonal imbalance. Adding allspice to your drinks and food helps combat cold and flu, enhances the delivery of nutrients throughout the body, and is a digestive aid.
Sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and allspice on your toast.
Add a little to any flour mix for pancakes, muffins, cookies/biscuits, bread, or hot chocolate.
Sprinkle in a foot bath for cold and achy feet.
Angelica – This herb is known as a superior women’s reproductive tonic, as it gently warms the pelvis, relieving pelvic congestion and providing circulation to the uterus. It also treats menstrual headaches and PMS digestive upset, which can worsen after childbirth, and balances the menstrual cycle.
The leaves of the angelica plant can be used to flavor fish, poultry, cooked fruits, soups, or stews, while its stems can be cut and prepared like asparagus, chopped and stewed with rhubarb and apples, minced in preserves and marmalade, or candied and cut up to serve as decorations on cakes.
Anise Seed – An herb of many uses, anise seed increases milk production in breastfeeding moms and soothes digestion and gas. Anise seed oil can be used to relieve menstrual cramping and/or tender breasts. A few teaspoon drops of anise seed tea can be given to babies that suffer from colic. It’s also known to dispel abdominal cramping, constipation, indigestion, and headaches, plus hinder the flu and keep your lungs clear of mucus.
Add to teas and soups. A single star can flavor a whole stew.
Ashwagandha – You will more than likely experience intense emotional highs and lows through pregnancy and for a while after birth. Herbs like ashwagandha that calm the central nervous system are incredibly useful during this time. This herb can also be used to treat both types of anemia, balance the natural sleep cycle, improve brain function, decrease overall fatigue, and can calm excitable states.
Simmer your choice of milk in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in cinnamon, turmeric, ashwagandha, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg. Season with pepper. Add a little coconut oil and reduce heat to low, continuing to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Let it cool down, then drink.
Astragalus – Another immune booster, astragalus reduces stress, increases resilience and stamina, invigorates vital force, and restores energy levels. It finds imbalance in the body and corrects it, which is exceptionally helpful after delivery, and counteracts the ravages of stress on the body.
“Autumn is a good time to consume it as it builds the immune system before cold and flu season and strengthens the body’s resistance to sickness by inhibiting viral growth and increasing natural killer cells and the overall ability of the body to scavenge pathogenic bacteria”, according to Kami McBride, author of The Herbal Kitchen.
Bring about 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium-sized cooking pot. Add 3 to 5 tablespoons of dried astragalus root or 4 ounces of fresh astragalus root. Let boil for about 3 to 4 minutes, then pour through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and drink.
Basil – You might already enjoy this herb in pasta dishes and as pesto, but did you know that it calms the nervous system and clears the mind? It also helps to fight colds, flu, and allergies and a tea made of basil works on almost any digestive complaint, such as constipation, cramping, and gas.
Add a little honey to your basil tea.
Dry some basil during the summer for winter sauces and dressings.
Eating more basil in the late summer and early fall helps fend off sinus and bronchial congestion during winter.
Black Cohosh – Hormonal imbalances during and after childbirth can wreak havoc on not only the lives of mamas, but also those who care about depend on those mamas. Black cohosh works to balance the hormones, reduce pain and discomfort such as cramping or ovarian pain. It also quiets the womb (unless it’s time for birth), reduces muscle tension caused by stress and anxiety, and relieves pelvic congestion.
Teas may not be as effective in treating menopausal symptoms but two capsules should provide the recommended daily dose.
To make a black cohosh drink, pour 20 grams of dried root in 34 ounces of water. Boil and then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until it is reduced by a third.
Blessed Thistle – Known as a “corrective” for reproductive systems, this herb regulates the menstrual cycle, increases breast milk supply, and helps those experiencing emotional fluctuations. Its ability to gently cleanse the blood also makes it helpful for troublesome skin conditions such as acne, which some moms suffer from due to hormones.
Generally prepared as a tea.
