Saturday, July 19, 2008

Preparing for Baby

Rasberry leaves (Rubra idaeus 'Red Latham') on a rock after early morning harvest.

My method of harvest: I like to prune a stray branch off of the raspberry bush and snip off the triple leaves to ensure there's an easy stem for hang-drying. I leave the new growth leaves at the top of the cut stem and stick the stem back into the ground where I want a new bush, making sure to push it deep enough that several of the places where I'd cut off leaves are buried. Later, I'll have a new bush. Many like to spread the leaves out on a cotton sheet or hot rock to dry, but I have limited space, so I hang them just like any other herb.

Why raspberry leaves?: Raspberry leaves contain fragrine, an alkaloid which works to tone the muscles of the pelvis. The leaves are also rich in Vitamin C, contain some Vitamin E, and calcium and iron which are easily assimilated by the body.

Pregnancy uses: (taken from a variety of sources and altered to my own needs and anatomical idiosyncracies) I use a tea in the first and second trimesters (1 cup/day) to tone my uterus and give me SLIGHT relief from morning sickness. I still get nauseus, but mostly just when I wake in the morning or from a nap (yeah, right). The biggest benefit I get from raspberry leaf tea at this time is nourishment. I'm prone to slight anemia during my pregnancies, and I much prefer the subtle taste of raspberry leaf tea to the heavy metal taste of iron pills. If I do end up anemic, well, that's another post.

After the second trimester, I switch to an infusion of the leaves. I've had problems previously with my uterus "being lazy" after birth. The toning qualities of this herb are much needed in my third trimester to get things into shape.

Some women have good luck with raspberry leaf making their breast milk more plentiful, but I haven't had that experience. I'll be switching to other herbs postpartum for that purpose.

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