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So I guess pregnancy makes me crazy.

I noticed feeling depressed this pregnancy around 12 weeks. I was just down and completely useless as a mother and a wife. I mentioned to my loving husband that I felt down and he said he thought I was depressed during my last pregnancy. I must not have noticed it over all the puking, gall stones, high blood pressure, pain and over all grossness.

Anyway I talked to my midwife about my options. We discussed antidepressants, because I have been on them before for situational depression and postpartum depression. We discussed the merits of massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and therapy as well. She wrote me a prescription for antidepressants but I decided to do some research before filling it and taking the drugs. After careful consideration I did not think the benefits of the drugs did not outweigh the risks, namely the baby dealing with detoxification effects after birth, increased chance of colic, and increased chance of behavioral/neurological problems.

Considering I was not suicidal or homicidal, I decided to try natural solutions first.

I decided to take better quality health supplements that I was taking before I got pregnant and stopped taking because they cost more. I highly recommend finding a good whole food supplement. I was taking Standard Process, which I really like, but have gluten in them (I very recently got diagnosed with gluten intolerance) so I had to switch to a different supplement (Garden of Life/Vitamin code Prenatal) which is working well for me. I got my vitamin D levels tested and am taking liquid vitamin D drops. I also started taking a whole food Vitamin B complex (also Vitamin Code).

I get massage at least once a week, and am going to start going to acupuncture again (insurance ran out last year, but now it is covered again so I am going again).

I have increased my fat and protein ingestion with healthy animal fats, coconut oil, and omega-3 supplements in the form of cod liver oil. There is some great information out there about how these fats are beneficial to your nervous system and health. See http://www.westonaprice.org/basics/principles-of-healthy-diets .

On top of all this I did a lot of research on herbs that can help balance my nervous system and the rest of the body. I am very careful with herbs while pregnant because they are not tested for safety during pregnancy. You need to depend on years and years of gathered data from herbalists, doctors, midwives, and other professionals who deal with herbs on a daily basis.

A good rule of thumb I have found is if it is food it is usually safe. There are some notable exceptions though so do your home work!  There are some great books out there about herb safety during pregnancy, nursing and for use with children.

I went to my herbalist to discuss options for tea, and between the research I had done with my books and the interwebs, the herbalists vast knowledge, and the assistance of my midwife checking for safety we came up with my crazy pregnant lady tea. This tea is also safe for breast-feeding, we checked as I am still breast-feeding. I actually see an increase in my milk supply when I drink it, I am guessing because of the nutrient boost.

Not only is the tea great for depression/anxiety/neurological issues, but it is also extremely nourishing, especially for woman. All woman can benefit from this tea but this is formulated for its nourishing and tonifying to benefits specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding woman.

Here is what we came up with:

2 parts Red Raspberry Leaf
2 parts Nettle leaf
2 parts Oat straw
2 parts Chamomile
2 parts Lemon Balm
1 part St. Johns Wort*exclude if taking anti-depressants already*
1 part Lavender (optional)
 
Combine your herbs and store in a cool dry place. Use 1tbsp herbs per cup of boiling water. Let the herbs infuse in the water for 4-8 hours. The longer they infuse the more benefit you will receive from the herbs. Drink 3-4 cups a day. 

This is why we decided on these herbs:

Red Raspberry Leaf:  Is the “best known, most widely used, and safest of all uterine/pregnancy tonic herbs.” -Weed p.18 It is nutrient dense with high levels of vitamin c, vitamin E, easily assimilated calcium and iron, vitamins A and B complex, and many minerals including phosphorous and potassium. It is known to increase fertility, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, ease morning sickness, reduce pain during labor and after birth, and assists in the production of breast milk. If you do nothing else at least have a cup or two of this great tea every day. And it tastes good too! – Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

Nettle Leaf: Nettle One of the finest nourishing tonics known. Contains vitamins A, C, D, and K, Calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and sulfur. It aids in kidney health and function, increases fertility, nourishes the mother, fetus and placenta, eases cramps and muscle spasm, reduces pain, prevents hemorrhage after birth and increases the richness and amount of breast milk. - Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

Oat Straw:  This was an addition mentioned by my herbalist as a highly beneficial ingredient to the nervous system AND breast-feeding. It is also highly nutrient dense with high levels of Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamins B (complex), A, C. The oat straw I get from the herbalist is not processed in a plant with wheat or other gluten containing grains and is gluten-free. If that is a concern from you be sure to ask this to your herbal provider.  “Oat straw is a nervine, which means it provides nutrients to reinforce nerves, particularly when an individual is suffering from stress. It is high in vitamin B and can help people maintain restful and regulated sleep patterns and other nerve-related problems associated with sleep and stress, including insomnia, anxiety, memory less, depression and restless legs”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/105497-benefits-oat-straw/#ixzz1kX3xrKuS

Chamomile:  Chamomile is probably one of the most widely used relaxing nerve tonics. It is used to relieve mental stress and tension. It is calming, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-spasmodic for easing muscle cramps, nervine (helps soothe, calm and strengthen the nervous system). -The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green

Lemon Balm:  *fresh lemon balm is listed in the Wise Woman Herbal as an emenogogue (helps bring on periods). I use dried lemon balm and have had no issues but if mis-carriage is a concern you may want to exclude this from your tea. This was one recommended by my herbalist to add to the tea and was checked for safety by my midwife with no concerns. Lemon balm is considered specific for helping one cope with life situations that are difficult to accept. It is an old favorite for depression, melancholy, and hysteria. - Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year by Susan Weed

St. Johns Wort:  Is nervine (helps soothe, calm and strengthen the nervous system). It has a sedative and pain relieving effect appropriate for treating neuralgia, anxiety and tension, and any irritable and anxious effects of menopausal changes. As an anti-depressant, it is highly recommended for treatment of melancholia or “the blues”. -The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green.  There is a lot of misleading information on the internet about St. Johns Wort. It has never been proven  to cause miscarriage, birth defects, or to decrease milk supply. It has at best been anecdotally linked. My herbalist consulted three different books, (two written by medical doctors) about the risk to pregnancy and did not find anything concerning. It in fact is known as a moistening herb and can slightly increase your milk supply. If you are concerned please consult your health care professional and find information for your self!

