Congratulations! You have stepped into the world of motherhood. Pregnancy and giving birth to a new life can have distinct impacts on your life. Motherhood is quite an overwhelming process for new moms. The bizarre mix of emotional and physical changes in your body can be challenging. The first common feelings to hit are baby blues.
The majority of mother’s face baby blues – mood swings, over-excitement one moment, and sadness in the next. Baby blues often go away a week or two after birth, but sometimes, mothers might experience deep ongoing depression that lasts for a longer duration. ‘Postpartum depression’ - according to the Canadian Mental Health Association is depression that may start during pregnancy or anytime in a year after the birth of a child. Postpartum depression (PPD) results due to the storm of hormonal imbalances that occurs in new mothers, let’s be real – you're juggling a lot as a new mom. The flux and imbalances of new hormones can cause feelings of depression, insomnia, lack of energy, and restlessness. If you’re feeling depressed after your baby’s birth, you may be reluctant to admit it. But if you experience any symptoms of postpartum depression, and you continue to feel worse, tell a loved one, call your doctor and schedule an appointment. You are not alone.
In Canada, almost one quarter of mothers experience symptoms of postpartum depression. However it is particularly challenging for women of color and low-income mothers, as they are almost twice as likely to suffer from postpartum depression but also far less likely to receive treatment than other mothers. This is often due to a cultural stigma that discourages mental health counseling as well as a fear of losing their children due to a system that may not fairly evaluate the need to remove children due to racial bias and discrimination. Learn more here.
PPD is a very real issue and treating it is the right decision for new parents. But, before incorporating the use of any herbs and natural remedies, talk to your physician or doctor who can refer you to somewhere like CAMH who specialize in dealing with your PPD safely and confidentially.
If you're feeling some of the symptoms linked to postpartum depression, or have a case of the baby blues, these natural herbal remedies may be exactly what you need to help brighten up those cloudy days. One way to help in regulating PPD naturally is using natural herbal remedies to help balance and regulate hormones. Herbal remedies are a humble and somewhat simple way to treat depression after your pregnancy. Here are seven effective herbs for postpartum depression and tips on how you can incorporate them into your every day.
Withania somnifera, commonly known as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry, is the most stimulating herb in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb can restore the physical and mental strength of the body. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body to adapt to physical, biological, and chemical stress.
The herb is also known for its aphrodisiac properties, meaning it helps to improve the reproductive health of the body. Ashwagandha is a vital therapeutic herb for PPD support as it helps in stimulating, eases stress and depression, and helps you to regain physical vitality and strength after childbirth.
Hot tip: Sun Potion's Ashwagandha Transcendent Elixir is easily administrable by putting it in your morning smoothie.
Matricaria chamomilla, commonly known as chamomile or German chamomile, is an ancient remedy used to treat menstrual problems in women, insomnia, and depression. The active ingredients present in chamomile have mild sedative effects, which can alleviate symptoms of depression in postpartum women.
During breastfeeding, chamomile is safe for you and your baby. Chamomile can also alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and restlessness in mothers suffering from PPD. This herb can help to aid better sleep in mothers who have insomnia and postpartum fatigue.
Hot tip: Traditional Medicinals Chamomile Tea is worth trying.
Rhodiola rosea, commonly known as Rhodiola, arctic root, or golden root, was widely used by Eurasian people for treating fatigue, depression, and anxiety for centuries. Till today, Rhodiola is used to enhance the physical and mental endurance of the body. This herb is also a natural adaptogen; hence it helps to alleviate the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, which is also responsible for PPD in new mothers.
Rhodiola has antidepressant, antioxidant and nervine properties, which help in stimulating alertness, reduce fatigue, improve mood and eases depressed mental states. The concoction of Rhodiola will provide energy and stamina to tired mothers throughout the day.
Hot tip: Sisu Rhodiola Stress Caps are a well-received option for taking Rhodiola in the form of capsules.
Leonurus cardiaca, commonly known as Motherwort or lion’s tail, is herb primarily used for women’s health and is also an excellent heart tonic. Motherwort is generally a very supportive herb for mothers and overall female health. The remedy supports uterine health before and after birth too. It can help ease postpartum childbirth pains.
Motherwort can relieve feelings of depression, stress, overwhelm, and anxiety. It has a mild sedative effect which helps in calming and soothing of nerves, alleviating the symptoms of PPD. The active components of motherwort help to keep hormones balanced.
Hot tip: Herb Pharm's Motherwort Liquid Extract can be consumed easily by adding it to water or juice.
Eleutherococcus senticosus, commonly known as Eleuthero, Siberian ginseng, or devil’s bush, was noted as the most precious herbs in the known world in the book – Compendium of Materia Medica. Eleuthero is not the same as Asian or American ginseng; it has completely different compounds. This herb is a natural adaptogen; Russians scientists mentioned it has a fascinating ability to help the body to adapt to stress.
Eleuthero may lack in clinical studies for use during breastfeeding, but in general, is well tolerated. It enhances physical and mental endurance in mothers after childbirth. The antistress effects of this herb can alleviate the symptoms of the PPD and improve quality of life measures. Eleuthero also improved the signs of chronic fatigue and aids in sleep.
Hot tip: Eleuthero root can be used raw by making tea, soup, and various other dishes. It is also available in ready to consume forms, such as Nowfoods' Eleuthero Veg Capsules.
Cannabis is infamous for its psychotic effects yet has positive effects in treating advanced mental disorders. The use of medical marijuana or recreational hemp or hash for treating depression is rapidly gaining the attention of the medical community. However, the use of cannabis after pregnancy is highly understudied and needs more research. While procuring cannabis, remember High Supplies is a leader in the Cannabis industry in 2020 and one should try them for high-quality products.
Cannabis can highly relieve the effects of PPD in new mothers and are cautioned not to use it if you are going to breastfeed your baby. The endocannabinoids present in cannabis regulate mood, pain sensitivity, and aids in sleep. CBD (Cannabidiol) might be the next potential remedy to treat PPD but lacks supportive studies. Yet! There are examples of mothers sharing their favorable experiences with cannabis tackling PPD.
Hot tip: Mary's Chocolate Bars are a fun way to take cannabis if feeling low.
Vitex agnus-castus, commonly known as chaste berry or monk’s pepper, is a traditional herbal remedy to treat a variety of gynecological problems like PMS, symptoms of menopause and fertility issues. This herb is mainly known to resolve the problems of the reproductive system affecting women.
Vitex reacts with dopamine receptors and decreases the hyperactivity of prolactin, which is very common in nursing mothers – resulting in the balancing of hormones estrogen and progesterone. The activity of vitex relieves the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and cravings. This herb is a potential remedy to treat PPD, as it directly influences the changing hormonal activity in new mothers. However, due to the lack of data and its lactation suppression properties, studies suggest that it should be avoided during breastfeeding.
Hot tip: Nature's Way Vitex(Chaste Tree) Capsules is an excellent choice for taking your daily dose of Vitex. It is advisable to take these regularly as the best results are obtained with continuous use.
The bottom line
If you are feeling blue post-baby, you are not alone and there are some natural remedies that can help. These herbs are generally safe for the mothers and their newborn babies. Most of the herbs lack enough clinical studies to give a conclusive statement on use during breastfeeding, but they are proven to be beneficial for PPD and are part of herbal remedies, which ancient people used centuries ago.
Remember that you are not alone and you will have a better tomorrow.
If you are feeling symptoms similar to those of postpartum depression, please seek medical attention.
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