• midwife michele

Herbs For Postpartum Sitz Bath



*First things first, there are a limitless variety of concoctions for pregnant folks to be overwhelmed by. Every midwife and herbalist has their own special, often proprietary, blend of herbs or herbal remedies for sitz baths. Mine is no more or less special than the next one.*


How do we make and take herbal remedies? It is not difficult to make herbal remedies. The only truly difficult part is the waiting! Below are the simple and easy methods I have used for years for myself, my family, and my clients. I have also shared simple and easy dosing instructions, but it is strongly advised that you seek the guidance of your own personal healthcare provider to make sure these are appropriate for you.


Basic Preparations: – Infusion – 1 inch dried herbs in 1 quart canning jar; fill with boiling water; steep at least 2 hours (overnight is preferred)


Basic Dosing: – Sitz bath – prepare infusion; reheat for sitz bath or use room temp/chilled in peri bottle for rinsing perineum


What herbs are commonly used to heal and soothe the perineum? The following herbs listed are commonly used for healing and soothing the perineum. I have given both their common name and their Latin name to help with identification. I have also included reasons why the herbs are used (what their functions are).


Uva Ursi/Bearberry Leaf (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) – antimicrobial, diuretic, antiseptic, astringent, and antibacterial; used for UTIs and kidney infections and has an anti-inflammatory effect on mucous membranes.


Witch Hazel Leaf/Bark (Hamamelis virginiana)* – styptic, analgesic, tonic, sedative, and astringent; used for menorrhagia, aftercare in miscarriages and abortions, and to slow both internal and external bleeding. *Commercial preparations can be used in sitz baths, but do not boil with herbs; mix 2/3 cooled herbal infusion with 1/3 witch hazel solution.


Comfrey Leaf/Root (Symphytum officinale)* – contains high amounts of Calcium and Vitamin C; anti-inflammatory, mucilage, demulcent, astringent, and expectorant; used for broken bones, internal/external bleeding, and healing wounds. *Do not use on deep cuts/lacerations or perineum tears exceeding 1st degree, instead use Plantain Leaf/Root/Flower/Whole Plant (Plantago major).


Epsoms Salts (Magnesium sulphate)* – an inorganic salt compound containing magnesium, sulphur, and oxygen; used for drawing out impurities and for soothing soreness and inflammation. *Do not boil with herbs; add 1/4 Cup salt to 2 Cups warm herbal infusion.


Lavender Leaf/Stem/Flower/Root/Whole Plant (Lavandula angustifolia/L. officinalis)– relaxant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and circulatory stimulant; used for speeding up healing and scar prevention.


Chamomile Flowers (Matricaria chamomilla/Chamomilla recutita)* – source of magnesium; used for sedative/relaxant qualities and muscle pain. *Also avoid if history of being allergic to ragweeds.


Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – astringent; used for slow healing wounds and to stop excessive bleeding.


Chickweed Leaf/Stem (Stellaria media) – contains ascorbic-acid, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, and zinc; astringent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, and laxative; used for healing wounds and soothing itchy skin.


Nettle Leaf/Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) – very high levels of chlorophyll, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and trace minerals; used for allergies, asthma, hyPERtension, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, immunity boost, hair/scalp issues, UTIs, strengthens kidneys and adrenal glands, respiratory illnesses, and blood purification.


Lemon Balm/Melissa Leaf (Melissa officinalis) – analgesic, antiviral; used for pain, depression, headaches, sedative, earache, morning sickness, hyPERthyroidism, herpes, and functional gastrointestinal complaints; used for pain.


Recipes: The following recipes are based off of the herbal profiles above and how I typically prepare them in my practice, though I often have to adjust the accordingly for specific client needs. It is extremely important that you seek the advice of your healthcare provider before trying any herbal remedy or supplement. Herbs are strong Medicine.


Postpartum Sitz Bath: Uva Ursi (1 part) Witch Hazel (2 parts plant; or 1/3 commercial solution added to 2/3 cooled herbal infusion of other herbs) Comfrey (1 part) (only if minor lacerations/abrasions & up to 1st degree tear) Epsom Salts (1/4 Cup to 2 Cups warm herbal infusion; do not boil with herbs) Lavender (1/4 part) Chamomile (1 part) Yarrow (1 part) Chickweed (1 part) Nettle Leaf (1 part) Lemon Balm (2 parts)


Sources Used: – Clinical Phytotherapy for Women’s Health, by C. Cabrera – The Book of Herbal Wisdom, by M. Wood – Medical Herbalism, by D. Hoffmann – Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy and Lactation: An Evidence-Based Approach, by E. Mills et al – Herbs and Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide (3rd edition, 2010), by L. Braun and M. Cohen – The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants, by M. Wood – The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants, by M. Wood – Herbalism: An Illustrated Guide, by N. Shaw (Element Books Unlimited) – Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, by R. Gladstar – Erin Walker, Midwife and Herbalist – Family wisdom passed from elders down to me


{Disclaimer: Educational purposes only. This information is NOT medical advice or meant to diagnose or treat an illness. If you have questions or concerns, please seek the advisement of a physician, naturopath, or herbalist before using any herbal preparation for yourself or your family.}


#herbsforpostpartum #herbsforsitzbath #postpartum #sitzbath #herbalism #herbsforchildbearingyear

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