What Herbs Should I Have for Postpartum?

During pregnancy, a woman is given endless advice (a lot of it unsolicited) about what she should and shouldn't be do.

She is told what she should and shouldn't do during labor (much of it conflicting, fear based, and out of date).

But when it comes to postpartum recovery - they are left in the dark. When they are discharged from a hospital, they get a piece of paper with a few sentences on recovery and what to look out for. Many times, its just "take tylenol and ibuprofen for pain" That is it.

It is a real shame. Magic happens postpartum and how a mother feels postpartum will be remembered just as vividly as the birth - more so if she is neglected, like many women are.

Clients who hire me can rest assured that postpartum time, they will not be forgotten, they will be nourished with food and herbs. They will be checked in on, at least by text, every day I am not at their home.

But not every family has the ability to hire a doula and while family is nice, there is a lot of emotional labor that comes with hosting a family member postpartum. 

This post is written to explain what herbs are handy postpartum (and WHY) and how to use them. 

What Herbs Should I Have for Postpartum?

1) Herbal Peri Rinse and Sitz Bath

My favorite herbs to blend together for this are: Calendula(antimicrobial and vulnerary), Lavender (antimicrobial and soothing inflammation), Yarrow (antimicrobial, vulnerary, and astringent), Witch hazel (astringent), and Plantain (soothing vulnerary).

Occasionally, Uva ursi is a good one to throw in as its is a powerhouse for urinary tract infections (both internally and externally).

Take 1 cup of each herb and blend together. Store away from light.

To make: take 1/3 cup of herb blend and add 1 quart boiling water. Steep, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain

To use: add the infusion to your peri bottle OR into a shallow bath in the tub. These herbs are safe for baby so baby seems to be having some diaper rash, you can use them in wash the diaper area. 

The infusion will last a few days in the fridge but most likely you will go through it in a day. 

2) Herbal Nourishing Infusions

Buying a nice stock of any of the herbs I talk about in "My Favorite Nourishing Infusions" are great for postpartum. I like to give Nettle to my clients to help them while they bleed postpartum. Nettle is blood building making it great for women during their moon bleeding (menses or postpartum).

Oatstraw is fantastic for the nervous system and Red raspberry leaf for the reproductive system are the other two that are MUSTS for postpartum mamas.

Follow the link above for the whole process on making nourishing infusions.

3) Mama's Tea

There are many blends for postpartum mamas on the market. Here are the herbs I like to include in my blend:

  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Nettle
  • Milky Oats
  • Catnip
  • Dandelion leaf

The red raspberry leaf is a tonic for our reproductive system, the Nettle - blood building as mentioned in the nourishing infusion section, Milky oats - tonifying to the nervous system (great for anxious new moms!), Catnip - nervine and relaxing to the nervous system, Dandelion leaf - supports the liver and kidney. 

During postpartum we are flooding with hormones. Hormones are processed and removed from the body through the liver (and kidneys for urine), if our liver and kidneys are slow, they are overwhelmed by all the hormones and that can lead to more pronounce mood swings, acne, and just a general feeling of fatigue (postpartum wise). Dandelion leaf is gentle for this AND can help with milk supply!

4) Afterpain Relief

A trio of Crampbark (Viburnum opulus), White willow (Salix alba), and Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) in tincture form, is a great way to feel some relief from the cramping in postpartum. This blend is also really nice for and menstrual cramping later and is even a nice blend for muscle cramping. 

My favorite tinctures have been my handmade but I love the tinctures from Red Moon Herbs Ordering from Mountain Rose Herb is a great option and Herb Pharm is a good quality brand on Amazon.

There are also several blends made already like Afterease tincture from WishGarden.

If you buy the single tinctures, you can blend them together in equal parts in another amber bottle. Then you will still have the single tinctures on their own for more medicine making!

5) St Johns Wort and Calendula Infused Oil

This is a wonderful oil for muscle aches and pain. It can use applied even when you are taking the above herbs for cramping. Its also going to help with any skin issues that flare from the hormones of pregnancy and postpartum.

It makes me smile just thinking about it.

If you make your own, be sure to use FRESH (albeit slightly wilted) St John's wort flowers. That is where the hypericin is. Dried Calendula is just fine.

If you can't find them together, you can always mix them together!

6) Homeopathic Arnica

While this falls into the homeopathic realm (versus herbalism), every home should have homeopathic Arnica. This is a go to remedy to recover from trauma and helps with bruising and swelling. 

With this collection of herbs, you will be able to cover so much of what you will need for the postpartum time. I am partial to having the individual herbs and tinctures and blending them because then I can use them in several recipes as needed.

What about you - is there any herbs you found was a MUST HAVE in the postpartum period?