Ashwagandha vs St. John’s Wort

Ashwagandha vs St. John’s Wort

Wondering if you should be taking Ashwagandha or St. John’s Wort for postpartum depression {PPD} and anxiety?

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I had PPD was just taking one herbal tincture at a time.

You need a COMBINATION of botanicals when you’re struggling with depression and/or anxiety.

But, wait. Don’t overdo it.

Finding a supplement that combines BOTH herbs would be best, rather than taking the full dosing of each herb alone; especially if you’re breastfeeding.

So, let’s dive in.

What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha Benefits

Known to give you the strength of stallions, It’s an adaptogen, mild sedative, pain reliever, and anti-inflammatory.

  • It’s considered safe for breastfeeding. Lactation Category C or compatible with breastfeeding by Mills & Bones ³
  • It can re-regulate the thyroid & adrenal glands {a common concern postpartum}
  • It’s effective in helping if you have anxiety, fatigue, cloudy thinking, and insomnia
  • It’s rich in iron and can be used to treat iron deficiency when taken as a powder * see below
  • It can relieve muscle pain and cloudy thinking
  • Dosing
    • Take 4-10 ml a day for acute pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, tired and wired, hypothyroidism, PMS, postpartum depression & stress
  • Keep in mind, it’s not to be used during pregnancy, and caution if you’re taking medications
  • Watch this video as I discuss the difference between Ashwagandha and St. John’s Wort

Is Ashwagandha safe while Breastfeeding?

  • It’s considered a Level1 botanical if you’re breastfeeding. Yes, it’s safe!
  • Read this post to learn more

Ashwagandha while breastfeeding

St. John’s Wort for PPD

  • Known as the #1 natural antidepressant
  • It’s also antiviral {herpes}, nervines, can be used topically as well as a vulnerably

Use St. John’s Wort for:

  • chronic pelvic pain
  • endometriosis
  • insomnia
  • PMS
  • perimenopause
  • vulvovaginitis
  • topically cracked nipples and perineum – Just make sure you wipe it off before breastfeeding!
  • But, if you’re taking SSRIs or other medications it is the #1 herb/drug interaction so please consult your doctor before taking

St. John’s Wort and Postpartum Depression

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Is St. John’s Wort safe while Breastfeeding?

  • The German Commission E Considers it an L2/3 while breastfeeding, but there are no known contraindications
  • >>In one Study; Hyperforin was detected in low concentrations in the breast milk of moms who took 300mg of SJW 3xday starting 5 months Postpartum for Postpartum Depression and no adverse effects were found
  • Watch this video as I explain more..

What is St. John’s Wort good for?

  • good for mild/moderate depression
  • Keep in mind, that it’s not to be used during pregnancy

In Summary

Ashwagandha is more of an adaptogen and is considered safer to take while breastfeeding, take it daily to prevent postpartum depression & anxiety.

St. John’s Wort {SJW} is more for depression, baby blues, and even monthly depression.

One additional benefit is SJW, which may increase the breakdown of estrogen and therefore may boost progesterone levels – which may be affecting your sleep and postpartum recovery.

How do you know your progesterone levels are low?

  • you may experience irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and depression



P.S. Ready to learn more? Join The Present Momma group coaching.

8 Common natural remedy mistakes – while breastfeeding

8 Common natural remedy mistakes – while breastfeeding

Do you love using natural remedies?

You only want the best for your children, but it’s hard to learn everything while breastfeeding.

Using essential oils in diffusers and just taking one herb; like Valerian for sleep, are just some of the mistakes I see new moms make when starting to use natural remedies.

But hang on, you want to know if you or your child is at risk before integrating herbal medicine. Read this post first to learn how to use herbs safely;

So, what goes wrong? Let’s dive in.

#1 Using essential oils in a diffuser

Essential oils are amazing, but when you use the wrong ones; like Tea Tree oil, in a diffuser, this can affect your breathing.

And, if you’re using it in a child’s room; you could be making a cough worse. Stick to safe breathing essential oils, like Lavender, if you like to use the diffuser. And, the humidifier is not the same:)

#2 Using essential oils neat – topically

Essential oils are very strong. When used topically on the skin, or in a bath, you could burn your child’s orifices.

  • For a bath? mix 1 drop of essential oil {just 1 drop!} with milk before adding this to the tub.
  • Topically on their skin? Dilute ALL essential oils with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and always start with just one drop. It’s more effective than you think!

#3 Using just one herb for insomnia

Insomnia after kids is common. We’ll try anything to get back to sleep! Most often, insomnia runs deeper than just interrupted sleep.

Often, mom is lacking in valuable nutrients and her adrenals are on overload. I vlog about it here:

#4 Not doing anything at all

Many moms are so worried about using herbs, they wait. This is concerning when you struggle with depression and anxiety postpartum. Waiting and not doing anything at all is worse than reaching out to your doctor for medication.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, insomnia, or depression – ask for help! It could take years to overcome and you don’t want to wait.

