Nursing tea, sometimes referred to as lactation tea, is an herbal tea blend thought to promote milk supply in nursing mothers. Nettle (Urtica dioica) leaf, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) aerial parts, and oat (Avena sativa) leaf and stem, known as “oatstraw,” are often found in nursing tea blends due to their nutritive properties. While many feel that nursing tea offers merely additional hydration, which in itself increases milk production and flow, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest a soothing botanical blend promotes overall vitality during this crucial period in the mother-child relationship (Crider, 2019). Be sure to consult with your midwife or doctor if considering nettle leaf use during, rather than after, pregnancy.
Nettle leaf offers vitamins A, C, and K as well as several antioxidants when brewed in tea form (Raman, 2018). Alfalfa provides vitamins as well as minerals, including iron, magnesium, and calcium, and is thought to promote lactation (Integrative Medicine, 2020). Oatstraw is the unripened stems and leaves of the oat plant, and it offers iron, manganese, and zinc and is believed to improve blood flow (McGrane, 2019).
The nursing tea recipe, below, features these nutritive and antioxidant-rich herbs blended with small amounts of marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root to soothe and moisten, and is boosted by the galactagogue properties of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seed (Achtal, 2018).
This Nettle Leaf Nursing Tea is sure to relax, nourish, and hydrate a new mother so she can focus on her new baby.
Nettle Leaf Nursing Tea
This nettle leaf nursing tea with alfalfa and oatstraw calls for ‘parts’ rather than specific measures of each ingredient. You can make as much or as little as you like by adhering to the part ratios. Consider beginning with tablespoons and graduating to cups for each “part” when you’re ready to store and share this rich milk brew blend.
1 part nettle (Urtica dioica) leaf
1 part alfalfa (Medicago sativa) leaf
1 part oatstraw (Avena sativa)
¼ part anise (Pimpinella anisum) seed or fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seeds
¼ part marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root
- Blend the herbs together and store in a jar until ready for use.
- Place 4 tablespoons of the herbs in a shatter-resistant vessel with a tight-fitting lid.
- Cover with approximately 4 cups of just-boiled hot water, cover, and steep for 4 to 8 hours.
- Remove herb solids by straining before drinking.
- Reheat or enjoy over ice.
- Store extra infusion in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Nursing is a wonderful part of the motherhood experience, but not always the easiest. This Nettle Leaf Nursing Tea can aid in milk flow while reinvigorating the body. Try to drink nursing tea 2 to 3 times a day for the best effects (Crider, 2019).
For more recipes for new moms, check out:
Achwal, A., (2018). Using fennel while breastfeeding – does it increase milk supply? [Online article]. Retrieved from https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/using-fennel-while-breastfeeding-will-increase-milk-supply/#:~:text=Yes%2C%20fennel%20helps%20in%20increasing,in%20nursing%20women%20for%20centuries.
American Pregnancy Association, (APA). (2012). Herbal tea and pregnancy [Online article]. Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/herbal-tea-999
Crider, C. (2019). Does lactation tea really help milk supply? [Online article]. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/breastfeeding/tea-for-lactation#safety
Justis, A. (2017). 6 DIY recipes For gentle herbal support for new moms [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://theherbalacademy.com/gentle-herbal-support-for-new-moms/
“Integrative Medicine: Alfalfa.” (2020) Retrieved from https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/alfalfa
McGrane, K. (2019). Can oat straw extract improve your health? [Online article]. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oat-straw-extract#benefits
Raman, R. (2018) 6 Evidence-based benefits of stinging nettles. [Online article]. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stinging-nettle