If you enjoyed the last blog post about POWERHOUSE Infusion, you may be interested to know that there is a pregnancy-version of the blend available. The Motherlode is a prenatal tonic which, following with the idea that prevention is the best medicine, can be drunk daily during pregnancy to circumvent or diminish many common problems and discomforts in the childbearing year. Rather than wait for complications to develop which you may then need more invasive interventions in order to be rescued from, incorporating infusion into your diet is a lovely way get ahead of these problems while being supremely nourished, and is as safe as eating salad. This is a blend of four safe, non-toxic, plants with no warnings or strict dosage instructions (more information on each one is listed below). They are called food grade herbs, or in the folk medicine tradition, are referred to as ‘pot herbs’: herbs so safe, you could put them in your pot and cook them for dinner!
In addition to its safe and gently medicinal actions, infusion provides a plethora of important nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, plant proteins, and essential fatty acids, in an instantly and fully absorbable, plant-based form. Rather than provide redundant information here about the ins and outs of infusion, you can read about it here on the last blog post. But, in short, infusion is another word for “really strong tea,” and is made by brewing a larger amount of herbs for a longer period of time than when you make an ordinary cup of tea. It comes as a big one-pound bag of dried herbs which, when taken according to directions, is about a 3-4 week supply. (There is also a smaller, 8 oz bag available if you just wish to give it a try). This is a beverage that you can enjoy as your daily brew, and which can count towards your water intake, all the while knowing that you are providing your pregnant body and developing baby with the best nutrition available.
What are some common problems and complaints that Motherlode can help with?
It can noticeably diminish:
~Restless leg syndrome
~Charlie Horse/ muscle cramps
~Depression or anxiety
~Tendency towards recurrent yeast infections and UTI’s
Here’s what’s in The Motherlode blend, and what each herb offers:
Red Raspberry Leaf ~ Rubeus idaeus
The primary “go-to” herb in pregnancy, which contrary to many urban myths circulating in cyberspace, does NOT cause contractions (in fact, it’s in my “Stop Contractions” tincture blend for pre-term labor!). It strengthens the uterus by way of an alkaloid called fragrine, which tones the muscles of the uterus. This makes the uterus strong during pregnancy, and can help to shorten the three stages of labor by helping to ensure effective contractions when the baby’s birth day comes around. Some information floating around on the internet incorrectly warns against the use of Red Raspberry Leaf (RRL) until the final trimester, as it is thought to provoke contractions and early labor. Again, this is false, as RRL is safe -and recommended!- to use during pregnancy from beginning to end (and beyond). In fact it’s also in my pre-conception blend, Fertili-Tea. As well as having a tonic effect, it also has rich concentrations of iron, calcium and many other nutrients. The tannic acid in the plant can also help to alleviate hemorrhoids.
Stinging Nettle ~ Urtica dioica
I talked a lot about Nettle in the last blog post on infusion, but here are some aspects of it that are specifically helpful to the childbearing year: During pregnancy, the kidneys are under a lot of strain. In a sense, you could say that they act as the center of the solar system when gestating, similar to the way the heart is central to the whole body during everyday life. When the kidneys become taxed, a downward spiral, ultimately to pre-eclampsia can be a worse-case scenario. Pre-eclampsia is essentially the shutting down of the kidneys and liver, and is a severe, even life-threatening problem. But more commonly during pregnancy, taxed kidneys lend to more minor issues, such as exhaustion, an increase of swelling (edema), or a tendency toward frequent urinary, and sometimes bladder or even kidney infections. Consistent use of Nettle can help to prevent all of these situations from developing or advancing, as Nettle is the premier kidney-strengthening herb of choice. Proper amounts (lots!) of protein in the diet are also important for prevention of pre-eclampsia, but when coupled with Motherlode, or Nettle by itself, there is much less likelihood of that developing. Certainly if you are pregnant again after a previous pregnancy in which pre-eclampsia developed, Motherlode is for you! Also, being rich in Vitamin K, a blood-clotting factor, and plentiful amounts of iron, this is health insurance against a hemorrhage at birth. Bloating and edema are relieved with Nettle. It also contains loads of other minerals and nutrients, including bone strengthening calcium, which is so important for pregnant mothers. If the diet is deficient in minerals, hair loss, an increase of tooth decay and more brittle bones throughout life can follow, as the mother’s own nutrient stores become tapped out to support the pregnancy. Additionally, nettle helps tired mammas have more energy, and adapt to stress better, resulting in a steadier mood.
Oatstraw ~ Avena sativa
Another herb mentioned in the post about Powerhouse Infusion, Oatstraw offers a lot of benefits during pregnancy. Being a heart and vascular tonic herb can equate to less strain on circulation, and stronger veins. This means less propensity to developing varicosities or hemorrhoids, and can provide relief from existing ones. It is also a wonderful nervous system tonic, bringing relief from depression and anxiety, which are so common in pregnancy. Also rich in tons of nutrients, this herb contains a lot of magnesium, which is wonderful at keeping blood pressure in check, bones strong, and preventing or treating crampy muscles/irritated uterine muscles. It brings peaceful, restorative sleep, though Oatstraw doesn’t cause drowsiness. In other words, if “Charlie Horses,” restless legs, difficulty sleeping or a spasmodic uterus that wants to contract all the time are bothering you, drink Oatstraw!
Alfalfa ~ Medicago sativa
Alfalfa is a wonderful ally in keeping the amniotic sac (bag of waters) strong during pregnancy, helping to ensure that the pregnancy can continue all the way to term without the water breaking early (PROM or Premature Rupture Of Membranes). Additionally, Alfalfa is a wonderful liver-strengthening herb, keeping it’s function strong and healthy even under the stress of pregnancy. When pregnant, the liver is working overtime to process extra metabolic wastes and hormones, often leading to troubles with digestion, skin problems, and even at worst, disorders such as PUPPPS, choleostasis, and pre-eclampsia. Alfalfa helps with digestion in general, and specifically with metabolizing fats. It helps relieve water retention and bloating, and regulates a healthy appetite. The word Alfalfa means “the father of all foods.” It is another herb rich in all sorts of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K, so is another prenatal means to prevent excessive bleeding at the time of birth while being supremely nourished in general. I recommend drinking at least one quart a day of Motherlode during pregnancy, from conception to the time of birth.
How to use it:
Each package is labeled with instructions, but it’s simple: Put one cup/ about an ounce (here’s your ounce of prevention!) of the dried herbs mixture in a glass quart jar, cover with boiling water, cover and allow to steep at least four hours, or overnight. Strain. Once you brew it up, keep any unused portion in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Experiment to find your favorite way to drink it-some like it hot, some like it over ice, some with a squeeze of lemon, or a bit of honey, or even a pinch of salt. You can even freeze it into ice cube trays and put it in your beverages instead of ice, or use it in place of water in your soups or when cooking beans or grains. It is ok to cut it with another beverage that you enjoy, if the taste is disagreeable. Most people say that it tastes a lot like iced tea, perhaps a bit earthier. I personally like it cold or hot, but not room temperature. Any old way that you can get it in you, you will be investing in real health insurance for your body and your baby during pregnancy.Learn more about Motherlode Tonic Blend here