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Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.

As we enter the days around the Vernal Equinox, the energy within our bodies and in the world around us is rising and becoming more intense.

The days begin to get longer. The inward and congealing energies of winter are transitioning upward and outward, transforming into the expansive energy of spring. 

It is important that we aid our bodies during this transition so we may stay healthy and feel nourished. The two main strategies of spring tonics are to enhance digestive and elimination function and to support the body’s immune and hormonal systems.

In Ayurvedic terms, spring is Kapha season.

Think of the way spring is heavy and moist: The earth is heavy with snow melt and spring rain. Rivers are gushing. And tree tips are becoming heavy with blossoms. This same energy is happening in our bodies, lending to dampness and stagnation, especially after winter months of heavy eating and minimal movement. 

Kapha energy is good, we just need to help our bodies during this time so we don’t end up with too much Kapha energy and a bogged down body system. At the same time postpartum women are experiencing a high level of Vata in the body. And the increase of Kapha that comes with spring helps in balancing high Vata. 

It is an intricate dance to find balance during such intense times as the change of seasons and the time after pregnancy. Here are some herbal allies to help during the transition into spring while also supporting the postpartum mom to nurture harmony in her body, mind, and spirit.

Here are 12 Spring Tonics for the Postpartum Mama

1. Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)

A very safe, gently detoxifying herb. Because it is so gentle I recommend it for pregnant and postpartum women. We want to detoxify our bodies during the change of seasons to clear out doshic imbalances. Yet if you are pregnant or postpartum you are engaged in building up the body – not cleaning it out. I find burdock to be an effective herb for this job. Burdock aids the kidneys and liver in their functions of removing toxins from the body and helps “clean” the blood, thus moving the body to a state of integration and health. 

Burdock makes a tasty decoction and can be prepared a couple of ways. Bring 1 tsp of dried root per cup of water to a boil in a pot on the stove and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink a few cups a day. Another lovely way to enjoy burdock is to fill a mason jar ⅓ of the way with dried root, fill to the top with room temperature water, secure with a lid and let sit for 4-6 hours. After that time strain and drink throughout the day. You may also take burdock in tincture form at about 2-4 ml twice a day. Energetically burdock is cooling and moistening. 

2. Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chances are you’ve seen this lovely springtime plant right outside your door, though you may not have been aware of its wonderful medicinal value. Chickweed is highly nutritive, cooling and moistening to the body. This herb helps to get the lymphatic system moving which can become very sluggish over the winter months. 

While breastfeeding it is important to keep the lymph flowing as this increases breast health. Chickweed also helps our body assimilate nutrients and lose weight in a healthy way. Best used fresh, you can add chickweed to smoothies, use it for making pesto and use it any way you would a salad green. Try it in all your favorite dishes! Chickweed does well as a tincture and may be taken daily.

(pictured above)

3. Cleavers (Galium aparine)

Another springtime plant that works on the lymphatic system by getting things moving. Cleavers also aids the kidneys with elimination thus offering some detox support to the urinary system which may be needed during the postpartum period. Cleavers balances Vata while removing stagnation.

Add cleavers to your food as you would chickweed, but chop into small pieces as the texture is a little sticky. Cleavers also makes a great addition to blended juices and may be taken in tincture form. Energetically cleavers are cooling and moistening.

4. Stinging Nettle (Utica dioica)

Nettle is a famed herb for her high content of vitamins, minerals and proteins. A great herb for the transition between seasons and for new mothers as the body is deeply nourished and strengthened by nettles. Expect to sleep better and to have more energy and stamina with frequent use of nettle infusion. Stinging nettle is also delicious in soups and stir fry. 

One of the most popular ways of taking nettles is by making a nourishing infusion which involves using ½ – 1 cup of dried herb per quart of water. Bring your water to a boil and pour over your nettles in a glass quart jar. Secure with a lid and let sit for 6-8 hours. Strain and drink freely. 

Nettles are warming yet drying, so they can potentially aggravate Vata constitution. But these energetic qualities are great when trying to counteract Kapha. Because of this I often recommend making a nettle infusion with a little bit of a cooling, moistening herb. Try adding some of the cooling and moistening herbs on this list to your nettle infusion.

