When I first started learning about plants, I was eager to get my hands on herbs that I had never heard of before- the big names like ashwagandha or false unicorn root. I quickly learned that the simple plants surrounding me were exactly the medicine that I needed. In fact, I have been able to easily wildcraft 4 out of 5 of the herbs on this list here in Northern Virginia.
I put together this short list of simple, easy-to-find herbs for pregnant women in the hopes that some women may be inspired to look to their outdoor surroundings for support. Mother Nature is our biggest ally. Herbs can be consumed in many different ways, and luckily all the herbs listed here make delicious teas that can be crafted by hand or found in your local grocery store.
The herbs listed below are generally considered safe for most people.
1. Raspberry leaf (rubus idaeus)
Raspberry leaf is one of the most popular herbs used to support pregnant women, and with good reason. Raspberry leaf is a well-known uterine trophorestorative, which simply means that it is literally food for the uterus. During the early stages of pregnancy, raspberry leaf may help to ease nausea. Raspberry leaf also has the ability to strengthen the uterine muscles. In addition to these properties, raspberry leaf is also full of vitamins and minerals, including iron. Luckily, this herb has a pleasant taste and can be consumed before, during, and after pregnancy.
2. Nettle (urtica dioica)
Nettle is an extremely nutritive herb that can be cooked into a variety of delicious recipes or brewed into a fantastically green tea. Nettle is a great choice for pregnant women because it is brimming with vitamins and minerals, the most notable of which are calcium and iron. Nettle is a solid choice for anyone, but particularly for pregnant women who may be experiencing an iron deficiency. Similar to raspberry leaf, nettle has been used as a uterine tonic for centuries. Take care not to touch fresh nettle with your bare hands- it’s called stinging nettle for a reason!
3. Ginger (zingiber officinale)
Ginger is an incredible natural remedy for morning sickness. It’s an anti-nausea superstar, thanks to its aromatic oils. Ginger is a warming herb that will stimulate energy and circulation in the body. Ginger is also easy to find in any grocery store and is delicious when combined with honey and lemon. Ginger can also be used safely throughout pregnancy to ward off colds or the flu and will promote upper respiratory health. Lastly, ginger is a strong carminative and will combat digestive problems throughout pregnancy. Grating a little bit of ginger into your daily cup of tea is an easy remedy for morning sickness!
4. Dandelion (taraxacum officinale)
I’ll be honest, dandelion is not the most delicious herb in the world, but few plants are as nutritious as dandelion greens! Dandelion is a nutritive powerhouse containing vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and iron. Nettle and dandelion greens are both great choices for pregnant women who may be suffering from chronic fatigue, thanks to their extremely nutritive qualities. The bitter taste of dandelion may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the bitterness actually works to support healthy digestion. Roasted dandelion root is also a great substitute for women who are trying to avoid coffee during pregnancy. I love adding a dash of raw honey to my dandelion tea to counteract its natural bitterness!
5. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is one of my favorite herbs in general. It is a gentle, uplifting herb with a bright and invigorating lemony scent. Lemon balm is a nervine, or more simply, an herb used to calm the nervous system. Lemon balm has been used for centuries to soothe depression and anxiety, combat insomnia, and to promote a sense of calm and serenity. All pregnant women can benefit from the soothing effects of lemon balm. In addition to its soothing properties, lemon balm is also a carminative, and can be used to relieve gas pains and indigestion.