Nutritive Herbal Teas For Preconception Through Pregnancy

Nutritive Herbal Teas For Preconception Through Pregnancy

Herbal TeaOne of the best ways to support the health of the body in preparation for pregnancy, pregnancy and breastfeeding, is with nutritive herbal teas, also known as infusions. There are a variety of nutrient dense herbs that are safe for pregnancy, that can be used to make your own loose leaf herbal tea.

A number of herbs are safe and supportive for a developing baby and mother. I find that herbal teas are one of the best ways to help women prepare the body for pregnancy. The recipes I am going to share contain some of the few herbal formulas that are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Why Nutritive Herbal Teas Are Good For You

  • They supply a wide variety of nutrients necessary for sustaining the health of the body and that of a developing baby. Think vitamins, minerals, micronutrients…
  • They aid digestion and support digestive health
  • They hydrate the body
  • They help support the body’s natural detoxification processes (liver, kidneys, skin)
  • These herbs are gentle, yet they bring out the greatest permanent changes in the body
  • They are non-toxic
  • The nutrients and medicinal constituents are easily absorbed, assimilated and utilized by the body
  • Water is an excellent solvent for minerals, volatile oils, mucilage and most medicinal constituents from the herbs used

As an herbalist I find that making and drinking teas are my favorite way to use herbs on a daily basis. I drink about 3-5 cups of tea a day. When I was pregnant I drank one quart of a simple pregnancy infusion daily to ensure a healthy pregnancy. My colleagues and I find it important to teach clients how to make infusions from home so they may reap the incredible benefits.

For The Love Of Herbal Tea: Why They Are So Great

  • Teas are versatile, add them to smoothies, freeze in ice cube trays, drink hot or cold
  • They are easy to make
  • They are less expensive than capsules and liquid extracts (tinctures)
  • They allow you to get to know the herbs better; flavor, texture, smell, actions
  • They are easy to take with you
  • They keep you hydrated
  • You can choose different herbs for different flavors
  • They boost nutritional levels
  • They support the health of the body
  • They are pleasurable and comforting to drink
  • They can be sipped all day long
  • When refrigerated they last up to 3 days

How to Make an Herbal Tea “Infusion”

Typically teas are made with lightweight plant parts, think flowers, petals, leaves. Find or create a recipe you like, with herbs that are safe while trying to conceive, through pregnancy and breastfeeding. Plant parts with a higher percentage of volatile oils may also be used, even if they are a root or bark. Typically most dried berries, roots and barks are prepared as a decoction, which is the preferred method of extraction for harder plant parts. In this case, the ones listed below are fine to use as a tea.

  • Pour ¼ cup of the complete loose tea mixture into a quart mason jar, liter stainless steel or glass French press
  • Fill with freshly boiled water, cover and let steep for at least 15-30 minutes. For a stronger infusion, steep for 3-4 hours.
  • Strain and then drink right away, or allow to cool and then drink. You can also refrigerate for about 3 days.

Blending Tips:

  • If you are going to use barks or roots, make sure to purchase finely chopped or shredded plant parts.
  • Purchase the most fresh dried herbs possible, these will contain the most nutrients and medicinal benefits.
  • Choose herbs based on their safety, medicinal benefits (do these herbs align with what you are wanting to use them for), nutritional value and taste.
  • The largest measurements should be the most nutritious herbs.
  • Stronger/pungent tasting herbs should be balanced with good tasting herbs.
  • Mix all herbs prior to making the tea.
  • Mix a large batch of herbs you really like together for easy use in the future, store in an airtight container, preferably glass, ceramic or stainless steel.

Herbs Good for Teas That Are Safe for Preconception, Pregnancy and Beyond

Dark Leafy Greens

These typically taste like most greens do, a bit wild and grassy, though generally most are mild. They are very nutritious and are best as the “bulk” of the whole blend. Purchase these loose leaf, cut and sifted. The fresher the better.
Loose herbal tea
Alfalfa leaf (Medicago sativa)
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Dandelion Leaf (Taraxacum officinale)
Nettle Leaf(Urtica dioica)
Oat straw (Avena sativa)
Peppermint leaf (Mentha piperita)*
Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)*
Spearmint leaf (Mentha spicata)*

Blossoms

Sweet, tart, gentle, delicate, powerful. Flowers typically make a tea taste better and may be highly nutritive and beneficial through their individualized gentle medicinal action. Blossoms should be light, fluffy and bright. Because flower petals are more delicate than other plants parts it is important to get them as fresh as possible.

