“For thousands of years, knowledge of the herbs and wild plants that could increase fertility were the secrets of the village wise women. Many people erroneously believe that “primitive people” had no means of controlling the likelihood of pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth.” (Susun Weed)
Is There Such a Thing As Medicinal Herbs?
It is easy to fall into a thinking pattern where herbs like basil and parsley are “foods” while herbs like dried raspberry leaves or red clover are “supplements”, “non-edible,” or even “weeds”. But in reality, all edible herbs serve a powerful purpose, just like regular food does. Parsley builds iron in the body. Kale is a great source of calcium while being low in oxalic acid at the same time. The list goes on.
The difference is just that we are used to consuming common roots, herbs, and flowers but are weary of trying something that can turn out to be poisonous if we don’t identify it properly. Still, a lot of research exists on medicinal herbs, and many of them are wonderfully suited for the pregnant woman or the woman who wishes to get pregnant but needs a little help from Mother Nature.
It often seems strange to me that people trust multi-million dollar pharmaceutical companies to heal them when often time all these companies do is use nature’s plants, extract certain components, patent them, and sell them for a premium. It’s important to realize that while there are herbal practitioners out there who may be misinformed or simply dishonest, plants do work in healing nearly all ailments in existence. We just have to know about them and trust that something we can find for free can and does have as much healing power, if not more, than a packaged concoction we need to pay for at the drugstore. This is not to say that modern medicine doesn’t have its time and place. It absolutely does.
Gathering these medicinal herbs in the wild can make them even more powerful, but you need to know how to recognize them, and you need to find a clean, fertile area where they grow. If you can’t forage for them, many companies now sell wonderful organic herbs from rich soils at an affordable price. Here is a list of the most powerful herbs you can use and how to use them. While the word “herbs” does not encompass all the parts of a plant, I am using it for simplicity and will go into deeper details within each plant description.
Please remember that these medicinal herbs will work best if your diet is optimal. These herbs will likely help someone who eats a diet high in refined food, but the results will be much greater if your diet is unprocessed, healthy, and whole. Also, please note that this guide is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and that you need to speak with your preferred medical professional before starting a new supplement regimen.
9 Powerful Medicinal Herbs for Fertility and Pregnancy
Red clover (fertility)
I remember when, as a child, I would pick and eat clover blossoms. They tasted very sweet and delicious, and I loved finding clover patches for this reason. Also, red clover infusions are thought to help prevent constipation during pregnancy, a problem many pregnant women can experience and which can lead to hemorrhoids. I did not drink a lot of red clover infusions when I was pregnant but made sure to drink enough herbal infusions made with other herbs like nettles and to eat a diet rich in unprocessed whole food.
I am sure this is one of the reasons why I never had digestive problems all the
way up to the day of delivery. The reason why I did not include red clover infusions in my pregnancy diet routine was that while the findings on this otherwise great herb are contradictory, an equal number of sources say it is perfectly safe or better avoided. One thing for sure is that most agree that it is a wonderful preconception herb, and I would not hesitate to take it while you are preparing your body to conceive your baby. Once you know that your chances of conception are high, you can switch to some of the herbs below, which are
Oatstraw (fertility and pregnancy)
Oatstraw is recommended when you are preparing your body for conception. It will increase your fertility levels and help enhance your libido. You can make infusions out of oatstraw (see directions below), and if you enjoy it, you can keep drinking oatstraw during pregnancy as well. Oatstraw is also a calming herb, which can be greatly beneficial if you experience anxiety and nervousness while trying to conceive or when pregnant. The last thing you want to experience is anxiety if you’re having trouble getting pregnant or are nurturing a new life!
Partridge Berry (fertility and pregnancy)
It is believed that Native American women would drink partridge berry teas during the later months of pregnancy and in preparation for childbirth. I personally never drank any since I already have enough herbs to experiment
with, but I thought I would include it anyway, as it is thought to be a wonderful pregnancy herb. Partridge berry tea is thought to help make labor easier, less painful, and quicker. Like red raspberry leaf tea, partridge berry tea is thought to help strengthen the uterus and pelvic floor.
Some sources say that partridge berry is unsafe during pregnancy. While this is not a common opinion, red raspberry is generally believed to be safer, and it is more easily found as well. Partridge berry tea is still considered safe while you are only preparing your body for pregnancy.
Stinging Nettle (fertility and pregnancy)
Stinging nettle is an amazing source of folic acid, a nutrient that is absolutely necessary during pregnancy to prevent developmental problems of the spinal cord in fetuses. Actually, one of the main differences between regular multivitamins for women and prenatal multivitamins is the amount of folic acid. Stinging nettle is also very rich in calcium and iron and is all around a very complete food in many ways.