Blue Cohosh – Traditionally, blue cohosh is prepared with black cohosh and served as a tea in the final week of pregnancy as it prepares the uterus and body for labor. It can also provide relief when labor has persisted for too long by supporting an exhausted uterus in regular and strong contractions, which could help you avoid using Pitocin or another medical intervention.
Burdock Root – As I mentioned before, your immunities are likely to drop during and even after pregnancy, but this underrated super herb can be used throughout pregnancy to prevent illness and to stay vital and well. Saturated with minerals, burdock can be eaten or consumed as a tea and is high in calcium, phosphorous, iron, chromium, and magnesium. Burdock also has nutritive and demulcent properties that give it a restorative quality that nourishes the body and soothes the skin, which can prevent the acne that accompanies hormonal changes.
To cook with burdock root, wash the roots well to remove dirt and grit, then slice into one inch rounds. Place them in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out onto a sheet pan, cut sides down. Roast for 15 minutes or until golden on one side, then flip.
Calendula – This glowing yellow flower has more benefits than I can list here. It’s known to be a gentle normalizer for the reproductive system, reduce menstrual cramping, reduce bleeding and pelvic congestion, and encourage healthy flow of the lymph. It can be consumed as a tea or used topically to heal cuts and wounds. If you suffer from inflammation or “tearing” during birth, make a poultice out of calendula petals and gently hold it to the affected area multiple times a day. You can also put the petals in a warm bath with Epsom salt and soak in that instead.
Add calendula petals to any tea.
The blossoms can also be added to soups or cream cheese, sauces, tarts, preserves, pickles, fritters, and soft cheeses.
Celery Seed – * Should not be used during pregnancy * This is one of those “mom secrets” I wish I would’ve known earlier: the magic of celery seed. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it seems to soothe panic and stress in women and moms in particular, or those who are easily worried or triggered. You can make a tincture out of it to take daily or consume it as a tea. It’s also a decongestant, it activates digestion, alleviates fluid retention (or water weight), plus it alleviates a broad range of ailments including anxiety, arthritis, bronchitis, colds and flu, colic, coughs, gas, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, etc.
Use in dishes that benefit from its warm, bitter flavor, such as soup stocks, boiling liquid for shellfish, mayonnaise dressings, or meatloaf.
Chamomile – Great for mom and baby, you can never go wrong with chamomile. I’ve used it to treat anxiety in myself and my children. It makes a delicious iced tea with honey that helps ease children’s tummies and calms them down a little. It’s known as a digestive that relaxes the nervous system and eases insomnia, restlessness, and irritability, plus it balances hormones. Try some of these herbal chamomile combinations for yourself:
Chamomile-fennel tea settles an upset stomach caused by stress or anxiety.
Chamomile-cinnamon tea relaxes the uterus and alleviates painful menstrual cramps.
Chamomile-ginger tea reduces stress-induced inflammation that creates headaches, heartburn, gastritis, and stomach irritations.
Chickweed – After having my second child, I encountered mastitis for the first time. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, and back then I wish I’d known more about how to alleviate it instead of walking around crying with cabbage leaves stuffed in my bra. Not only does chickweed balance the hormones, but it cools the liver and relieves hot flashes, and it can be applied topically as a poultice for mastitis.
For buttered chickweed, wash chickweed thoroughly then place in boiling salted water. Cook for only two or three minutes, drain well and add butter to taste. Reserve the liquid to make a tea or use to make rice.
Cinnamon – I was floored when I learned how useful cinnamon actually is medicinally. I always assumed it simply added flavor to drinks and food and smelled good when it was burned, but it turns out that it actually benefits uterine fibroids and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), relieves cough and congestion, relieves painful menstrual cramping and headaches, and moves stagnated energy and blood from the reproductive system, which is known to cause discomfort, bloating, and irritability.
Add a cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon to tea and steep until it is strong, then drink to relieve PMS or menstrual symptoms.
