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The Postpartum Guide: The Best Herbs for Postpartum


Postpartum is one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life. New life brings so much beauty and fulfillment but also so much change in the body and mind’s homeostasis. Herbs can be a life changing tool in healing and coping with the ups and downs of postpartum life.

Recovering from birth, managing breastfeeding and bottle feeding, navigating milk supply, disrupted (or nonexistent!) sleep, and fluctuating hormones can lead to a lot of discomfort and challenge in the early postpartum period. Interestingly, what many people don’t realize is that a woman’s body is considered acutely postpartum for two years following birth. The changes that occur don’t just happen in the early days and months but continue as mothers wean, sleep regressions occur, and the body continues to heal. Using herbs for postpartum is a practice that can support a woman’s body through the entire journey.

This topic is close to the heart both for our founder, Marissa, and me. With five young children between us, we’ve ridden this rollercoaster ourselves both at home and as NICU mamas. Supporting women in their postpartum journey is an integral reason that Marissa started Sunshower Wellness and she has personally created multiple products specifically for this purpose. This herbal marketplace is brimming with products to hold you during this tender time.

Most pregnancy herbs are beneficial during postpartum, too! Head over to our Pregnancy Guide to Herbs for more information about how to safely use herbs during pregnancy and for additional herbal remedies to use during postpartum. 

Post-Birth Healing 

Using herbs externally is extremely supportive for vaginal birth healing. Whether tearing occurs or not, these parts can be very sore after giving birth. Caring for them is vital not only for relief from pain and discomfort but also to aid in healing. You’ve probably heard of sitz baths and peri bottles as you delve into learning more about postpartum recovery. We recommend creating a sitz bath with lavender, rose, and calendula. You can soak in an herbal sitz bath one to three times a day. 

To create an herbal sitz bath:

  1.   Choose the herbs you’d like to use (or make it easy on yourself and grab this pre-made Sitz Bath blend) and add into about a quart of boiling water. 
  2.   Let the herbs simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes. 
  3.   Strain the herbs and add the remaining “tea” to warm water in a bowl or sitz bath (you can ask the hospital or birthing center for one).
  4.   Soak your sore parts until the water is cool.

You can also follow the instructions above and add the “tea” to a peri bottle for use after using the bathroom instead of wiping. Keep it next to the toilet for easy access and re-brew every other day. Oh, the joys of giving birth!

For c-section nerve repair once the incision is healed, Marissa recommends applying St. John’s Wort oil topically to the scar once healed. Sunshower’s St. John’s Wort Oil was formulated to support nerve function, soothe sore muscles, and relieve discomfort. This product was especially created to support c-section recovery. Formulated without essential oils or other extras, this oil is safe around scars and delicate areas that may hold trauma.

Nourishing and Self-Care

Birth and breastfeeding are an enormous tax on the body and require rebuilding the body’s nourishment stores both nutritionally and through tender self-care.

Oatstraw is a nutritive herb that’s high in iron, manganese, and zinc. A note: if you’re sensitive to gluten or celiac you’ll want to confirm there’s no cross contamination. 

Nettle is also quite nourishing and known for its high mineral content, particularly iron.

Sunshower Wellness' Nourish Tea contains organic chamomile, nettle, lemon balm, linden, passionflower, oatstraw, plantain leaf, and spearmint to help rejuvenate and nourish your body.

Hydration is so important during the postpartum period whether the mother is breastfeeding or not. Drinking Sunshower Wellness' Quench Tea throughout the day can help! Marshmallow root is the key herb here and it helps seal in moisture to our body.

For some easy self-care to treat yourself when a shower feels difficult, incorporating nourishing herbal oils can create opportunities to tend to yourself throughout the day. The Milda Apothecary product line on our site is a wonderful way to bring moments of support throughout the day. Specifically, the Rejuvenating Serum which contains a complex blend of oils containing over 20 powerful botanical ingredients to deeply nourish, hydrate, brighten, and rejuvenate your skin.


Breastfeeding can be very challenging even when everything is going smoothly. It demands a ton from your nutritional and energetic stores and milk production can be stressful as the body is typically up against sleep deprivation, learning to latch, and hormonal fluctuations.