Chamomile flowers (Matricaria recutita)
Hibiscus petals (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
Linden flower (Tilia spp.)

Roots

These ground dwellers are typically earthy, pungent and lively. The taste of roots varies widely, depending on the plant. For example ginger and dandelion taste very different. Dried roots last longer than dried aerial parts.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis)

Bark

Have you ever tasted the bark of a tree? Not the best flavor, earthy, energetic and sometimes bitter.

Slippery Elm bark (Ulmus rubra)

Berries

Sweet, tart, fruity, high in antioxidants. Berries give teas a good boost of flavor, color and nutrition.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Goji berry also known as Wolfberry (Lycium barbarum, L. chinensis)
Hawthorn berry (Crataegus officinale)
Rosehip (Rosa spp.)

*Note: There is a slight pregnancy caution for these herbs. Raspberry leaf is not suggested for use in the first trimester of pregnancy for women with a history of recurrent miscarriage. Mints contain higher levels of volatile oils which may be passed to the baby. Use mints as a flavoring only in blends. Make the amount of mints used the lowest amount in the blend.

Resources for Information on These Herbs

We have information on almost all of these herbs at our Fertility Herbs A-Z page. Many of the herbs listed have complete informational pages linked from that page.

Delicious & Nutritious Tea Recipes

Try out some of these recipes or make up your own! These recipes can be adjusted to your liking. If you are wondering how to measure parts of the recipes, watch this video here…


The Three P’s
(preconception, pregnancy, postpartum)
2 parts Raspberry lf.
1 part Nettle lf.
1 part Alfalfa lf.
continued
 

1 part Dandelion lf.
1/4 part Hibiscus, Peppermint, or Spearmint
1/4 part Marshmallow rt.
1/4 part Burdock rt.


Digestion Support
1 part Ginger
1/2 part Chamomile
1/4 Marshmallow rt.
1/4 part Peppermint
1/4 part Spearmint
1/8 part Slippery Elm brk.

Love Your Liver
1 part Dandelion lf.
1 part Nettles lf.
1 part Alfalfa
1/2 part Chickweed
1/4 part Goji berries
1/8 part Dandelion rt.
1/8 part Burdock rt.


Nourishing Blood Support
1 part Alfalfa
1 part Dandelion lf.
1 part Raspberry lf.
1 part Nettles
1/4 part Hawthorn berry
1/4 part Rosehip

Immune Tonic
1 part Dandelion lf.
1/2 part Elderberries
1/2 part Linden flower
1/8 Burdock rt.

Where to Purchase Loose Herbs & Equipment for Loose Leaf Herbal Teas

Choose organic or ethically wildcrafted (gathered) herbs whenever possible. Most of these herbs can be found at your local health food store or if you are lucky, your town will have a local herbalist that grows, gathers and sells these.

Mountain Rose Herbs and Frontier Natural Products Co-op are good choices for online purchases of bulk herbs and tea making equipment.


References:
1. Aviva Romm, 2010: Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, Churchill Livingstone
2. http://blog.chestnutherbs.com/herbal-infusions-and-decoctions-preparing-medicinal-teas

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[-] 10 Comments
  1. Thanks for such an informative article. I myself am an avid herbal tea drinker, but am getting more interested in how to get the most health benefits out of tea beyond just having a comforting drink. My question is, can tea bags (perhaps using 2 or 3) be as effective for making infusions as loose herbs? Or, are some of the health benefits of teas still preserved even if they’re just consumed as a beverage (for example by covering the glass as it’s steeping)? I’m already enjoying some of these beneficial herbs in pre-made blends, but would love to know how to get the most out of them. Thanks!

    • Dear Chloe,

      Medicinal herbal teas in tea bags can be equally as effective as loose herbs. The difference being many herbal team companies suggest short steep times, and to make a medical herbal infusion, like those we suggest, the steep time is often 15-20 minutes covered to help contain the volatile oils.

      There is no need to use more than 1 tea bag is the tea chosen comes in bags. One can also put loose herbs into bags for the sake of convenience. This won’t change effectiveness, rather steep time will.

