I love reading the history of herbal medicine, the healing powers of plants and then the modern research that backs it up. Last week, I was listening to Melissa Cole’s discussion of herbs for postpartum and breastfeeding.
The name Boswellia (Boswellia Serrata) came up. Boswellia is used for many reasons. Most relevant to postpartum would be it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It is familiar to those who know herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellia is also called Indian Frankincense.
Is that the same Frankincense that the Wise Men were bringing to Mary after the birth of Jesus? That is, indeed, a wise postpartum gift to bring! After a long ride on a donkey, the stress of being homeless, laboring and giving birth, and then having all those visitors… some anti-inflammatory herb could be helpful.
The other herb they brought was Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha.) Generally speaking, this herb has been used for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Of course, one has to know more about the reason for the sepsis/bacterial infection. Nonetheless, for a vulnerable new mom with a newborn in a manger with dung and and probably no running water, I’d say that’s a handy herb to have nearby.
There are other more local herbs that you can grow in your own garden. They’re good for postpartum, breastfeeding and one’s well-being in general.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a lovely, lightly lemon scented green leafed herb. It is a nervine meaning it is calming to the nerves. You could combine it with some chamomile (shown in photo.) Try two to three teaspoons in a cup of hot water, either fresh or dried Lemon Balm, steeped for several minutes. I’ve also heard of putting the lemon balm leaves in salads. That sounds delicious.
A Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) plant will do well inside if you have a plant light or lots of sun. Just smelling it is a nice therapy. You can use the dried leaves on roast chicken and that is aromatherapy for your cats.
A tea infusion is fairly mild. If you have allergies, thyroid issues or are taking any medications, I suggest you get more specific advice from an herbalist before adding herbs to your daily routine. Do let your health care provider know what herbs you are taking.
The October sun is setting earlier so I tuck in my garden for the winter. Plant learning happens through books and I look forward to blooms in the Spring. Healing, then blooming and more healing… that’s the goal to wrap up this crazy year of 2020.