Q: Dear Susan Weed, Excellant website, wonderful books. I have a question that I couldn't find answered in your resources. I am 36 and I had two miscarries before I even missed a period. My accupunturist felt it was hormonal, low proestrogen levels in second half of the cycle. Due to chronic stress for 2 years about a year ago. She put me on a blend of raspberry, dongquai and vitex and told me to relax as much as possible and wait 5 months before trying again. I am now preganant again (just one week)--can and should I stay on vitex and/or dongquai, do I need to, or is it harmful. I have found so much conflicting research and I am not sure what to do. I really would not like to lose this pregnancy.
A; Hello, thank you for writing. I can only answer you with my opinion based on my experience and learning to date. Since though you originally took these herbs at the advice of this one person, perhaps you would like to consult with that person too. I love Red Raspberry as a uterine tonic and Vitex as a wonderful support for those wishing to smooth out hormonal production in a manner most helpful for conceiving. However to me it matters how I take these herbs. Red Raspberry leaves I prepare as an infusion and drink regularly. In fact I highly recommend it for those who are pregnant, next to Nettle leaf infusions. I drank it through my whole pregnancy and beyond! Vitex berries I prefer prepared as a tincture and taken by the dropperful several times a day. Researching, I have come to believe if this helped one conceive, especially with history of miscarriage, that it would be worthwhile to continue through the first trimester. I would then slowly decrease then stop so not taking in last months of pregnancy since it may decrease prolactin levels. I do not have much personal experience with Dong Quai though so have no comment on that right now.
I love your acupuncturist's recommendation to relax and wait before trying again. I encourage you to read this article on fertility after forty, it applies to you as well. Like you said there is a lot of conflicting advice out there. Mine is only one. If you find a source you consider reputable that counters what I say I am willing to explore it with you, though in the end you may have to weigh all the ideas out there and see what feels most right for you. I know you want this pregnancy to succeed and I want it for you as well (by the way, how are you able to know you are pregnant after just one week?) Your thoughts are just as important as anything else you choose to do to help support your pregnancy. Personally, I like to sit with the plants, or if not able, read about them, see pictures (or memories in my mind) and sit with the herbal preparations, to help me decide what feels best for me.
Thanks so much for the quick and very, very helpful reply.
Re: Vitex--is it better as a tinture than as a capsule? I have both. And why is one way better than the other?
I have been drinking Red Raspberry and nettle and will continue.
Any ideas on False Unicorn?
My period is due Feb 15th so at this stage I guess I am 10-14 days--or so. I can tell as it is same feeling all three times now. Immediate breast enlargement and nipple tenderness, immediate indigestion and tiredness.
I will join the forum. Thank you thank you!
What would you charge for an phone consultation? Or continued email consultation?
I would really feel more comfortable if I was able to have the support of a herbalist throughout the pregnancy. There is no such support available in Holland--they seem very far behind here--and herbs are a very important part of my life. I believe that everything can be healed by herbs, accupunture and a positive, joyful mind.
A: This is a wonderful phrase you wrote!
"I believe that everything can be healed by herbs, accupunture and a positive, joyful mind."
Right now I do not charge for consultation. Susun Weed pays me to help with this email. So consider it her gift to you; and my absolute pleasure to give :) You are very welcome to write any time.
I do hope you join the forum. I think you will find it a great source of support for you through your pregnancy as well!
How we prepare an herb affects what constituents we draw out of it. We choose what part of an herb to harvest, what time of year to harvest it, and even what conditions to harvest it growing in, all based on what aspect of the plant we want to work with. The menstruum (liquid) we prepare it in is just as important. It also affects how easily it will be assimilated by us and how much we are really consuming. Regarding Vitex berries I have heard the two best forms to consume it are prepared as a tincture and the dried berry ground and sprinkled on food. Perhaps the latter is similar to what is consumed in a capsule, though you would have the capsule in the way, and I would wonder if you are getting less per day than is recommended. I personally like as close a relationship with the plants as I can. For me this means harvesting my own fresh herb with my bare hands and preparing them in my kitchen or on my porch. If I must buy the herb harvested by someone else, as I do with Vitex berries, I at least want to handle the dried berry and still make my own tincture. Beyond this, I would at the very least want to feel the herb in my body as much as possible. In this case it would be to ingest the ground berries without the capsules in the way. I think this helps me develop a relationship with that which I am asking to help me.
So wonderful to hear you are drinking Red Raspberry and Nettle leaf infusions!
I have not yet worked much with False Unicorn, so anything I could say would be book knowledge. If you wish though I am happy to read about it in some of the herbals I own from herbalists I respect. If so, please tell me what specifically you want to know about this herb.
lots of love, and really you are welcome to write any time!