Herbal medicine is the oldest medicine known to mankind. It should come as no surprise that women have been using herbal medicine for millennia when it comes to all things surrounding motherhood. From infertility struggles(1) to postpartum recovery(2), herbalism is a trusted go to for families who are looking for natural alternatives or complements to contemporary medical practice.
For my first interview with a "non-traditional birthworker," I reached out to Erin Fielding of Fox Valley Herbs. She has been practicing herbalism for around 5 years. Walk with me as we learn a little more about what herbalism is, and how it can be helpful for mothers surrounding all areas of family planning, pregnancy and post-partum care.
Can you give me a high level overview of what it means to be an herbalist?
Since the dawn of time, humans and plants have had an intimate relationship, as plants have provided so much life for us in the form of food, medicine, tools, and more. They exhale and we inhale, doing a sacred dance of breaths between us. We have cared for them, and they have cared for us. To be an herbalist is to live and practice with consciousness of this relationship.
There are many types of herbalists ranging from those practicing folk herbalism through tradition, to those who are formerly educated in the field of herbalism, some of whom may focus more on current scientific research. Whatever the branch or focus, holism and community are at the heart of herbalism.
In what ways are you of service to mothers during the prenatal, labor/delivery and postpartum stages?
I provide herbal products that I have personally used during my own children’s births. Because I love these things so much, I feel great joy in offering them to other mothers to support them. Products like Growing Mama Tea, Peaceful Birth Aroma Set, and Fourth Trimester Bath Herbs are among my favorites. I can also provide general information and resources about wellness during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, as well as help with navigating options/birth planning.
What makes an herbalist so important for mothers/families?
Herbalists have always been in families. It’s the granny who knows just the right soup to make when someone in the family is sick. It’s the woman who brews a cup of tea for her guests, and suddenly they feel uplifted. Some people have just forgotten their relationship with plants. It’s important that every family and every community has an herbalist to provide a foundation for wellness and sustainability for earth everywhere. Herbalists also do the important work of filling in the gaps that our modern world and allopathic health care system leave us with. It is extremely empowering as a mother to know what herbs you can use that are growing wild around you, instead of relying on expensive over the counter or prescription products that aren’t always necessary for every little thing, and which too often have unwanted adverse effects.
How do you feel herbilism fits in with what people might consider “traditional” birthworkers like doulas or midwives?
Many midwives and doulas use herbs with their clients and/or provide information about herbs to their clients. These things go hand in hand with supporting wellness during pregnancy, a peaceful birth, and postpartum wellness. In fact, many of the items I make at Fox Valley Herbs make a great addition to the doula bag!
Do you help just mother/baby or do you offer services/care for other family members as well?
Empowering mothers is one of my favorite things, but I also offer products that are loved by men, elders, older children, non-parents, and everyone in between. Herbalism is for everyone.
If you were talking to a potential client or any pregnant woman, what would you say makes herbalism important for her to consider?
I’m not legally allowed to make any health claims, so I’m just going to leave it at this. Herbalism has supported humankind for centuries. Allopathic medicine is only a little over 100 years old. Before that, your granny used herbs, her granny used herbs, and her granny used herbs. You exist today after generations of women used herbs. Pregnancy is a really great time to discover your roots. No matter where you are from, what race or religion you are, herbalism is a part of your roots.
Anything else you would like to add?
Herbalism is a holistic path where we look at the whole picture and the whole person. We do not just throw herbs at symptoms and hope they go away. The bodily systems, including the psyche, are *connected*. No good herbalist will approach itfrom the top down. It all begins in the roots.
If you have questions about herbalism or are looking to find ways to fold herbalism into your daily life, please reach out to Erin Fielding at Fox Valley Herbs. Erin can be reached via email: email@example.com, on Facebook: Facebook.com/FoxValleyHerbs, or you can go directly to her shop: Etsy.com/shop/FoxValleyHerbs. Her information will also be added to the resources link found at the top of the page. Thank you to Erin, and thank you to you, dear reader, for your time. You can also reach out to me at any time with questions, comments or suggestions.
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site, is for general information purposes only.
1.https://www.westernherbalmedicine.com/Western-Herbal-Medicine/Study-Shows-Pregnancy-Rates-Double-with-Herbal-Medicine.html 2. https://www.earthclinic.com/cures/natural-remedies-for-postpartum-healing.html