Herbs for breastfeeding include fennel, motherwort, and blessed thistle

These can be ingested as teas and tinctures for easy use when hands are very full! Brew a big container and sip all day long. As with anything you ingest while breastfeeding, take note if your baby seems fussier or gassier and back off if it seems to upset tiny tummies.

Both the plants and seeds of fennel contain phytoestrogens. These are known for enhancing milk supply so feel free to drink up to six times a day! Fennel can also help with colic since it passes into breast milk about six hours after ingesting. It’s also a good remedy for breastfeeding mamas experiencing their own GI upset. 

Motherwort is a must-have on many levels for postpartum bodies. It’s a nervine herb meaning it can help with stress and anxiety as well as irritability by acting on the central nervous system. And let’s be honest, postpartum is prime time for all of those! Motherwort is also supportive for breastfeeding by helping with let down and overall milk supply. Additionally, using motherwort postpartum helps heal the uterus and alleviates those excruciating post-birth cramps. We recommend using it as a tincture due to the flavor.

Blessed thistle is a galactagogue — or a galactagoddess as we like to say! Translation: it helps with milk supply. It’s also a “bitter” that aids in digestion. 

It’s important to note that none of the herbs in this section should be used during pregnancy. 

Mood and Sleep

There’s a reason that many supportive postpartum herbs are focused on mood and sleep together. Lack of sleep leads to nervous system dysregulation and low moods. Unfortunately, baby sleep is often unpredictable and sparse particularly in the early days (and often much longer!). 

Fortunately, there are many herbs to support tired postpartum bodies and minds. There are tons of herbs listed in our Pregnancy Guide to Herbs  so definitely head over there for additional resources. 

Holy basil is a postpartum powerhouse as it helps with fatigue, lifts mood, and is an adaptogenic nervine. What does that mean exactly? Adaptogenic nervines act on the nervous system both holistically and acutely. So, if you’re experiencing a highly stressful moment (Spilled breastmilk? Inconsolable baby?), these herbs act on your nervous system to help bring you down from fight or flight back to homeostasis. Schisandra is another adaptogenic nervine that lifts mood and helps with fatigue.

Exhaustion can lead to mood changes and if prolonged, it can lead to postpartum depression and anxiety. Getting ahead of sleep deprivation is a crucial piece of the postpartum puzzle. California Poppy is anxiety reducing, can help improve sleep, and can help reduce headaches and migraines. Similarly, linden aids in providing gentle help with insomnia and nervousness/anxiety and can help relieve headaches and tension. Sunshower’s Release Tea is lovingly made with linden, hawthorn leaf and flower, rose petals. This blend is calming and can help release stuck emotions.

It can be challenging to incorporate new habits in the postpartum period when exhaustion, brain fog, and round the clock feeding are the norm. Sunshower’s Renew Postpartum Support Tincture is a simple and practical way to bring herbs into your postpartum routine. This tincture combines supportive herbs like schisandra, milky oats and holy basil with the fruiting body of mushrooms including reishi and shiitake. Shiitake also provides immune support, and is also antiviral and antibacterial. 

Additionally, Sunshower’s Clarity Brain Support Tincture can help with brain fog and focus if exhaustion is making it hard to function in day-to-day life. This tincture incorporates organic lion’s mane mushroom, lemon balm, and rosemary and can be combined with the Renew Postpartum Support Tincture for additional help with concentration and motivation.

Herbs to avoid if breastfeeding:

  •       Kava kava
  •       Cannabis (topical CBD can be used)
  •       Sage (typically used to aid in weaning, only use if you are working to stop milk supply)
  •       Be cautious of any astringent or overly drying herbs since hydration is so important during this period. Look for blends that pair these with more hydrating herbs. Example: nettle + plantain, rose + marshmallow root.
  •       Peppermint in high doses (can reduce milk supply in medicinal doses. One cup of tea here and there is not an issue with most of these herbs.)
  •       Bladderwrack (due to high doses of iodine which can cross into breast milk)
  •       Ginseng (best to be used under professional care with a clinical herbalist or health professional)

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