I'm in need of herbal guidance. I purchased a variety of products from a local store that caries herbal products made by local herbalists. The store does not have an in-house herbalist to talk to so my questions were left unanswered, thus leaving me feeling frustrated and upset.
I'm currently breastfeeding my one year old daughter and trying for another baby. I purchased a women's blend tea that has nettle, red raspberry leaf, red clover, oatstraw, and spearmint. I was slightly concerned about red clover after reading that an isolated isoflavone in red clover has phytoestrogen properties to it. I've also read such good and positive things about red clover that I'm not sure what to believe.
I also purchased a bunch of salves that have ingredients that I'm also concerned about. In a calming salve, it has mugwort in olive oil listed in the ingredients. I worry about this because I read that it can cause uterine contractions and should be avoided during pregnancy. Without knowing this, I applied a little on my skin and now I'm scared.
I purchased a breast balm that has calendula, red clover, dandelion and blue violet. I read online that calendula is not safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Would massaging this on my breasts be unsafe?
I also purchased diaper rash salve that has comfrey and calendula infusions in olive oil. I know comfrey and calendula are wonderful for diaper rash, but I've read mixed contraindications that comfrey is toxic when consumed and applied on open sores. The article I read this from also said that comfrey is therefore best avoided by children and women who are pregnant/nursing. Can you please advise?
Needless to say, my head is spinning and I'm feeling very upset and disappointed. I love herbs and want to trust in their magic, while also making sure what I take for myself and my family is safe.
I hope to hear back from you..
I know it is hard to make sense of everything out there and sadly there is a lot of misinformation online; it really can be overwhelming. I can say that Susun certainly has no problem with the use of red clover – this is in the form of infusions. If you are unfamiliar with them, it is a bit like a tea but with a greater concentration of plant and a long steeping time. You can read more about them and red clover here: http://nourishingherbalinfusions.com/RedClover.html
In regards to the tea, you are not talking about much herb at all. If prepackaged into teabags, there is little actual herb, often old and so cut down as to be almost dust. If you are looking for something that maybe has a nice taste and relaxes you, the tea is probably nice. If you are looking at this as an ally in nourishing your body and helping with fertility, it would be pretty much useless. Susun has seen the infusions work – they are strong and yet gentle, powerful but nourishing…. The other problem with the tea is the use of so many herbs blended together – for one, again this reduces the amount of each herb in a cup of tea to be miniscule … the other problem is if you do have a reaction, how do you tell what is causing it? Susun believes in using simplers – one herb at a time is almost always enough and you can truly listen to your body without interference …. http://www.herbshealing.com/herbal_ezine/September04/healingwise.htm
As to the salve, I am a bit confused… it doesn’t sound like you are currently pregnant…? If not, why are you scared? If you are not pregnant, I would not worry about it… Susun does have mugwort listed as an emmenagogue so I would probably stop using it, but if I were you, I wouldn’t be concerned about the one use… put the salve aside and find something else to use to help with calm… perhaps start including oatstraw infusions… http://nourishingherbalinfusions.com/Oatstraw.html
Calendula is not on Susun’s list of herbs to avoid during pregnancy. I wouldn’t have a problem using it… Pretty much any herb will say to avoid during pregnancy … little research is done on most of them and often times it depends on what form it is in, how you use it… if you are uncomfortable using it, then I would recommend discontinuing as being worried about it will not be beneficial to you physically or emotionally… Again the salve has a lot of ingredients – if it causes you concern, why not see about concentrating on just one or two plants… just a lovely oil infused with violets is wonderful or maybe dandelion – read up on some of Susun’s articles for breast health:
comfrey and calendula are often found in diaper creams… so I would not be concerned about using them for diaper rash. Comfrey is not recommended to use over deep/puncture type wounds… And then consumption is another entirely different thing. One should always look at the herb, the part of the herb being used, how it is prepared, what it is being used for, how it is being taken … In regards to comfrey, there is a lot of controversy in regards to internal use – Susun does use the comfrey LEAF in infusions: http://nourishingherbalinfusions.com/Comfrey.html. Most of us put it in our rotation of infusions, although I don’t use as often as others. You’ll find plenty of herbalists that won’t use comfrey internally – you have to decide what you are comfortable with.
Susun’s article on comfrey: http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/June08/wisewoman.htm
You are also welcome to call in during Susun’s free health hotline – she holds it each Tuesday from 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern; http://www.blogtalkradio.com/susunweed ; (646) 929-2463
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