Our herbal medicine cabinet

Herb cabinet

While we have been enjoying our elderberry syrup for two years now, and feel it really helped us avoid the flu the past two years, my usage of herbs really increased while I was pregnant. I was determined to have my VBAC and knew that raspberry leaf tea would help me in that. I was tired of going through tons of boxes of the teabags though, which were expensive and so wasteful. So I began a little research and read The Natural Pregnancy by Aviva Jill Romm which has a great recipe for a pregnancy tea, but I felt overwhelmed with the long list of herbs to buy and brew. So when I found Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew from Bulk Herb Store, I thought it was the perfect solution, as it contains most of the herbs in Dr Romm’s recipe. Soon, however, I realized I wanted to add a few more things to the mixture after doing more research ~ lemon balm for stress, oatstraw for calcium and magnesium, dandelion leaves to help with blood pressure and rose hips for vitamin C. I would brew up a big, strong batch in my french press and then drink it iced. I drank at least a glass every day during my pregnancy and labor, and while it certainly didn’t give me a quick labor, I know that it did help to keep me healthy during my pregnancy, and I was successful with the VBAC I so desired. Sure, I realize it wasn’t the only contributing factor, but I know it helped. Adelaide’s birth story is posted here if anyone is interested.

I’ve still been enjoying my “pregnancy” tea. While all the herbs are definitely good for pregnancy, they’re also great for general health. They’re full of numerous vitamins and minerals and help to ward off bladder infections, high blood pressure, constipation and so many other ailments. I buy my herbs separately either from Bulk Herb Store or Mountain Rose Herbs ~ a blend of red raspberry leaf, nettle, alfalfa, oat straw, rosehips, a bit of lemon balm, dandelion leaf and hibiscus flowers. For postpartum, I also used comfrey in the bath to help heal my tear.

I’ve become fascinated with researching other healing herbs to incorporate into our medicine chest as well as just everyday nourishing teas. I absolutely love the book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar. It’s filled with all kinds of herbal recipes for numerous afflictions. I have compiled quite a list of remedies I want to mix up after perusing it’s pages. Cough syrups, teas, various tinctures to help with all sorts of ailments from allergies, fevers, colds, to kidney stones. I feel a little like a witch doctor, but I love that so many remedies can be found in the herbal world, and often right outside our door. We have lemon balm growing wild all over our yard, as well as plantain, a common weed, which is great for bug bites and stings. I made up a simple plantain salve last summer that served us well for mosquito bites.

Daily tea

I love sharing my daily tea ritual with Eleanore. She has been looking forward to our cup of nightly chamomile tea now that we’ve found one we both enjoy. While neither of us particularly care for the taste of chamomile by itself, we both enjoy a blend of chamomile and lavender, and it’s such a nice relaxing routine for us to share at the end of a long day.
My creation
We have our tea, brush our tea and then go to bed to read from a chapter of one of the Little House books. Eleanore has already grown to love them almost as much as I do. She started out reading the My First Little House picture books, and she still constantly recites the first few lines of them~ “Once upon a time, a little girl named Laura lived in a little house in the big woods of Wisconsin. She lived with her pa, her ma, her big sister Mary, her baby sister Carrie and their good old bulldog Jack.” Once that started, I knew she was ready to hear the real stories behind the picture books. And I love sharing a little bit of my childhood with her.

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