Over the years, herbs and herbal remedies have been shown to be highly effective in promoting health and well-being, and are also an excellent addition to a good diet and exercise program. While no type of alternative medicine should be used as a replacement for traditional medical care, herbal remedies have a lot to offer individuals desiring to look and feel their best. Botanical medicine has been used the world over ever since man began looking for ways to cure common ailments. Cultures and customs have changed over time, but the overall quest of individuals wanting to improve their health has not.
The Influence of Herbs on Modern Medicine
Many commonly used drugs that are FDA approved were actually derived from plants. The first step toward the invention of aspirin can be traced to the use of willow bark. The opium poppy flower gives us codeine and other useful painkillers. Quinine, used to battle formidable foes such as malaria, was originally derived from cinchona bark. The entire list of similar examples is lengthy and impressive.
Childbirth and Hormones
Hormone fluctuations are responsible for a wide variety of physical and psychological changes in a womans body. The correct level of many different hormones must be maintained in order for a woman to look and feel her best. Many of these changes occur while a woman is pregnant and again after the birth of the child. It usually takes time for these changes to correct themselves, and no two women are exactly alike where recovery time is concerned. Many women begin to “bounce back” almost immediately after giving birth to a child, while others may find it may take much longer.
The Best Herbs to Sooth a New Mother
While postpartum depression is a serious physical condition that requires a doctors care, there are many other maladies that may occur after childbirth, which herbal remedies have proved very successful in treating.
Passionflower – This is an excellent herb to use in the evening when one wishes to relax and wind down after a busy day. It helps to quiet an overactive mind by soothing racing thoughts. It may be taken in capsule form or prepared as tea.
Skullcap – This is one of the best of all soothing herbs for a new mother. It calms and nourishes the nervous system and promotes restful sleep. Skullcap is a particularly bitter herb so it is not generally prepared as tea, but rather taken in capsule form.
Lemon Balm – Lemon balm has been used for centuries as an excellent and safe sedative. It is also available in capsule form, tea, or as a tincture. Its calming properties are transferred to the baby through breast milk, and it is safe for both mother and child.
Vervain – This herb comes in a several different varieties and all are considered to have moderate tranquilizing effects. It is slightly bitter, and although it can be taken as tea, most women prefer it in capsule form.
Lavender – Probably one of the most popular of the herbs in the nervine family, studies show that merely the scent of lavender is enough to calm ones nerves and eliminate agitation. It is also used prepared as tea.
Catnip – The use of catnip has a dual benefit. It not only has a relaxing effect for the mother, but when its properties are passed though the breast milk, it also soothes colic in the baby.
While these and other herbs have been used with much success for many years, one must remember that the use of any herb or supplement is not intended to take the place of traditional medical care.