One 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.
- If you are going to use barks or roots, make sure to purchase finely chopped or shredded plant parts.
- Purchase the freshest 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 greens loose leaf, cut and sifted. The fresher the better.
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)*
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.)
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)
Have you ever tasted the bark of a tree? Not the best flavor, earthy, energetic and sometimes bitter.
Slippery Elm bark (Ulmus rubra)
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.
1 part Dandelion lf.
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
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
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.
- Romm, A. J. (2010). Botanical medicine for women’s health. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
- Blankespoor, J. (n.d.). Herbal Infusions and Decoctions – Preparing Medicinal Teas. Retrieved from: http://blog.chestnutherbs.com/herbal-infusions-and-decoctions-preparing-medicinal-teas