Thursday, June 20, 2013

Recipe for fertility!

So on the very first steps (and I must emphasize first here) to preparing for pregnancy, I've been reaching out to the intarweb to collect information about preparing for pregnancy. Although Grey was a surprise, and I didn't prepare as I could have (and having additionally turned out just fine the way things happened), given the option I'd like to make some attempt at being my healthiest when we're ready for baby Thomas #2.

SO for my own edification (and so I don't have to keep bookmarking this site), here are a few herbs that have shown frequently as useful in preparation.  Those that are in blue are the ones I am actively in touch with and have placed in a tea that I drink daily.

Pregnancy Preparation

The main focus when choosing herbs for preconception is to nourish the body, detoxify for hormonal balance/optimal health, support uterine tone, build the blood, and support healthy stress response. Preconception herbs are best used at least 3-6 months prior to conception. Many of these herbs should not be used into pregnancy.
  • Alfalfa aerial parts (Medicago sativa): Very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals. Contains some phytoestrogens. Aids in protection against xenohormones. Aids in vaginal atrophy and dryness.

  • Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera): Supports overall endocrine system function for proper hormonal balance, immune system and stress response.

  • Burdock root (Arctium lappa): Nourishing and cleansing for the liver, aiding in hormonal balance.

  • Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale): Nourishing. Used to increase nutrition, supportive of liver health, for hormonal balance.

  • Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale): Aids in liver health, stimulates digestion for improved hormonal balance.

  • Dong Quai root (Angelica sinensis): Aids in hormonal balance. Used for congestive fertility states such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, PCOS, ovarian cysts. Supports healthy circulation to the uterus, nourishing for the blood. Reduction in pain associated with reproductive organs. Strengthens the uterus by regulating hormonal control, improving uterine tone, and improving the timing of the menstrual cycle. In Asia dong quai is to women’s health as ginseng is to men’s health.

  • Eleuthero root and stem bark (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Supports proper endocrine function through its adaptogenic properties. Supports overall hormonal balance, excellent for stress support.

  • Evening Primrose Oil cold pressed from seed (Oenothera biennis): Supports overall hormonal balance and cervical mucous production through its high content of the omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFA’s), Linoleic Acid (LA) and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). LA is needed for prostaglandin E and GLA is needed for the synthesis of prostaglandin E. One of the many functions of Prostaglandins is to help control regulation of hormones as well as control proper cell growth. This is because of its high content of the omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFA’s), Linoleic Acid (LA) and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

  • Hibiscus flower petals (Hibiscus sabdariffa): Very high in vitamin C, may support healthy cervical mucous. Vit. C is essential for proper absorption of iron. Best combined with herbs high in iron, Raspberry lf., Yellow dock, Nettles. Supports proper heart health and blood pressure.

  • Lemon Balm leaf (Melissa officinalis): Excellent nervous system support. Supports healthy stress response, lessens depression and anxiety. Good emotional health, and stress response is important prior to conception. Not for use for people with hypothyroidism.

  • Maca root (Lepidium meyenii): Maca is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance.) Supports overall hormonal balance, works to balance estrogen/progesterone levels.  Maca is the only plant known in the world that can grow and thrive at such a high altitude and in such harsh weather. For more than two millennia, native Peruvians have used maca root as food and medicine to promote fertility, endurance, energy, vitality, and sexual virility.

  • Milk Thistle seed (Silybum marianum): Supports hormonal balance. It is one of the best plants for liver health. Liver health is vital for hormonal balance. The liver helps to filter toxins from the body, including excess hormones. 

  • Nettles leaf, root, seed (Urtica dioica): Nutritive; high mineral, vitamin and chlorophyll content. Supportive of gentle cleansing of the liver, lungs, intestines and kidneys. Great adrenal support. Supports proper blood formation through its high iron content.

  • Oatstraw (stems), Milky Oats (tops) exert a stronger effect than oatstraw, (Avena sativa): Nourishing, aids in stress reduction by supporting nervous system. Great support for stress related fertility issues.

  • Red Clover leaves, blossoms (Trifolium pratense): Red Clover is a nourishing food herb. It is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. It is one of the best blood purifying herbs, aiding in detoxification of environmental pollutants prior to conception. Phytoestrogenic, may help protect body from xenohormones. May increase cervical mucous. 

  • Red Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus): Nutritive, high in vitamins and minerals. It is a uterine tonic, preparing the uterus for pregnancy and labor. 

  • Schisandra, fruit and seed (Schisandra chinensis): Adaptogen, supports healthy hormonal balance through endocrine system support. Promotes proper immune and stress response.

  • Seaweed (variety of species): Extremely high in vitamins and minerals, including iodine, which is necessary for proper thyroid function. High in fiber for improved estrogen metabolism. Learn more here…

  • Yellow dock root (Rumex crispus): Stimulates bile production for healthy removal of toxins, supportive of liver health and is high in iron, which may help support adequate iron levels which is essential for proper blood formation.
What the most amazing thing here is that several of these were already hanging around my tea cabinet. The Yellow Dock was harvested from a farm wherein the farmer just shrugged and said "take it, I have no use for it".  It was dried and stored until now. 

The lemon balm was something that came with our home last year (which I believe is a sign!), however at the time I didn't realize what it was and took the larger plant we had growing and tossed it out when I re-did the beds.  Luck for me, this stuff is like Creeping Jennie and it's already shown itself in no less than 8 other places around the yard; so I KNOW it will come back.  I've already been able to collect about a dozen leaves to begin a small stock.

At the Spring Creek Park, Alfalfa grows completely wild and unmanaged.  As it's open space, I'm finding myself to be wary about collecting any of it, not knowing any of the practices used in the area for insect management or plant disease and treatment.  I haven't decided if I will be using this plant from this source.

Dandelion leaf.  This shit is growing so far up my bandwagon, I could just farm it for a living.  My first payload was collected last night and following a thorough washing, it's already laid out for drying to be added to my tea. 

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