Stinging nettle is easy to find in the spring and summer in many forests and fields. You can harvest your own and dry it and buy it inexpensively at many herbal stores. Stinging nettles can also be steamed like spinach, as well as juiced or blended. I love to drink a cup of warm lemon-flavored magnesium water with a teaspoon of dried nettle leaves. I like also to have nettle teas or infusions plain with a little honey or with dried peppermint leaves and raspberry leaves.
Red raspberry Leaf (fertility and pregnancy)
Raspberry leaf tea is completely devoid of caffeine, yet it tastes amazingly similar to regular black tea. I enjoyed it throughout my pregnancy on its own, as well as mixed with peppermint and/or nettle leaves. Red raspberry leaf tea is great for strengthening the uterus and pelvic muscles, which is of obvious benefit to pregnant women.
Once contractions have started, red raspberry leaves can be of great help as well. In large quantities taken all at once, the tea can cause uterine contractions and help deliver the baby more easily. Many women recommend making two quarts of red raspberry leaf tea and drinking it all to induce more contractions. Regardless of this fact, if you only drink a cup or two of red raspberry leaf tea, you should not have to worry about premature
contractions. I drank a cup of red raspberry leaf tea every other day during my pregnancy and found it to be a wonderful and hydrating beverage in the morning.
False Unicorn Root (fertility)
While some say that false unicorn root is a great root to use in the likelihood of a miscarriage, its uses are better known when it comes to increasing fertility. It is believed to normalize women’s menstrual cycles (if your luteal phase, the phase following ovulation, is too short to allow fertilized eggs to implant) and balance hormones, thanks to its estrogen precursors. It is recommended to use it only as needed rather than regularly. Finally, it
is thought to help strengthen the uterus and ovaries and may be of great help if you are having recurrent ovarian cysts which are preventing you from ovulating.
Evening Primrose Oil
A woman can have a very healthy reproductive system, but if she is not producing fertile mucus from her cervix,
sperm will not survive long enough to reach the egg — and if it survives, it won’t be able to get to the egg anyway. Unfortunately, what few doctors will tell you that the part which produces cervical mucus, called the cervical crypts, can be greatly damaged by the long-term use of contraceptive pills.
If it is taking you longer than expected to get pregnant and if your secretions around ovulation are dry, try taking evening primrose oil (about one tablespoon a day) from your first day of menstruation until the day of ovulation.
Chasteberry (for fertility, also known as vitex)
If your hormone levels aren’t quite right, your menstrual cycle might suffer. It might prevent ovulation and implantation or reduce fertility in general. Chasteberry is an herb thought to help regulate hormone levels and restore ovulation as well as increase fertility levels.
Before taking similar medicinal herbs, though, I would highly recommend keeping track of your cycle every morning by using a basal body thermometer. Sometimes, we are overly anxious about conceiving when in fact, we are perfectly healthy. If you find that you are not ovulating or that you are ovulating, but your luteal phase is much too short (11 days or less) to allow for fertilized eggs to implant, then you want to take steps toward regulating your cycle. If your cycle is perfectly fine and you have regular cycles, clear signs of ovulation, and your luteal phase is at least 12 days, your money would be better spent buying high-quality organic produce.
Dong Quai (fertility)
Dong Quai is a Chinese medicinal herb known for thinning the blood and regulating estrogen levels. It should be taken during the menstrual cycle but not during menstruation due to its blood-thinning properties. Like all the other herbs above, dong quai is rich in many minerals needed for good health (making it a great blood tonic), and is taken in China to increase fertility. And, being thought to reduce anxiety levels, it could be of great benefit to you if you are the type to fret about everything under the sun!
I did not take dong quai while I was preparing for conception and during pregnancy, but it is generally believed to be quite safe if you take it before getting pregnant. I would recommend discontinuing its use during pregnancy, however.
How do you make herbal infusions?
Susun Weed recommends steeping one ounce of dried medicinal herbs (such as dried stinging nettles) in a quart jar full
to the top with boiling water and let to infuse for four full hours or more. Then, strain the liquid out and keep the infusion refrigerated. This releases more nutrients from the plant than simply steeping the herbs for a few minutes only and is the difference between an herbal tea and an herbal infusion.
I did find this dosage to be a little strong and would either use half the quantity of dried herbs or would fill my cups halfway through with the infusion and would top it with hot water for a warm, mineral-filled beverage.
I hope this guide helps you feel more empowered about your health and fertility journey! Please remember that everyone is different and that one of the best strategies for long-term results is often to mix natural remedies with modern medicine. Ask your doctor before starting a new supplement routine, especially during a delicate time like pregnancy.
And remember to relax and have fun! A great way to do that it sit back and enjoy a good podcast, like this episode of Teacher’s Cubby, where Beverly Davis-Baird talks about taking yoga breaks with her class as an elementary teacher. Even a few minutes of intentional movement can improve the mood and focus of students!