Post-Natal Depression, Anxiety & Tea
Post-natal depression and anxiety affect more than 1 in 10 women after they have a baby. I was never diagnosed officially but I certainly struggled with prolonged baby blues that made the first 4 months of my daughter's life quite hard.
Tea is not a medicine and should never replace getting help from your doctor, midwife or organisations like Pandas if you are suffering as a new mum. But when I blended our Night Owl tea, I intentionally used herbal ingredients that can ease anxiety, help relaxation and aid sleep.
The first ingredient is whole chamomile flowers. In a study done in Taiwan, 80 women were given chamomile tea to drink post-labour. Compared to women who didn't have chamomile, the women had 40% improved sleep and 37.1% saw lower scores on emotional stability and relaxation. So the tea helped.
I added to this, lavender. This little purple flower has been used for millennia to aid sleep and relaxation. Interestingly, a small study looking at giving women lavender essential oil to breathe immediately after labour, also showed the women were more relaxed, and felt they recovered physically and mentally quicker than women who were given sesame oil as an alternative.
Valerian root is another hugely calming herb in the blend. We are very careful to only use a small amount, as this herb is very potent. It's been shown to be safe in pregnancy through a study completed in Sweden showing of 787 women who took it during pregnancy there were no negative outcomes. However, there are no studies in breastfeeding, so we have erred to the side of caution and kept it's percentage low in the blend. That said, even in a small quantity it can help alleviate anxiety.
It works by stopping the breakdown of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA is a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system.
Researchers have shown that low GABA levels related to acute and chronic stress are linked to anxiety and low-quality sleep. Valerian root also contains the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin, which appear to have sedative and sleep-enhancing properties.
So whilst these herbs cannot guarantee a perfect night's sleep, or complete removal of all anxiety or depression, they can hopefully help and support women when they are feeling low and need some help.
Even just getting someone to take your baby and give you 5 minutes to have a hot cup of tea in peace, can sometimes do wonders. If what is in the cup can also help relax you, that's even better.