7 Herbs & Spices For Your Healing and Wellbeing
Many cultures used and still use a variety of herbs and spices in cooking, not just for flavour and preservation of the food but also for the medicinal qualities the plants offer.
Herbs and spices have especially been used for new mothers and the healing after birth, especially ones that warm the body and help with digestion.
In pretty much all traditional cultures, the mother is fed warm, simple foods, that are easy to digest and also nutrient dense.
There a many herbs and spices that can be used, depending on the dish and here’s 7 of them and why they are beneficial. Try to use organic where possible.
Ginger – this is used in many cultures because it’s warming, it aids the blood and assists with good digestion. Remembering our digestive enzymes become low immediately after the birth, so herbs that support digestion are important. Fresh ginger is ideal in broths and soups.
Use in porridge and sweet rice dishes.
Some say to use ginger lightly at first with heavy bleeding and increase as the bleeding lightens.
Cardamom – related to the ginger family, this spice can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes and also aides with digestion. It’s warming and has anti-inflammatory properties which is beneficial for a postpartum body.
Fenugreek – is an ancient and well known herb for increasing breast milk supply (aka a galactagogue) and it also contains magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin A, B1, B2, B3 and C. Again, helpful for digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties as well as tonifying.
Fenugreek is also helpful for mucus congestion in lungs and head colds.
Fennel – another herb for breast milk production, (galactagogue) and digestion. Fennel can help with colic, when the baby is drinking breastmilk after the mother has had fennel tea. Contains Vitamins A, B, C, E, magnesium, calcium, silica to name a few.
Black Pepper -contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and is potentially helpful for managing inflammation. Not everyone enjoys black pepper, so be sure to honour your body if it’s not wanting it. Black pepper is used with turmeric to help with absorption of curcumin – the beneficial property in turmeric.
Turmeric – again, highly regarded for anti-inflammatory properties and aids digestion. It may also help brain function, dopamine levels and hormones and can act as a natural antidepressant. And it’s also warming.
Clove – another warming spice that promotes digestion. Clove can be used in sweet and savoury cooking like cardamom.
You can use ginger, cardamom and cloves in meals like porridge or rice puddings or your bone broths / vege broths and savoury meals. Add turmeric into the broths and meals also.
Fennel, ginger and cardamom also make a nice warming and light tea and aids digestion after a meal. Steep for 6-10 minutes in boiling water.
When you use herbs and spices to help digest your food, you will receive more nutrition from your meals.
If you’re early postpartum or have inflammation or digestive issues going on, keeping your food easy to digest, and having these herbs and spices daily will be beneficial.
A recipe for a warming milky (non dairy) drink to nourish you:
1 cup of almond/nut milk
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
1/4 tspn dried ginger or 1/2 inch fresh grated ginger
1/8 tspn black pepper, ground/cracked
1/4 tspn cardamom powder, or 6 cardamom pods, crushed
1/4 tspn cinnamon powder
1/4 tspn fennel seeds
Mix all spices together and place in a saucepan on low heat. Stir on the heat for 30 -60 seconds, then add water. Simmer for another minute. Add almond milk and slowly and gently warm.
Add honey to sweeten. Enjoy.
For more recipes, download the FREE Postpartum Wellness guide > > on the right column.
Many blessings Mama
(As always, I’m not a medical professional and the information I offer are suggestions only, not to be used as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider to discuss further.)