Artemisia and angelica are used by Chinese women to regulate the menstrual cycle. Artemisia is also used to prevent miscarriage. And angelica is served in a dish with lamb and ginger that is said to relieve pain in the womb following childbirth.
In Greece, fenugreek seeds are boiled and eaten with honey. Fenugreek is packed with nutrients, vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, iron, protein, and choline (a B vitamin that gives you energy). It is believed that fenugreek gives strength to pregnant women and increase lactation. Warning: Because of its hormone like action, fenugreek may stimulate the uterus, so it should not be taken early in the pregnancy.
Hippocrates said that mugwort helped ease the passing of the afterbirth. Discorides suggested that mugwort would speed up labor and the delivery of the infant.
Eating kelp or dulse once or twice a day after childbirth can provide the iodine and other minerals needed for normal thyroid function which helps you lose weight. Kelp will also help get the uterus back into shape.
Women who live in the South or Southwest drink water and baking soda to relieve morning sickness. This reportedly works by neutralizing stomach acids. Up north in New England, however, a tsp of slightly acidic apple cider vinegar in a glass of water is said to do the trick.
For an easier pregnancy or faster delivery, try a daily dose of raspberry leaf tea. Loaded with vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as calcium, iron, and phosphorous, it is said to help prevent miscarriages, curb morning sickness, and reduce labor pains. When taken during the last three months of pregnancy, this tea prepares the uterus and pelvic muscles for childbirth by toning them. It also enriches and increases milk flow. One Chinese tea recipe calls for a pint of boiled water poured over two rounded tsps of dried raspberry leaves. Steep for 1/2 hour. Strain and drink throughout the day. Ginger tea and peppermint leaf tea are also effective treatments for morning sickness.
To prevent stretch marks, try rubbing vitamin E oil, coconut oil, or olive oil on you brests and abdomen during your pregnancy. Even after childbirth, vitamin E will help the stretch marks to fade.
The Chinese have revered the peach tree for its medicinal value since the fifth century, when Confucius mentioned the tree in his writings. The Chinese use the leaves of the peach tree to make a tea that relieves morning sickness. Europeans use pieces of the tree's bark to make their version of this morning sickness anecdote. They claim that tea made from the bark is stronger and more effective than the tea made from the tree's leaves.
A Chinese remedy for morning sickness is to drink tea made from fresh grapefruit peel. Tangy or bitter foods or liquids often relieve nausea.
The women of the Wa-Sania tribe in Africa are restricted to a diet of water and honey for several days after giving birth. The tribe believes that this diet prevents infection, even though scientists have found that honey destroys bacteria only when applied externally.
Because the acacia tree of Sengal and upper Egypt exudes a soothing tar from its bark, it also can be used to reduce pain in a nursing mother's sore nipple. Apply wet acacia gum directly to the nipple, and repeat the process daily until it heals. The treatment should be discontinued when baby begins to nurse at that breast again. Acacia gim is available in whole or powdered form through most mail order herb companies.
Borage flowers, popular in many Middle East dishes, also can be used to stimulate milk production in nursing women. This treatment is favored by many Saudi Women. Borage contains gamma linoleic acid, known to strengthen the adrenal gland, which makes the hormones necessary for milk production.
Fennel seeds help increase the production of milk in nursing women. Fennel contains calcium and potassiun, minerals that the mother needs. It is also antispasmodic, and may prevent premature contractions of the uterus in pregnant women. The seeds, which are often used to flavor Greek food, are brewed by Greek women into a tea. In Italy, fennel water is also given to babies to stop colic.
The women of Tahiti treat sore nipples with the juice of papaya fruit. The juice, which is applied directly to the affected area, speeds up the healing process, and it's safe to use just before nursing.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica): Some people dislike nettle because of its strong sting, but it is an herb with myriad benefits for the expectant mother. A strong infusion (prepared by brewing one ounce of dried nettle leaves in a quart of boiling water for at least four hours) helps prevent varicose veins and hemorrhoids, eases leg cramps and backache, reduces the incidence of hemorrhage after birth, and increases the richness of breast milk. Every cup of nettle infusion supplies amazing amounts of energy as well as huge amounts of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, D, C, B, and K. It prevents folic acid anemia and iron deficiency anemia, and is also a digestive aid, a strengthener to the lungs, an ally of the kidneys, and a restorative to the hair and skin. Capsules, tinctures, and teas of nettle are not as effective. NOTE: If you are using fresh plants, older plants must be cooked thoroughly before ingesting.