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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

mama's weight loss tea

Some women deliver their babies, nurse, and watch the pounds just be sucked out of them along with the milk. It's amazing. Fabulous for them.

I had hoped such would be the same for me. Turns out that even with regular exercise and healthy nutrition the weight doesn't just drop off me like that. It seems that my body is perhaps even more stubbornly holding on to every extra pound it can while putting so much out for my baby.

Well, toddler. He is now 25 months old. We had a tricky time getting him to take to food, so he had a brief spell of tasting around 12 months before reverting back to the old favorite, Mama's milk, which means he was basically EBF (exclusively breast fed) for a little over 15 months. Thank God, my body produces well and I generally didn't have trouble keeping up. In times when I was extra tired due to his increased demand during a growth spurt, a tea blend of galactagogue herbs helped me to keep up. Mostly, though, I have stuck to nutritional herbs while nursing as many herbs are not considered safe in the trace amounts they pass to baby via milk.

This blend is something I've more recently come to enjoy. I'm sure it's similar to many tea blends available for purchase, but you can give this one a go with the recipe for making the blend yourself. Make your own tweaks. See what suits your needs and your body.

I put together this tea not for helping me to sustain or increase my milk supply, as though I am still at this point nursing my son regularly each day I don't feel I need to keep it going for him. If it dries up, that's a timely part of his maturing. But there are a few galactagogue herbs in here -- fennel and fenugreek seeds, and dandelion roots and tops. They do more than work with the milk supply.

Fennel: Aromatic, antispasmodic, carminiative, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial. Affects the digestive, urinary, and respiratory systems.
This means fennel brings an aroma to teas, helps smooth muscles in spasm, helps to depress the appetite, increases the flow of urine, increases mucus production and expulsion in the body, soothes inflamed cells.
Fenugreek: Mucilaginous, expectorant, tonic, astringent, demulcent, emollient. Affects the digestive, urinary, and respiratory systems.
Expectorant, increasing production of mucous in the bowel, which stimulates a sympathetic response in the respiratory and urinary systems. Absorbs toxins in the digestive tract. Hypoglycemic, uterine stimulant, as well as highly nutritional.

Dandelion root: Bitter, hepatonic, diuretic, stomachic, lithotriptic, astringent, cholagogue, galactogogue. Affects the digestive, glandular, and circulatory systems.
"The root is used as a laxative, tonic and diuretic and also to treat various liver and spleen ailments. It is also used to treat heartburn, rheumatism, gout and eczema. Dandelion is the principle herb of blood purifier, kidney and pancreas formulas." Dandelion is particularly beneficial in that it helps to neutralize and expel toxins, which may have been excited by weight loss or by the use of other mucilaginous herbs, from organs and blood in the body. Basically, it protects while it cleanses. Dandelion as a whole plant is also extremely dense in nutrients, especially electrolytes sodium and potassium, which help keep the body in balance despite increase urine output. The high vitamin A contained in dandelion root help replenish the liver and restore vitamin A to other parts of the body.

(Info and quotes taken from book, Nutritional Herbology, A Reference Guide to Herbs, by Mark Pedersen edition 2012 by Whitman Publications)

The other herbs I have included in this tea also have purpose, whether for flavor or nutrition, or for increased circulation, and are all currently considered safe for use while nursing. (Please use your own discretion. I am not a doctor or certified herbalist.) But back to fennel and fenugreek, briefly. I found out recently that they are supposed to contain high levels of tryptophan. Tryptophan increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone responsible for treating depression, which many people know, but is also important for healthy sleep. I don't know about you, but I haven't had an unbroken night of sleep in almost three years. So when I do sleep, I want to sleep soundly and get enough REM!

Try this out and see how it might work for you. You don't have to be a nursing mother. This might make a helpful, mild addition to your daily diet just on a nutritional level, or while losing weight, or if you are also interested in getting more sound sleep. I'd love to read your feedback.

Recipe formulated with the Simpler's Method, by volume not weight. Made with a Tablespoon measure, one recipe yields about a cup of blended herbs. Decoct by simmering, covered, in glass, stainless steel or unchipped enamel for 20 minutes.

Mama's Weight Loss Tea

1 part dandelion root, cut
1 part fenugreek seeds
1 part fennel seeds
1 part oatstraw, cut
1 part orange peel, cut
1 part shavegrass, cut
2 parts dandelion tops, cut
2 parts nettle leaf, cut
2 parts peppermint leaf, cut
1/2 part stevia herb, cut

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