      Enjoy! I love tea too! 😉

  2. I’m almost 17, and am obviously not looking to get pregnant anytime soon, but my periods started to get irregular and the cycles started to spread out, so I got the names of herbs I wanted to use (from this site :D) that were to balance hormones and increase fertility, bought them, and began making and drinking the tea. The problem is, I hate the taste! I’ve been getting and keeping it down, but no matter how much raw honey I put into it the aftertaste is terrible! Any ideas on how to make it taste better? I’m using motherwort, white peony root, vitex berries, yarrow, shatavari root, raspberry leaf, damiana leaf, and licorice root.

    • Hello Kitty!

      It can be a challenge to make a tasty herbal tea without a recipe. I am sorry you are not liking yours. Vitex is very strong tasting and can taste almost bitter and Motherwort has a very bitter taste. Neither are actually suggested very often as in infusion (strong tea). While we suggest that anyone under the age of 18 interested in using natural therapies consult a natural healthcare practitioner along with your primary healthcare provider, many add hibiscus flowers or a splash or real, pure cherry juice to teas to make them taste better. I am just not sure that will work with this blend of herbs.

      I am required to share that as a teen, you are still developing in many ways, including hormonally. We cannot suggest our products or formulas because there are too many changes taking place in your developing body. The article Herbs for Teen Reproductive Health: Steps for Healthy Choices offers some additional insight.

      Take care!

  3. I have started to drink a special preconception tea which contains vitex, red raspberry leaf, green tea, ladies mantle, nettle leaf and a little beat of peppermint leaf. A few days later I found strange sensations in my mouth – a kind of dryness and unusual smack on my tongue. Everything else is ok. Can I continue drinking this tea or does that mean this tea is not suitable for me?

    • Dear Maria,

      Was this a tea you made from scratch at home, or purchased already made by someone else? What is an “unusual smack”? Does this mean bitter taste? Are you accustomed to drinking herbal teas like this tea?

      Vitex is known to be strong tasting and bitter, and Lady’s Mantle is drying and astringent. These herbs could be the reason for the dryness felt. It may help to steep the tea for less time or adjust the amount of these herbs added to this tea if it was made from scratch.

      In my opinion this sounds like a lovely tea. It may just be that the ratio of herbs needs to be adjusted a bit. Continuing it is personal preference really.

  4. I found this article very helpful. Thank you! A lot of great information…however, then I found this article with warnings of side effects on drinking Hibiscus while pregnant, especially early in pregnancy…

    Hibiscus Tea 101: Health Benefits, Side Effects and Recipes @ wimeno.com

    • Hi Christy,

      I am so glad you like this article, thank you! I took a look at the article you linked to. A few things to consider when surfing the web and deciding what is credible and what is not – Does the article have references, especially if there is mention of “studies show”. If not, how are you supposed to follow up on that information? What are the credentials of the author? Is Vanessa Goodpaster-Beaty, the author of that article an herbalist or trained in herbalism at all? Not sure there. Last, if someone writes an article about an herb or plant it is really important to always put the botanical name somewhere in the article, so people know exactly which herb to purchase, should they be interested in consuming it. She is writing an article about Hibiscus and includes recipes, so it would be a good idea to know which hibiscus, since she notes there are over “200 different types”.

      I did some searching in Google Scholar to see if I could find references to the studies she is talking about and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis comes up, not Hibiscus sabdariffa that I have in my tea recipes. Hibiscus sabdariffa is safe for consumption in pregnancy. Also, the studies use the root of H. rosa-sinensis, not the petals. Basically this woman is scaring people needlessly.

      I am glad you checked in!

  5. Can you please suggest herbal teas that are available in stores that would be safe to drink for conception? Something like Yogi tea or Teavana or some well known brand’s tea flavors that would be great for conception. I do not feel like I will have this much time to make my own herbal teas, would buying it from grocery store be ok?

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Neha,

      While not exactly the same as the tea recipes offered here, we do carry Conceptions Tea and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea in our shop. Please click on each name to learn more if you would like.

      I personally drink Yogi tea for general overall health, but do not know if they have formulas similar to those we carry, or have shared here that support fertility health.

      Enjoy whichever tea you find!