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Natural Homebirth Tips, Herbs & Nutrition
Chinese medicine has a long tradition of incorporating dates, called Da Zao in pinyin, into prenatal, birth and postpartum formulas. This herb is from the tonic category due to its sweet, moist and mineral-rich nature, meaning it strengthens blood and the tissues of the body.
Nutritionally, we know that dates provide high levels of potassium, magnesium, selenium, copper, and moderate levels of manganese, iron, phosphorus, and calcium, some people have attributed these components to the effect, but if you look at research on these specific nutrients for their effect on cervical dilation, you will find the evidence does not support any single nutritional component.
It may not be any single nutritional component, but the nature of how Mother Nature comprised this fruit that makes it of value to pregnancy, birth and postpartum recovery.
When we look at it on the compass, the sweet and mineral rich nature of dates resonate with the West and the North. If you read my posts about the full moon you will see how this herb might help with labor preparation, including cervical dilation as it overlaps with the early labor timing of the North.
Additionally, its tonifying properties make it an herb that restores and recharges the body and mind. Using food and herbs that tonify and strengthen the body and mind before labor and birth help to prepare for labor to start on time and for a more efficient and smooth labor.
Dates are not the only herb that help to restore and recharge. Other herbs in this category include goji berries, mulberries, and longan fruit. Nutritionally, bone broth, oysters, sardines, and dark, leafy greens will also be beneficial to supporting cervical ripening and the onset of labor. When you are armed with the information that help you see why an herb or food supports you and your pregnancy, birth or postpartum recovery, you can look to other elements of nature to find suitable replacements, compliments and create formulas and a nutrition plan that work for you!
What is the best way to take dates and these other berries? You can simply eat them, about one handful per day (6-7 dates), you can make them into a tea by simmering one handful of them over low heat in two cups of water for 20 minutes. You can find great recipes for snack bars, granola bars, rolled balls by blending them and mixing it with nut butters, coconut flakes, vanilla extract, orange peel, cocoa powder or anything else that sounds good to you. Or mix them into smoothies with unsweetened nut milk, mix them with a creamy cheese and use them as a spread or cook them into soup or bone broth.
Here's to your health, enjoy!
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