Supporting the Blood and Liver during Pregnancy and Menstruation

As Women, who wondrously bleed with the moon and create and birth new life, we may be more susceptible to iron deficiency and anemia as we lose more blood and in general have a lower hematocrit. I have to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with this, nor is it a weakness, but rather a strength and a beautiful opportunity to tune more in to our bodies needs and hear the way our womb calls us to take care of ourselves.

Iron deficient based anemia plays a huge role in prenatal fatigue, post partum depression and excessive PMS symptoms (PMS is a natural and beautiful way our body encourages us to relax and go inward during that part of our cycle- but PMS that causes suffering needs to be supported). It also turns out that Iron tablets are not only seriously lacking in bioavailability (you need many other minerals to facilitate absorption, like Magnesium, Calcium, Copper and protein!)  and thus useless, but they may actually be more harmful than physicians previously thought. Taking iron in the form of a pill or syrup, can also cause or worsen constipation, which is the last thing a pregnant women needs, as her intestines are already compromised to facilitate her miraculously growing baby.

Along with blood and iron support, sometimes our amazing livers need a little extra love and support to continually break down the large amount of hormones that are present throughout our Moon cycle and even more so during pregnancy. Supporting the liver can also help restore balance to the body when high levels of estrogen cause imbalance in the form of acne, violent mood swings, thyroid conditions and many other things that may happen to you in a noticeably cyclic manner. It is important to remember here that these symptoms are present to teach us something deeper about our bodies and spirits, and rather than covering them up, we are listening to them, learning and helping to support the body to return to a healed and whole state, with the help of plant allies but also with contemplation, meditation and self care.

To support our strong blood and our incredible hard working livers, we have many plant allies that fit this job perfectly. This Iron and Mineral rich syrup, that also supports the cleansing pathways of the liver and stimulates proper digestion, is the perfect plant medicine for all menstruating and pregnant women. It includes three herbs and the Iron powerhouse of blackstrap molasses.

The first of three herbs is Rumex crispus, or Yellow dock, which not only is rich in Iron, but also loaded with Vitamin C which actually increased bioavailability and absorption of Iron significantly. (Mother Earth is amazing like that!)  Yellow dock also is loaded with other minerals and B vitamins, and all together builds blood and acts as an alterative, or stimulant to the liver. This herb is also very stimulating to the GI system, so can gently help with the pesky pregnancy constipation! 

Root of Rumex crisps

Root of Rumex crisps

Next in this formula is Taraxacum officinalis, or Dandelion root- which is one of my personal favorite herbs. Sharon Tilgner, an herbalist and author of Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth says "She allows us to see beauty in the most mundane of our worlds treasures and the gifts in those we consider to be giftless." Dandelion helps to protect and restore the liver and is also rich in vitamins and minerals that aid in the absorption and utilization of Iron. Energetically, Dandelion is a powerful herb for Women as she protects us and uplifts our spirits, which is helpful in the beautiful darkness of bleeding and the unspoken sense of grief that may accompany many women as they prepare to become mothers.

The third and powerhouse of all forest medicines, Nettles, or Urtica dioica, is one of the most nutrient dense plants on this continent. Nettles carry Iron, as well as Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamins A and K and countless other nutritious minerals and vitamins. She nourishes the blood, supports the liver, and brings abundance in a similar manner to which she grows in the forests of the PNW! She also calms skin issues like chronic itching, dry scalp, eczema, which may flare up during moon times or pregnancy.

By combing all of these herbs with Blackstrap molassses, you create a powerful biochemical and energetic medicine that will strengthen, support and restore balance to both your blood and your liver throughout your cycle or your pregnancy! This will leave you feeling more energized, experience gentler transitions between aspects of your cycle, and will support a faster recovery both physically and emotionally during your postpartum gateway into motherhood. The adapted recipe below was inspired by Aviva Romm,MD.

 

Recipe:

 

2 tbsp Rumex cripus dried root

2 tbsp Taraxacum officinalis dried root

2 tbsp dried Nettle leaf

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of blackstrap molassas

2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

 

Combine 4 cups of water, Rumex crispus and Taraxacum off. In a saucepan, bring to a simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until liquid is reduced down to about 1.5 cups. At this point, add the Nettle leaves, and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes. The liquid should reduced down to about 1 cup.

Strain out the herb using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Add the molasses and maple syrup to the decoction (liquid remaining after removing the plant material) and stir well. Let cool to room temperature before bottling and storing in the fridge. This mix should keep for about 2-3 weeks.

Dosage: take 2 tbsp up to twice daily during pregnancy or anytime during your moon cycle until balance is restored.

 

Enjoy this information and recipe!

Plant Blessings to all!