Coriander/Cilantro – As an herbalist, my favorite herbs to highlight for moms are the ones that help with anxiety and digestion. Everything feels so out of whack from the time that you learn you’re pregnant to… well, my oldest is almost six and I still feel out of whack. It seemed like it took forever to get daily functions like my appetite and digestive system back to normal. Coriander seed and fresh Cilantro can actually help with that. As a digestive, it relieves intestinal cramps and spasms, it helps with anxiety and nervous tension, it has an anti-inflammatory effect, and it happens to be rich in potassium and other nutrients.
Add coriander seed or dried cilantro to tea or smoothies for benefits or garnish food with fresh Cilantro leaves.
Corn Silk – My family loves corn on the cob. Sometimes it’s our one reason to get the grill going outside. But when I learned what the silky strands wrapped around the kernels could do, I really fell in love. Those annoying strands that you probably throw out to compost actually contain easily assimilated nutrients. It’s a tonic to the prostate and urinary tract that soothes and relaxes the lining of the urinary tract and bladder, relieving irritation and improving urine flow and elimination. It’s a great remedy for anyone experiencing incontinence or any type of urinary discomfort, which is common after childbirth.
Brew the silk as a tea or use as a topping on salads, minced into tiny pieces. Two cups of the tea a day for several weeks can help with cystitis, urethritis, and prostatitis. You can also dry and save it for later.
Dandelion Leaf/Root – Here’s a surprisingly nutritive tonic that enhances overall wellness, and it just might be in your backyard. Dandelion contains insulin, which nourishes the beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and enhances digestion. It also supports healthy liver and gallbladder function and stimulates the flow of bile, which breaks down cholesterol and fat.
The bitter flavor helps maintain healthy digestive function and premium nutrient absorption into the later years of life. Dandelion also nurtures the liver in its assimilation and storage of vitamins, minerals, and sugars and improves blood filtration to remove old cells and harmful bacteria while maintaining healthy hormone balance.
Combine in a tea fresh or dry with Burdock Root for a safe and gentle detox. You can also add the fresh Dandelion leaves to salads, sandwiches, and soups.
Fennel Seed – This herb will be useful beyond the “new mom” stage, and that goes for your baby too. Children usually enjoy the licorice-like flavor of fennel seed and it helps them with stomachaches, constipation, coughs, and excess mucus. It’s also a reliable antispasmodic and great for relieving abdominal cramping associated with poor digestion.
Surprisingly, fennel seed is also known to improve vision, enhance mental clarity, and has an overall restorative and calming effect. Its aromatic, carminative properties help with nausea, belching, and bloating caused by indigestion.
Steep fennel seeds, chamomile, and ginger in apple cider vinegar to make your own gripe water for digestive complaints. Fennel seed tea can also stop a chronic cough.
Fenugreek – My first introduction to fenugreek was in a tea meant to help establish my supply of breast milk once it came in, and I have to admit I was reluctant. I’d struggled through the trenches of breastfeeding twice before, only to make it about four miserable months before I gave up and accepted that the bottle was okay too.
I was completely wrong, however. Within about 48 hours, my dwindling milk supply was transformed into a constantly leaking boob fountain, and I was grateful. I can’t recommend fenugreek enough to new mamas. It’s a nourishing tonic made up of nutrients that revitalize and restore the body. It’s also known to help with inflammation in the sinus, mouth, throat, lungs, and colon, plus relieves sinusitis, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoids.
Powdered fenugreek can be added to baking flour for pancakes and savory muffins or put in a tea for a sore throat gargle. The tea is also a good skin wash for topical inflammation including minor cuts, scrapes, and bug bites. Try taking fenugreek baths if you suffer from irritated and itchy skin.
Ginger Root – For my whole life, my mom has pushed ginger at me for everything from stomachaches to bloating an menstrual cramps, but I could never get passed the pungency of it. I’ve finally developed more of a palette as an adult but to this day, I use very little Ginger at a time, and usually in a hot tea with honey.
