top of page

The Use of Herbs in the Childbearing Year: A Tool for Your Toolbox of Knowledge



Herbalist Susun Weed said it best when she wrote that “the childbearing year is a time of change and an opportunity to grow, filled with rapid physical adjustments and fierce emotions” (Weed, 1996). With the amount of change that the human body goes through during the childbearing year, it is only natural that it may require some extra love and support along the way. There are a variety of ways that we can support our bodies during this time, incorporating herbs being one of them!


Most people hear the word medicine and jump straight to the idea that this means treating the body with pharmaceutical intervention when that is simply not the case. The definition of medicine is “the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease” (Green, 2000). Take a peek at the ‘Spectrum of Medicine’ listed above. The first step in supporting the body should be through the use of food. The food that we consume fuels the body with the necessary vitamins and nutrients to thrive. If we experience deficiencies, the first place we should be looking is our diet. There are times when our food isn’t able to fully supply the body with what it needs because the demand for certain nutrients is too high. This is when most people look towards pharmaceutical supplementation, but did you know that there is a step that we can take before that? It's called herbs! Many different types of herbs contain medicinal properties that can nourish and gently heal the body. Herbs have been recorded as being used by our ancestors for thousands of years. The use of medicinal herbs is not limited to people who have deficiencies in their body. They can also be used by someone seeking a preventative approach toward their health.


There are many herbs that can be safely added to a person’s daily regime

to support overall health and wellness. In modern-day medicine, we have a fairly good understanding of the types of changes a person’s body goes through in pregnancy and the needs that their body will have as the pregnancy progresses. With this knowledge available to us, we can integrate the use of herbs into a pregnant person’s diet to support their body through these changes in order to prevent needing further interventions (such as pharmaceutical drugs). Herbs are natural, organic substances that are readily available and affordable. The most important part about using herbs medicinally is to understand how to do it safely.



References:


Green, J., & A. (2000). The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual (Illustrated ed.). Crossing Press.


Weed, S. S. (1996). Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (1) (Illustrated ed.). Ash Tree Publishing.


Crawford, A. M. (1997). Herbal Remedies for Women: Discover Nature’s Wonderful Secrets Just for Women (Illustrated ed.). Harmony.





Herbal Safety during the Childbearing Year

Always check in with your primary provider before adding a new herbal remedy to your supplement regime.


A large part of herbal safety is harnessing the proper mindset around their usage. There is a common theme taught amongst famous herbalists regarding the idea that herbal medicine making is a very instinctual endeavor. It is a practice that is woven into our DNA, and passed down from our ancestors. Our trust in our instincts partnered with the knowledge that we can obtain through a variety of guides, we all can become well-rounded herbalists.


Beginning the process of learning herbalism can be overwhelming. Learning how and when to use herbs is a lot to take in all at once. A beneficial place to start is to get to know herbs. Get to know what they look like, what parts of the plant can you use, why would you want to use them, and so on.


Susan Weed in her book “The Childbearing Year” discusses a very straightforward way to dive into the learning process of herbalism and harvesting. She breaks down the learning process into a few simple steps. Step one is to open your senses to plants. Let that instinctive knowledge flood your brain and body. Once you have opened your mind to this idea, utilize a personal guidebook and go out in nature. Surround yourself with plants and get to know and understand their characteristics and what these characteristics mean.


Once you have a general understanding of plant characteristics, obtain a field guide. Field guides can provide you with the knowledge of specific plant identification as well as the Latin name given to them. Once you can confidently identify a plant, then it can be looked up in an herbal medicine book where you can learn about its medicinal properties and recipes on how to utilize it.


A quote that has stuck with me as I enter my journey into herbal medicine making is this; “A long time ago, someone told me a good herbalist not only knows twenty herbs but also knows twenty uses for one herb.” (Jackie Johnson, N.D.). Herbal medicine differs from Western medicine. There is not a singular herb that should be used for a specific symptom. Do not hesitate to find the perfect herb to treat a specific symptom in

the body. Try out a variety and experiment. Once you understand the basics of herbal safety, there is a lot of room for experimentation. A general safety rule with herbal medicine is to always start out small, and grow into specific doses of herbs. There is no harm in underdosing, there is harm in overdosing. It is important to understand that the body knows how to heal itself, herbs will only assist the body in its natural healing process. Always air on the side of caution when trying out new herbs and always check in with your primary provider before adding a new herbal remedy to your supplement regime.



References:


Johnson, N. J. D. (2018, January 25). Getting to Know the Valerian Plant. Herbal Academy. https://theherbalacademy.com/getting-to-know-the-valerian-plant/


Green, J., & A. (2000). The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual (Illustrated ed.). Crossing Press.


Crawford, A. M. (1997). Herbal Remedies for Women: Discover Nature’s Wonderful Secrets Just for Women (Illustrated ed.). Harmony.


Weed, S. S. (1996). Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (1) (Illustrated ed.). Ash Tree Publishing.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page