(pictured in featured image & above next to burdock image)

5. Violet (Viola odorata)

How nice that the beautiful little purple and blue flowers sprinkling our yards are edible and good for us. Even better – it’s not just the flowers but the leaves too! Violets are another lymphatic system detoxifier that gently nourish and have an altering effect on the functions of the lungs, nerves, and immune system. This means they help move these parts of the body into an overall state of well being. The flowers are also a great source of Vitamin C!  

Eat violets freely and with any meals. The flowers taste delicious, and don’t forget the leaves, too. I like to pick violet flowers and chickweed flowers with children and make Fairy Salads. These are equally enjoyed by us adults as well! Violets are energetically cooling and moistening.

6. Reishi (Ganoderma spp.)

Reishi is a type of conk mushroom known all around the world for its many amazing health benefits. I am listing it here because it enhances the immune system, builds up an exhausted and cold body, strengthens and builds up the adrenals, and protects the liver. Wow, all things a postpartum mom needs!

Reishi slices are a great ingredient to add to bone broth as they take a while to decoct. You may also find different forms of mushrooms powders and supplements out there — just make sure to find a trusted source.

(pictured above left)

7. Oats (Avena sativa)

Oatstraw and Oat tops were covered in detail in my Nervines post recently. And they will probably show up in most of my herbal wisdom blog posts for pregnant and postpartum women because they are just SO good for you. A great herb to strengthen the body, calm the mind and balance the vata imbalance taking place in this stage of life.

Prepare Oatstraw and Oat tops as a nourishing infusion following the directions above for stinging nettle. Oats are cooling and moistening to the body.

(pictured above right)

8. Calendula (Calendula offiicinalis)

This bright orange and yellow flowering plant is most widely known as a skin care herb but it has other great uses. Calendula improves digestive fire which is very important after winter and after giving birth. It also increases immunity, which is very important during both of these times. And calendula clears the lymph which is essential after the winter season and during postpartum as the body is not in motion as much as during other times of life.

Calendula is our one lymphatic herb on this list that is warming and it can be either moistening or drying, depending on the circumstance. This makes it a great herb during seasonal changes. Calendula can be made as a simple infusion by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1-2 Tbsp of dried flowers and drunk freely throughout the day. Do not take calendula during pregnancy.

9. Red Clover (Trillium pretense)

The blossoms of red clover are used as a nutritive tonic that has an overall effect on the entire body. This herb has an affinity to the reproductive system as well. Red clover blossoms will soothe dry and irritated tissues and will help balance out hormones after pregnancy. Another herb that aids the lymphatic system in detoxification and helps to purify the blood, thus revitalizing the body. Prepare as a simple or overnight infusion. Red clover is cooling and moistening. 

Some great herbs from the Ayurveda tradition:

10. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

You may have heard how great fenugreek can be to enhance the production of breastmilk. This herb also increases digestion, moves the lymph, helps build the body up from debility and anemia and is balancing for Kapha and Vata. How perfect for spring!

Use fenugreek as a spice in your cooking or drink as a tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of fenugreek seeds and let sit for 10-15 minutes, strain and enjoy. Fenugreek is warming and moistening.

11. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

Beloved Tulsi is great for any transition as it calms the nerves, helps the body deal with stress, promotes restful sleep, energy and concentration. Tulsi is sattvic in nature which translates to qualities of light, clarity, intelligence, compassion and wisdom. A beautiful plant with beautiful qualities that give beautiful health to our bodies.

Tulsi makes a great nourishing infusion and is a wonderful addition to infusions of any of the above mentioned herbs. Tulsi is energetically warming to our bodies. 

(pictured above)

12. Ginger (Zingiber official)

A great warming and stimulating herb for the transition through Kapha season. Ginger warms the body and reduces both Kapha and Vata, increases optimal digestion and rids the body of toxins. Ginger also helps to keep our immune systems strong and supports our optimal health.

Ginger is a great addition to meals. It also makes a warming simple infusion by pouring 1 cup of boiling water of 1-2 tsp of fresh gingerroot. Steep for 10-15 mins and enjoy!

Story and images compliments of
Meaghan Thompson-Moore

Clinical Herbalist, Blog Contributor

Meaghan Thompson-Moore lives in Capon Bridge, WV. She and her husband run a medicinal herb farm and offer an herb CSA 7 months out of the year. Meaghan is currently enrolled in the Ayurdoula course offered by the Center for Sacred Window Studies. She welcomes any inquiries regarding her blog topics and loves to work with women and their families regarding their health.

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