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Herbs in Postpartum Healing

This blog post is sourced from a talk given by Jennifer Magnano, Ayurvedic Postpartum Specialist, Maternal Child Mental Health Advocate & Director of Postpartum Care in conjunction with Cherry Blossom Birth Worker Trainings in June 2023. For more on Cherry Blossom Trainings, check out our community newsletter here or find us on IG!

Is there a place for herbs in postpartum?

This is the question that I asked (though in slightly different terms) over a decade ago, as I began my journey into Ayurvedic medicine (Traditional Indian Medicine dating back over 5,000 years). Why? Because in Ayurveda, we look at lifestyle as the most restorative factor in postpartum healing.

This means we suggest, advocate for, and empower mothers and birthing people with timeless practices of all kinds that support healing. In my personal training, we put these practices in four main categories or groups:

  • Nourishment
  • Mindfulness
  • Body work or body care, and
  • Rest

Why do these matter? A well nervous system changes the game. It amplifies and supports complete postpartum healing and it welcomes this transition with greater ease.

So, this is your call-to-action:

Look at lifestyle first.

For yourself and your clients, if you work in this wild, holy community of postpartum bodies and lives.

When you’re doing everything

There are cases and circumstances where you have done everything – and you haven’t received the results you would like. It could be that a clogged duct or mastitis occurs. Your mental health might not be at the height you expected. In these cases, you may want to consider herbal therapies!

In these cases, there are literally dozens of herbal options for postpartum.

There are many, many herbs intended by Mother Nature herself for healing and/or breastfeeding bodies. Herbs that can radically change your life!

What are my favorites?

Here are three…

Herbs for postpartum healing

Herbs have been a part of my (Jennifer’s) life since childhood. I feel immensely grateful to have always known that plants were/are medicine! So, when it came to my healing journey in postpartum – I knew that I would absolutely want to learn everything I could about which plants would benefit my body and mind most. Thirteen years ago, even not knowing the lifestyle foundation as intimately as I do today – several changed my life.

Let’s talk about adaptogens. Adaptogens are a class of adrenal-stabilizing herbs that radically shift how your body responds to stress. Ashwagandha is one of the most commonly used herbs in Ayurveda for postpartum; and, it’s used to decrease cortisol (stress) levels. With most of my Ayurvedic clients, I recommend it after the first week or so postpartum. (Let’s allow all the hormones to shift first!)

Ashwagandha is best as tablet, tincture or powder form. And, it’s similar to and more cost effective than Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Ginseng. (An herb more familiar to many). I consistently recommend that folks see a provider if when considering this herb and have history with thyroid.*

Another herb that I really love for postpartum bodies is Tulsi, or Holy Basil. As a tea or tincture it may relieve stress after birth, aid with sleep, manage anxiety, improve focus, and aid digestion! It is one of the most versatile herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s our back up plan for those who cannot tolerate Ashwaganda. And, the longer that I personally use it – the greater testimony I have. Tulsi is really a magical herb choice for many body types, pairing well with Nettle and Rose especially in postpartum.*

Last but not least, let’s talk about Nettle. Nettle is frequently used immediately postpartum in tea, tincture or food (soup) form. It is known as a blood rebuilder, lactation support and uterine tonic. It can be found in many Asian markets, though not year round. Typically, in dried form you can buy it in bulk for quite a discounted rate – making it another affordable option for postpartum families!

Click here to grab our full guide.

Considerations and contraindications *

Friend, you and/or your client knows best (in conjunction with providers as needed). When needed, utilize reputable websites to investigate specifics with herbs before using – especially if on any Western medication from your health care team. While we love herbal medicine, it’s not for all bodies all the time. Additionally, look at the constitution of your herb. Just like human bodies, plants have specific ways they present themselves to be used. For example, Tulsi is wonderful and in postpartum bodies it may be drying without additional and supportive herbs like Nettle or Rose.

So, what’s a postpartum human to do?

Listen to your life. Listen to the wisdom of your body. If herbs feel like they would be of benefit to your postpartum path, start talking to your local herbalist, midwife or our Ayurvedic postpartum team for encouragement and support.

You can also find our Common & Traditional Postpartum Guide right here.

Congratulations on taking the steps to live your best life, dear soul!

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