If you are a lactating mother, and you have not yet been introduced to herbal teas for nursing, then tune in and get inspired! Even if you have been using herbal teas already to support you in motherhood, it’s always interesting to know a little more about the nutritious medicines that you are taking. Herbal teas are especially useful when your baby is going through a feeding spurt, and you are not producing enough milk to meet these demands.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) has both a rich flavour and history of use in breastfeeding mothers. It has been used to boost milk production, and also to treat colic in babies since antiquity. It enhances digestion by preventing flatulence and cramping. So it’s ideal for lactation. No good nursing tea would be without Fennel!
Caraway (Carum carvi) is from the same plant family as Fennel, the Umbelliferae family, and when you compare the two plants physically you see that they both grow erect, with many branches that shoot out from the main stem and are topped with umbrella-like clusters of tiny flowers. Caraway is a wonderful lactation and anti-colic herb, just like fennel. However it’s used extensively in breads, sauerkraut, cheeses and digestive liquors throughout Europe. It also improves iron absorption in nursing mothers.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an enhancer of breast development, and has long been used for lactation. I’ve known women who have experienced an increase in breast milk production with this herb who were not even breastfeeding at the time! Another reason why fenugreek is great for nursing mums is it helps your body regulate blood glucose levels, thus improving energy production and reducing carbohydrate cravings!
Anise (Pimpinella anisum). We use the deliciously sweet seeds of anise for their high content of volatile oil, which is responsible for it’s powerful anti-flatulence and anti-colic activities. It’s from the same family as Fennel and Caraway, with its own umbrella-like clusters of tiny flowers.
Lemon Verbena has historically been used to promote healthy milk flow. It’s also a soothing relaxant, and helps to make breastfeeding a more harmonious experience.
In some situations it may be necessary to slow down your production of milk. In this case it’s best to consult a professional herbalist. They will use herbs such as sage (salvia officinalis) to achieve this.
Nursing Teas are a wonderful support for mother and baby throughout lactation and even beyond. There’s no time like the present to make sure that you are both receiving the best, natural nutrition possible. Happy Nursing!