with herbalist Susun Weed
A friend of mine just had an unplanned Cesarean section and would like to use herbs to help her heal. Do you have any topical salves and infusions/tinctures to recommend for this specific situation? Thank you for any wisdom you can share.
Susun Weed’s response:
Below are some nourishing, tonic, and anti-infective herbs to use following a cesarean.
Safe Use of Herbs After a Cesarean:
- Water-based infusions provide optimum benefit and greatest safety
- Capsules are most likely to cause ill-effects and odd reactions
- Avoid poisonous forms of herbs such as essential oils
- Use tinctures diluted to treat acute problems
- Herbs move rapidly into breast milk (10-20 minutes)
Simple Nourishing Herbs for Mother and Child After a Cesarean:
- Nourishing herbal infusions:
- Nettle (Urtica dioica)
- Oatstraw (Avena sativa)
- Comfrey leaf (Symphytum uplandica)
- Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
- Linden flowers (Tillia americana)
- Benefits of nourishing herbal infusions after a cesarean:
- Nettle increases breast milk and helps replace blood loss.
- Oatstraw improves sleep and strengthens the nervous system.
- Comfrey leaf helps incisions heal and helps prevent scarring.
- Red clover improves breast milk production and brings hormonal sanity.
- Linden soothes and heals mucus surfaces and incisions; prevents colds.
Tonic Herbs for Mother and Child After a Cesarean:
- Water bases:
- Raspberry leaf (Rubus ideaus) to tonify uterus.
- Aromatic mints – rosemary, lavender, and lemon balm – for digestion.
- Avoid sage (Salvia officinalis) if breast feeding.
- Tincture bases:
- Astragalus (A. membranaceous) strengthens immunity, prevents infection.
- Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) to ease after-birth pain and prevent post-partum depression.
Herbs That Can Counter Infection After a Cesarean:
- Echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia) to increase macrophages; counter bacteria.
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) against all gram-positive and -negative bacteria.
- Usnea (U. barbarata) to counter deep infection.
- Poke root (Phytolacca americana) – USE WITH CAUTION.
THE EMPOWERED WOMAN PROMOTES HER OWN HEALTH
Benefits to Being Pro-Active in Healing After a Cesarean:
• Quicker healing for mom.
• Less scarring of the incision site.
• Better bonding between mom and babe.
• Deeper sleep for mom and babe.
• Fewer problems with infection at incision site and fewer infections for baby.
Bringing It Home:
- Making nourishing infusions:
• One ounce stinging nettle, quart of boiling water; steep 4 hours – for energy.
• One ounce oatstraw, quart of boiling water; steep 4 hours – for patience.
- One ounce comfrey leaf, quart of boiling water, steep 4 hours, strain; rebrew with two cups cold water, bring to a boil; steep 4 hours, strain – to improve chances of a VBAC with next child.
- One ounce red clover blossom, quart of boiling water, steep 4 hours, strain – to prepare for the next pregnancy.
- One-half ounce linden flowers, quart of boiling water, steep 4 hours, strain; rebrew with two cups cold water, bring to a boil; steep 4 hours, strain.
- Additions to infusions:
- Honey (Note: do not give honey to infants younger than 12 months)
- The Israeli Public Health Ministry recommends against soy beverage for children under the age of eighteen (18); it’s not good for mom either.
- Juice (Note: problems with fructose)
- Sources for buying herbs and tinctures:
- Listed in my books and website
photos: Wise Woman Spiral ©iStockphoto.com / Chuck Spidell | Eclipse ©2001 Wendy Wilkerson