The benefits of Ginger Root are just as hard to ignore as the taste. It increases circulation, gets rid of mucus congestion, settles an upset stomach, dispels gas, relieves aches and pain, reduces inflammation and menstrual cramps, supports the pancreas, and stimulates digestion.
Another benefit of Ginger Root that many people don’t know about is that it works to lower blood levels of triglycerides that are common in diabetes. Including more Ginger in your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Make a ginger-star anise honey and take it by the teaspoonful when you feel a cold coming on. The ginger will help you perspire and sweat out the illness.
Juniper Berry – Something that I didn’t expect after having babies was the physical healing that my entire body had to go through. Adding Juniper to your diet can alleviate and heal an array of ailments, from strained muscles and achy backs to arthritic pains and strengthening the connective tissue in arteries and veins.
USE SPARINGLY OR AVOID ALTOGETHER IF YOU HAVE KIDNEY DISEASE.
Chew on a few berries for a sore throat or to enhance circulation and lymph drainage.
Add to seasonings for fish, wild meats, and fermenting vegetables.
Mix powdered Juniper Berry into pancake batter, warm breakfast grains, and cookie dough.
Make an oil and use it to rub on sore muscles or spice up a marinade.
Lavender – It’s possible you’ve already been using Lavender Oil for aromatherapy, but have you tried cooking with it yet? I just discovered how useful and lovely it is with food, plus the anti-anxiety benefits carry over when it’s consumed.
Lavender has antibacterial properties that make it exceptionally useful to cook with during cold and flu season. Master of nerve tonics, lavender can help you respond to the stressors of life in a less stressful way as it’s a strengthening tonic to the nervous system, helps with irritability and restlessness, calms anger and agitation, and invokes an uplifted feeling of well-being.
It’s also an amazing topic skin healer and helpful in easing pestilent skin conditions such as rashes and eczema.
Use lavender in pestos, soups, stir-fries, sauces, and marinades. Let it permeate meats in the form of a vinegar added to drinks, dipping sauces, and salad dressings.
Rub meats with lavender-rosemary salt and make lavender-lemonade in the summer.
A lavender bath can relieve headaches, muscle strain, tension, and general aches and pains. Take a rosemary and lavender bath frequently if prone to headaches.
Disinfect your home by boiling lavender in a large pot with the lid off. The aromatic oils fill the air, sanitizing and energetically cleansing the environment.
Lemon Balm – There are very few herbs that I can get my own children to interact with outside of smelling a flower, and lemon balm is one of them. I make it as a cold tea with honey for them and it works to keep away snotty noses, plus it can calm an upset child. This is “the herbal companion of choice in the face of anxiety and emotional unrest and intervenes when emotional states take over your life”, according to Kami McBride, author of The Herbal Kitchen.
Lemon Balm also has a palliative effect on excessive mental activity and it can moderate the intensity of mood swings and mild depression, while helping with sleep disorders.
Drink it as a tea, garnish lemonades with it, put fresh leaves in a hot bath before soaking, or chop the leaves and add them to cream dips and fruit salads.
Nutmeg – More than just a baking spice, nutmeg is a carminative and a super digestive aid. Traditionally, it’s been used to treat diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and digestive problems including gastroenteritis and malabsorption. It’s great for consuming as the weather gets colder as it promotes digestion and nutrient absorption.
Nutmeg can be used to relax the muscles and calm the nervous system when mixed with warm milk, and also mediates the effects of rich food, too many desserts, overeating, and late-night eating.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, stir 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg into very warm raw milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Drink 30 minutes before going to bed to relax muscles and tension.
Nutmeg and cardamom added to warm almond milk can make a rejuvenating drink for depletion and exhaustion.
Oatstraw – Full of minerals and trace minerals, plus vitamins A and B, Oatstraw also makes a pleasant, mildly sweet tea that can help counteract the effects of a stressful lifestyle. It doesn’t necessarily take the place of sleep but it can help with irritability, anxiety, nervousness, and exhaustion associated with stress.
