Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Big News and a Tutorial!

Hey! Wow it's been a while, huh? After my HBAC I felt so at peace about my c-section that I didn't feel the need to blog, plus two kids...whoa. They're a lot of work! Who would have thought?!

Good thing they're adorable.
 Anyway. Big news! I'm knocked up again! Currently I'm 9 weeks and due at the very end of the year. We heard the baby's heartbeat today and IT. WAS. BEAUTIFUL.Vala is super excited about this baby (I supposed she doesn't realize yet that it will actually be another sibling and not a doll...) and Anya, who is 18 months now put on her best grumpy cat face at the midwife's so I assume she generally disapproves of the whole idea. She'll be fine though. She's a trooper.

I love you Tard.
 We're planning another HBAC. And this time, I WILL make it to the birth pool. Or at least my husband better be prepared to pick up my slippery pregnant whale self and stick me in there! Stay tuned to the blog for what will likely be pathetically sporadic updates! (I really know how to sell myself, don't I?)

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Along with sharing our news I thought I would share a tutorial with you guys for the thrifty pregnancy tincture that I made for myself. I'm not a big fan of tea, but I wanted all the good stuff that comes from drinking pregnancy tea. I also was taking a supplement to help my milk supply since Anya is still nursing and on top of that I was having some issues with anxiety and allergies, so I threw in a few pregnancy safe herbs for that as well. This way I have one bottle to deal with instead of a giant handful of expensive capsules everyday. The process was really pretty easy and I think just about anyone can do it. There are other methods, but this was the fastest, so that's what I did. I'm impatient.

I started with gathering my supplies and herbs. I have a great local herb store, so I loaded the kids up and got myself some herbage! There are some great online stores as well, a lot of my friends swear by Mountain Rose Herbs.

To make my tincture, you'll need the following-

- Crockpot
- Washcloth
- Glass jar (I used a 24oz Ball Jar)
- Vegetable Glycerin
- Herbs of your choice, I used;

Red Raspberry Leaf-
Considered the “herb supreme” for pregnancy, raspberry leaf tones and nourishes the uterine muscles, is rich in vitamins and minerals and is especially high in naturally chelated iron, which the body can readily assimilate. It enriches and increases the flow of milk (*galactagogue), helps restore the system following childbirth, and is a good all purpose, pleasant tasting herb to drink during pregnancy.

Dandelion Leaf-
A potent source of vitamins and minerals. You’ll not find many food sources that have a higher
percentage or quality of vitamin A, calcium and iron, useful for treating anemia, fatigue and exhaustion many pregnant women experience. Dandelion leaf tea is a mild diuretic and helps eliminate excess water from the system. Because the leaf is high in natural potassium, it does not deplete potassium in the system as do synthetic diuretics. Also helps promote lactation and enriches breastmilk.

Alfalfa-
Rich source of vitamin K, which is a factor in the clotting of blood and helps prevent hemorrhage in both mother and baby. Alfalfa is high in protein, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C and E. It can aid with digestion and the assimilation of nutrients. It has been known to lower blood pressure and balance hormones. This nutritional powerhouse can also be used to help the production of breast milk (*galactagogue). Do not take, if you are on blood thinners.

Nettles-
This herb provides excellent support for your kidneys and is rich in vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium,
potassium, phosphorus, iron and sulfur. It helps prevent leg cramps and postpartum hemorrhage (due to its high vitamin K content), can ease postpartum pains, nourishes the circulatory system to reduce hemorrhoids, and encourages abundant breast milk (*galactagogue).  Provides an effective relief  for women who suffer from allergies during pregnancy.

Eyebright-
Useful in treating seasonal allergies.

Oatstraw-
This highly nutritious herb is very high in magnesium, calcium, chromium, vitamin A, silicon and sodium. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to menstrual disorders, irritability and poor calcium absorption. Oats have also been traditionally used to treat nervousness and anxiety.

Skullcap-
Used for anxiety and insomnia. This one is controversial as there as debate as to it's safety during pregnancy. Please consult your health care provider.

Lemon Balm-
Considered specific for helping one cope with life situations that are difficult to accept. It is an old favorite for depression, melancholy, and hysteria.

Chamomile-
Aids digestions and bowel problems and relaxes for good sleep.



Fill your jar half way with your herbs. I used equal amounts, but if you wanted more of something and less of another, go for it! Then cover the herbs with boiling water just to moisten them.



Add your vegetable glycerin to about an inch from the top.  Screw on lid. 



Place jar in Crockpot on top of a washcloth (to keep things from cracking) and fill the Crockpot with water until the herbs are covered in the water. My Crockpot was a little short, but if you can go all the way up to just before the rim of the lid, that's recommended. Turn the Crockpot on to low heat and leave for three whole days, adding water as needed to keep the herbs covered. You can occasionally, very carefully, use oven mitts and pick up the jar and give it a quick swish to get things moved around a bit.


Once your three days is up, turn off the Crockpot, remove the jar and allow to cool. Once cool to the touch, drain the herbs over a cloth lined strainer/bowl set up. I used an old cotton cloth napkin. You can use cheesecloth or whatever you wish really. I wouldn't recommend paper towels since they'll fall apart and that would be gross and no good linens since this stuff stains. 



Wash your jar and pour your tincture back in. Seal it up, you're done! I use an old tincture bottle with a dropper for my daily doses and keep the rest in my fridge. I'm sure that's not necessary since tinctures can last for 3-5 years when stored in a cool, dark place. 



I take a dropper full under my tongue twice a day, but I'll throw in an extra dose if my allergies are acting up. Works like a charm!

All the supplies cost me $40, but I have a TON of herbs leftover (I'm thinking of using some of them to make some postpartum herbal supplies later on) so the value compared to buying individual 1 or 2 oz tinctures or even tea and capsules is tremendous!


*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a midwife. I am not a certified herbalist. I did work at a health food store in the vitamin department at one point, but I am no expert. Please consult your health care provider before using any herbs during pregnancy or lactation.

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