Posts Tagged ‘meadowsweet’

Herbs to Aid Digestion in Pregnancy

Nausea and heartburn are common digestive symptoms during pregnancy. Many herbal teas are safe and effective for this – do check with a qualified herbalist if your situation is complex.

Food & Herbal Teas for Digestive Problems

For constipation and bloating, gentle self-massage of the abdomen can be beneficial – use gentle circling motions moving from the lower right hand side of the abdomen above the pelvis, upwards to the ribs, across to the left and down towards the left hand side of the pelvis.

For sickness and nausea, nibble on dry oatcakes first thing to settle your stomach. Take Ginger in any form: fresh Ginger tea; Ginger biscuits; Ginger beer or if you can’t stomach anything, break a piece of fresh Ginger and inhale the aroma. For severe sickness, Ginger tablets may be required.

For heartburn, drink Meadowsweet tea with meals and through the day as required.

For constipation, drink plenty of fluids and eat high fibre foods, also gentle exercise to get things moving. Many herbal teas are helpful for constipation in pregnancy, common ones are Chamomile, Ginger and Peppermint – although limit Peppermint tea after the birth if you are breast feeding as the strong flavour can pass in to the breast milk.

Finding a Comfortable Lying Position

Digestive problems such as heartburn and constipation can be influenced by the pressure of the baby in your abdomen. Finding a good position to sit or lie in will help with this, experiment with pillows or towels rolled up in to bolsters to find a comfortable position. During pregnancy, most women find a side-lying position comfortable:

       SIDE-LYING: The most comfortable position for most women is similar to the Recovery Position used in First Aid. Lying on your side, bend your knees and place a pillow between your legs at the knees. Also place a small pillow between your wrists, especially if you have had any swelling or other symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Women are usually advised not to lie on their backs (supine) from Trimester 2 due to the risk of Supine Hypotensive Syndrome when the blood pressure drops rapidly and the woman experiences light headedness, nausea and may pass out briefly. However, many women do find a semi-reclining position comfortable in to Trimester 3:

        SEMI-RECLINING: This position can be achieved sitting on the floor with a support behind the back and under the knees. It is also used by health practitioners on a reclining examination or massage couch. Always ensure the lower back is supported, a pillow is ideal, and that the legs are bent and supported under the knees by a pillow or bolster. This is a great position for self-massage or massage from the birth partner.

For a personalised consultation – I offer 90 minute Pregnancy Massage sessions in Glasgow on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, costing £50. The sessions include a massage tailored to you and your stage of pregnancy, along with advice on sleep positions, exercises and relevant herbal remedies. Email for further information and to check availability.


Summer Beer Forage

Another sunny day in the south of Glasgow and a brave dozen set off to Queen’s Park for a Sunday afternoon forage. We started the walk at Locavore‘s new shop on Nithsdale Road and a little home-made Elderflower champagne.

One of our first encounters was with the wonderful Lime (Tilia x europoea) – a tree whose sweet, mucilagenous buds and flowers make a quick walking nibble and a tea to relax and ease anxiety. Limeflowers have a short season and we spotted only a couple out in full bloom. Once they do pop it is said that you can hear a Lime tree before you see it, due to the volume of buzzing insects feeding on the nectar. The Lime tree is also a friend to parents, apparently “fractious” children can be left under the tree for a wee calm down.

Around the pond we found some Watermint – in the running for a future beer but stronger smelling than it tastes – and lots of Plantain (Plantago spp). Plantain is a great healing plant and extremely widespread. The two main species are Broadleaf (Plantago major) and Ribwort (Plantago lanceolata). I tend to use the two interchangeably for the handily combined action – both soothing and tightening – useful for wound healing when used externally and for sinus problems and allergies as a tea. Both varieties have a distinctive horizontal ribbing on the back of their leaves – making them distinguishable from other, similar, scrubby-green-leafy-things. We saw some massive Broadleaf specimens – certainly dinner-plate size, although they can be small enough to confuse with Daisy leaves. The Ribwort has lance-shaped leaves and a central spike which looks like a reed and the flowers have a pleasant, mushroomy taste.

Queen’s Park has a small but vigourous patch of Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) which was our main beer-related option. According to our brewer Declan from Clockwork Beer company, Meadowsweet was used in the past in Scotland instead of Hops – as these are native to the south of England. I wonder if this explains the large amounts of Meadowsweet outside the Tennent’s Brewery near Glasgow Green? Medicinally, Meadowsweet contains salicylates – also found in Aspirin – which account for its pain-killing properties. Meadowsweet is also regularly used as an anti-acid for heartburn. This dual action is a great illustration of the complementary character of whole plant medicines – the isolated compound as used in Aspirin can cause acid problems, whereas the whole plant protects against them.

Along the way we also found some great nibbles in Sorrel leaves and Red Clover flowers and some yet to come in ripening Hawthorn and Sloe berries. We rounded off the walk with some Nettle beers at Clockwork and ideas to create the next foraged beer.