Lavender: I listed this herb as optional because it is not synergistic to me. It does not calm me, but makes my nervous system twitchy, which is not a normal reaction. For this reason I do not include it in my tea but the herbalist suggested it might be beneficial. It is well-known to ease stress, tension and headaches. -Natural Health by Nerys Purchon

I hope this helps explain the tea and the great things it does. As always this is not intended for medical advice and you should speak to your health care provider before starting any herbal routine. As I said I worked on this with my herbalist and midwife to come up with the best solution for me. I hope this helps anyone who is suffering and can serve as a great guideline!

I get my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are the highest quality, organic herbs at a wonderful price!

What do you do to help combat anxiety/depression?

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20 Responses to Crazy Pregnant Lady Tea

  1. MamaMiri says:

    Where do you buy your gluten free oat grass? I’m having a hard time finding it! Thanks : )

    • Amanda says:

      I get it from my herbalist http://www.rebeccasherbs.com/ BUT if you are not in the Boulder area this is the explanation I got. Hopefully it will be helpful to you too.

      There is no gluten in the grass of the plant, and most gluten found in “oats” are an american strain of oats, that are usually processed with other gluten containing grains. The oat grass its self is gluten free. You have to be sure it is processed before the grain has sprouted, and is processed in a location that does not process gluten containing grains. So, say, a farmer that just works with oat grass, or just works with herbs, but does not work with grains would be safe.

      This is why I really like having a small local herbalist to work with, because she knows how the plants are sourced, produced, purchased, and when they were harvested.

    • Amanda says:

      I have started buying my herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs. They are organic, high quality and a wonderful price!

  2. [...] have used St. Johns wort for over a year. I started adding it to my Crazy Pregnant Lady Tea when I was having depression issues while I was pregnant. I could have gone onto antidepressants, [...]

  3. Your post makes me feel good … I’m glad I’m not the only one going through this! I’ve been trying to reduce my anxiety because its contributing to my elevated BP and the doctor wants me to take meds he claid was ok while bf but actually wasn’t. When I’m feeling fine my BP is normal, better than it could ever be for the last 5 year. My anxiety is almost becoming a major issue so knowing there is a possible remedy puts my mind at ease. I’ll see what my new doc thinks. And by the way, thanks for your post.

    • Amanda says:

      I am glad it could help you feel less alone. I know how hard it is! Nutrition definitely plays a role in anxiety. I might suggest seeing a Holistic Nutritionist with a Weston A Price Foundation background that might help you nourish your body and regain health. Good luck!

  4. [...] I started making and drinking my Crazy Pregnant Lady Tea that helped keep the crazy at bay. I also started taking St. Johns Wort for anxiety and depression [...]

  5. Rebecca L. says:

    Love your blog and writing style! I came back to this post via your top post of 2012. While I know you formulated this tea with pregnancy in mind, I wondered if you had heard anything about St. John’s Wort counteracting birth control pills as I have? That’s what has stopped me from taking supplements of it so far [not quite ready to be a crazy pregnant lady yet :) ], though my boyfriend swears by its anti-depressant properties. It might be something to note!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Rebecca! Yes I have heard St. Johns Wort counteracting birth control pills. What is interesting is that it shows up in none of my books BUT when I discuss SJW with other herbalists they have heard of it counteracting birth control. In a tea like this where it is a small amount of the brew I wouldn’t be too concerned. Taking it in pill form or as a tincture would be more of a risk, especially if you take it at the same time as your pill. If you space it out at different times of the day your risk would be less but still there. You can make this tea for nervous system support and feeling down without the SJW and still see magnificent benefits.

  6. Cookie says:

    all the ingredients in the tea sound great and safe, but I read in medical journals that its best to avoid st. johns wort if pregnant, so i’m going to leave that ingredient out of the tea. Its not proven that it is safe for pregnancy

    • Amanda says:

      Like I said in the post, it was between SJW and anti-depressants so after consulting with my midwife and herbalist I decided it was right for me. I suggest everyone consult with their health care practitioners to see what is right for them. After doing plenty of research I felt safer using SJW than using prescription meds.

  7. Laura says:

    I am very excited to try this brew! I have never had a problem with anxiety or depression until I had kids (all 18m apart). Iron has been a big help after childbirth too. I had made a brew from The Bulk Herb Store which included alfalfa during my last pregnancy. I think I will take out the SJW here and add in alfalfa which is rich in nutrients. Thanks for the recipe and I’m glad to know other ladies in the same boat!

  8. lily longflower says:

    nice little article, helpful for many. one point of difference, i find mountain rose’s herbs to be extremely variable in quality so while many are very nice quality i have received really low quality stuff from there often enough that i shop elsewhere for most things.

    thanks for helping the ladies!

    cheers, lily

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks Lilly! I have never gotten low quality herbs from MRH but thanks for the heads up. I have gotten low quality herbs from frontier and starwest bonaticals (sadly). Where do you like to get your herbs?

  9. […] Crazy Pregnant Lady Tea @ Natural Living Mama […]

  10. Jessica says:

    Is it right to let the tea steep 4-8 hours? Did you mean minutes?

  11. Charity says:

    This sounds wonderful. Did you consider Damiana Leaf at all?

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