In The Childbearing Year, Susan Weed defines fertility herbs as herbs which
1. Nourish and tonify the uterus
2. Nourish the entire body
3. Relax the nervous system
4. Establish and balance normal functioning of the hormonal system
5. Balance Sexual desire
Ah, of course, I think as I read her list. It’s pretty intuitive, and I imagine each couple may resonate more fully with one particular aspect on the list. Perhaps the stress of trying to get pregnant and not succeeding has built up to the point where relaxing the nervous system might make all the difference. Or, perhaps a woman looks at her situation and finds that she’s never had regular periods and so will seek out herbs to balance her hormonal system. As you consider the fertility herbs that are right for you, I suggest first taking some quiet time with yourself and, using Susan’s list as a guide, discover how you would like the herbs to contribute to your life at this time. Set an intention for yourself in your interactions with the plants, and then begin to read about different options, compile information and choose a path for yourself to follow in promoting fertility.
For myself while trying to conceive and throughout my pregnancy and time as a nursing mother, I have sought out herbs that nourish and tonify my female body, herbs that are like food for my body. They work quietly and slowly, gently strengthening my body’s functioning. My standard brew (meaning my daily nourishing herbal drink) has been an infusion of nettle leaves, oatstraw, and red raspberry. I love this tea, and feel its absence on days I forget to put it on to steep in the morning. So, to make it, I take one handful of each of these dried herbs (enough to make about one ounce total) and put them in a quart mason jar. I fill the jar with boiling water, cover the jar, and let it steep at least four hours.
Then, I strain it and drink it at room temperature. You can also enjoy it heated or chilled as iced tea. Or if you don’t enjoy the taste; you can mix it with fruit juice. I have definitely developed a taste for it, and look forward to drinking it each day. As I drink it, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the nourishing qualities of the herbs in my life. All of the herbs in this standard brew are great fertility herbs. Nettle leaves will tonify your uterus and their high chlorophyll content feeds the hormonal system. Oatstraw is a wonderful tonic for the nervous system and a gentle enhancer of sexual desire. Oatstraw is also a great source of calcium, so important for women throughout the childbearing time. Red raspberry leaves are also a great source of calcium and act as a uterine tonic.
After reading Susan Weed’s section on fertility herbs I would probably add red clover flowers to my standard brew while trying to conceive. She says red clover is ” the single most useful herb for establishing fertility.” It is high in vitamins and protein which tonify the uterus and the entire body, it’s rich in very absorbable calcium and magnesium which act to calm stressed nerves, and it has a high mineral content which will help restore and balance hormonal functions. Not to mention that I love the taste of red clover tea. I recommend a practice of drinking a standard brew every day, whether you are seeking increased fertility or not. It is a great way to bring the healing and nourishing power of herbs into your life on a daily basis. Experiment with different herbs to find a taste you enjoy and as you read about different herbs to try keep in mind your intention, and how you would like to work with the herbs at this time. You will find the combination that is right for you.
Expect extraordinary, though not immediate results. This is slow, effective medicine. Give yourself a time frame, say six months of drinking the infusion most every day, and then evaluate the results, and consider your next course of action.
Think not only about whether the fertility herbs have led to conception, but check in about how are you feeling over all. What were you addressing at the outset – stress, balanced hormonal system? What’s changed for you in these areas?
Could another six months of this help, or is it there something else you want to address now? How can you engage the herbs at this time?
Experimenting with gentle, nourishing fertility herbs can be a great way to develop your relationship with the plants. It may be the beginning of a daily practice of drinking a standard brew, or an opportunity to learn about some herbs that are new to you.
Perhaps it is your chance to learn about asking the questions that help you set your own intentions for healing or you may develop a new level of interaction and engagement with the amazing plants through your journey with the fertility herbs.
I wish you health and the stirring of new life within!