Oatstraw is gentle yet strong, and soothing yet protective. Does that sound like your average mama? Using it over time can help you feel calmer, more grounded and centered, and more capable of adjusting to your environment.
An herbal infusion can be made with Oatstraw and consumed daily to nourish and tonify your nervous system. It also helps build healthy teeth and bones due to its high content of calcium. Therefore, Oatstraw is not only one of the most calming herbs, but it’s also very nutritious.
To make an Oatstraw infusion, gather an ounce of the herb and put in a quart-sized jar with a lid. Fill the jar with boiling hot water and put the lid on. Let it steep for 4 to 6 hours to pull the minerals into the solution. Strain the herbs out and store in the refrigerator.
Parsley – Both types of parlsey (flat and curly leaf) are full of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and magnesium while also being rich in chlorophyll, magnesium, and flavonoids, making it an overall tonic for health and wellness.
In addition, Parsley is an effective remedy for PMS symptoms, allergies or a runny nose, and detoxifying waste from the body when consumed as a tea.
To brew Parsley tea, boil one cup of water in a saucepan. Rinse and chop ¼ cups of fresh Parsley (or two tablespoons of dried Parsley) and add it to the bottom of a mug. Pour hot water over it and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the leaves out and serve.
Rosemary – Rosemary is an evergreen shrub with a woodsy aroma and leaves like needles. Though it’s best known as a seasoning in the culinary world, Rosemary is one of the most popular aromatic and medicinal plants internationally. Rosemary’s essential oil, which contains the plant’s core compounds, is extracted and sold online and in local natural grocers such as Whole Foods.
Rosemary oil has been used for centuries in folk medicine, and with incredible results. In ancient Greece and Rome, Rosemary was thought to strengthen the memory. Studies have shown that it can also treat hair loss by applying diluted Rosemary oil to the scalp twice daily, which has proven to promote an increase in hair thickness.
In folk medicine, Rosemary is used as a mild pain reliever. In fact, research suggests that Rosemary oil may be slightly more effective for pain than acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter pain medication. This oil can also be used as an alternative to chemical products for an insect repellent to naturally kill certain insects in the garden, and has been shown to have the longest repellent effect on mosquitoes.
Rosemary oil can be inhaled or applied topically. Only use a few drops at a time, as the oil is very concentrate.
The easiest way to inhale Rosemary oil is to simply open the bottle and breathe it in. You can also add a few drops to a cloth or tissue and hold it close enough to your face to inhale it.
An aromatherapy diffuser can also be used to safely distribute the essential oil into the air.
Thyme – This is an herb you’re going to want to sneak into every smoothie due to its wide range of benefits. Thyme improves all problems associated with the lungs and throat, expedites the healing of chronic and acute bronchial infection, coughs, chest colds, sore throats, and sinus problems.
Thyme is also full of minerals and trace minerals including iron. Drinking thyme tea is beneficial during menstruation, menopausal changes, and childbirth. It’s also a very strong antibacterial and antioxidant that keeps pathogenic bacteria from growing in your food, helping to preserve meats and keep oils from going bad. Thyme also stimulates the movement of energy, blood, and oxygen to the digestive track.
Whip thyme and oregano into a room-temperature butter before putting it on Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes as it helps to digest the starch in root vegetables.
Swish a thyme tea gargle for sore throats and gum inflammation.
Take thyme honey to expel mucus.
Cook with thyme oil to support respiratory health in general.
Obviously there are many more herbs out there that can assist with certain areas of healing within your physical and emotional body. Every mama and every baby is different and what works for me, may not work for you. The best part of the herbal journey is discovering what works. As I said before, please heed any caution given before using herbal remedies on yourself or anyone else.
If you’re interested in furthering your herbal journey, we offer multiple educational courses that focus on holistic healing and herbs as natural remedies, including medicinal cannabis. Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns at FryedHouse@gmail.com
Thank you for reading!