When is it safe to start drinking pregnancy teas like Red Raspberry and Nettle Leaf?
The answer is: Pregnancy teas are safe and beneficial at any time in your pregnancy.
Below is an excerpt from Susun Weed's book Wisewoman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, 2010
Nettle Leaf Tea
Nettle leaf, or urtica dioca, is one of the finest nourishing tonics known. It is reputed to have more chlorophyll than any other herb. The list of vitamins and minerals in this herb includes nearly every one known as necessary for human health and growth.
Vitamins A, C, D, and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and sulphur are particularly abundant in nettles. The infusion is a dark green color approaching black. The taste is deep and rich. If you are blessed with a nettle patch near you, use the fresh plant as a pot herb in the spring.
The benefits of drinking nettle infusion include:
• Aiding the kidneys. The kidneys must cleanse 150% of your normal blood supply (you have more blood in pregnancy) for most of the pregnancy. Nettle’s ability to nourish and strengthen the kidneys is of major importance. Any accumulation of minerals in the kidneys, such as gravel or stones, is gently loosened, dissolved and eliminated by the consistent use of nettle infusions.
• Increasing fertility in women and men. Nourishing mother and fetus with a multitude of vitamins and minerals. Increasing the richness and amount of breast milk.
• Diminishing pain during and after birth. The high calcium content, which is readily assimilated, helps diminish muscle pains in the uterus, in the legs and elsewhere.
• Preventing hemorrhage. Nettle is a superb source of vitamin K, and increases available hemoglobin, both of which decrease the likelihood of hemorrhage.
• Reducing hemorrhoids. Nettle’s mild astringency and general nourishing action tightens and strengthens blood vessels, helps maintain arterial elasticity and improves venous resilience.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Brewed as a tea or as an infusion, raspberry is the best known, most widely used, and safest of all uterine and pregnancy tonic herbs. Most of the benefits ascribed to regular use of Raspberry Leaf tea through pregnancy are traced to the nourishing source of vitamins and minerals found in this plant and to the strengthening power of fragrine - an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus itself.
Of special note are the rich concentration of vitamin C, the presence of vitamin E and the easily assimilated calcium and iron. Raspberry leaves also contain vitamins A and B complex and many minerals, including phosphorous and potassium.
The benefits of drinking a red raspberry leaf infusion include:
• Increasing fertility in both men and women. Raspberry leaf is an excellent fertility herb, especially when combined with red clover.
• Preventing miscarriage and hemorrhage. Raspberry leaf tones the uterus and helps prevent miscarriage and postpartum hemorrhage from a relaxed or atonic uterus.
• Easing of morning sickness. Many attest to raspberry leaves’ gentle relief of nausea and stomach distress throughout pregnancy.
• Reducing pain during labor and after birth. By toning the muscles used during labor and delivery, raspberry leaf eliminates many of the reasons for a painful delivery and prolonged recovery.
• Assisting in the production of plentiful breastmilk. The high mineral content of raspberry leaf assists in milk production, but its astringency may counter that for some women.
• Providing a safe and speedy parturition. Raspberry leaf works to encourage the uterus to let go and function without tension. It does not strengthen contractions, but does allow the contracting uterus to work more effectively and so may make the birth easier and faster.
© Susun Weed 2010
Measure by weight one ounce of dried herb and place in a quart jar. Fill the jar to the top with boiling water, put the lid on and let it steep for a minimum of 4 hours (up to 8 hours for the abovementioned herbs) at room temperature. Strain the herbs off and discard. Drink infusion hot or cold, and refrigerate what you don’t drink right away. Drink 2-4 cups per day of either or both Nettle or Red Raspberry Leaf infusion.
Leaves contain the potent healer chlorophyll. Long steeping extracts all the chlorophyll, as well as the vitamins, minerals and other medicinal components of the leaves. Steeping in a closed jar keeps the water-soluble vitamins from escaping in the steam. NOT ALL HERBS ARE SAFE AS INFUSIONS (STEEPING FOR LONGER PERIODS OF TIME). Nettles and Red Raspberry ARE safe and beneficial as an infusion. On the other hand, Chamomile should only be steeped for a maximum of 30 minutes. For more comprehensive information see Susun Weed’s book: Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.
Sources for Quality Organic Herbs
Mountain Rose Herbs www.mountainroseherbs.com (Online)
The Homestead Apothecary homesteadapothecary.com (Berkeley)
Starwest Botanicals http://www.starwest-botanicals.com/ (Online)
Lhasa Karnak Herb Company www.herb-inc.com (Berkeley)
Buy 4-8 oz to start. Then, if you’d like to continue preparing and drinking infusions throughout pregnancy and postpartum, order 1 lb at a time.