Are you wondering which botanicals are safe for you? Swipe my favorite remedies here

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#5 Using homeopathy incorrectly

The safest medicine, during the nursing years, is homeopathy, but it’s hard to know how to use it correctly. In this video, I teach you how to use homeopathy for your children and the mistakes we typically make when we start using those little white tablets.

#6 Not taking enough botanicals

“What dose do I take?” is the #1 question I get all of the time. Specifically when it comes to tinctures.

  • Typically, you would take 20-60 drops, 2-3x day for one botanical.
  • When you combine herbs, it’s a TOTAL of 20-60 drops, 2-3x day.

Wondering what is a tincture? Read this post:

What about teas?

  • You could drink 1-2 cups of herbal tea a day to soothe anxiety and stress.

If herbs are not working for you, you’ll also want to check your thyroid and vitamin levels. Read this post, for my favorite supplements for new moms:

#7 Drinking too much caffeine

Technically not an herbal remedy, but drinking too much coffee when nursing can create insomnia for years to come.

If you’re craving that second cup of coffee; especially at 3 pm – you may have adrenal exhaustion.

Skip the coffee, and grab an herbal tea. Better yet, take a nap if you can! I know, it’s not easy, but your sleep is so important right now. Begin self-soothing your body, so when the sleepless nights continue, you’re able to go back to sleep more easily.

#8 Taking the wrong botanicals internally

If you love natural remedies, you’ll want to learn how to use them safely. That means, avoiding the herbs that are not safe, and consuming the ones that are.


Give yourself a chance to learn how to use herbs during the nursing years, then your whole family will learn how to care for themselves for years to come.

I’ve accidentally done all of these! Which one will you change today? Let me know down below.



The 13 benefits of stinging nettles during pregnancy & postpartum

The 13 benefits of stinging nettles during pregnancy & postpartum

Are you wondering if stinging nettles are safe for you?

Imagine a daily tea that would nourish your body, soothe anxiety and stress, and help you sleep better.

It sounds so simple and it is!

Here’s a quick warning, always check with your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or have any health concerns; especially taking diuretics.

Want to get started?

In this post, I’ll share how you can use stinging nettles during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and beyond.

But first, grab this freebie to feel more confident using herbs while breastfeeding

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What are Stinging Nettles?

Stinging nettles or Urtica dioica is a common weed found in North America and is most commonly known for the sting you get when you walk by. It can be cooked and eaten in popular recipes like nettle soup or nettle cheese, but its sting disappears when you cook it.

If you happen to get the kiss of the nettles, you can always search for Plantago major nearby – chew it up and place it on the sting to soothe the burn.

Personally, I love the sting as it signifies the start of Spring and “wakes up” my immune system.

Stinging Nettle Treatment

If you’ve received the kiss from Stinging nettles, don’t worry.

  • Find Plantago major, otherwise known as plantain, chew in your mouth, and apply to the red, sting area
  • Within moments your sting will subside

13 Stinging Nettles Benefits

There are so many benefits of stinging nettles during pregnancy and postpartum.

Stinging nettles…

  1. are filled with vitamins A, C, K, and B
  2. has minerals of CA, Iron {helps fight fatigue}, and Mg {helps soothe the nervous system}
  3. may increase milk production
  4. decreases allergies when using the freeze-dried nettles
  5. decreases inflammation
  6. decreases blood pressure
  7. it controls blood sugar- have a cup with chocolate cake
  8. fights fatigue
  9. decreases the risk of iron-deficient anemia
  10. reduces pelvic congestion
  11. reduce caffeine and sugar cravings
  12. prevents osteoporosis
  13. prevents varicosities

So, Are nettles safe while nursing?

  • Stinging Nettles are considered a Level 1 herb by the German Commission E. and is safe while breastfeeding and during pregnancy

My favorite tea for breastfeeding moms is Earth Mama Milkmaid Tea which includes Stinging Nettles

Earth mama milkmaid tea ingredients:
Organic Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-graecum) Seed, Organic Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) Seed, Organic Red Raspberry (Rubus Idaeus) Leaf, Organic Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Leaf, Organic Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum) Seed, Organic Orange (Citrus Sinensis) Peel, Organic Anise (Pimpinella Anisum) Seed, Organic Caraway (Carum Carvi) Seed, Organic Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) Leaf

3 Ways to use Stinging Nettles


#1 The ONE daily tea

If you love making teas yourself, here is my favorite recipe for women of all ages.

The ONE daily tea blend


  • 1 part Stinging Nettles
  • 1 part Milky Oat Tops
  • Optional
  • Add in lemon balm for happiness {Lemon balm may change the taste of your breastmilk if breastfeeding}


  1. Place 2-3 tbs. of herbs in a cup.
  2. Cover with 3-4 cups of water.
  3. Steep for 8 hours overnight.
  4. Add in raw honey when warm if you desire.
  5. -
  6. Safe while breastfeeding
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

#2 Stinging Nettle Supplement for allergies

One of the benefits of Stinging Nettles is to reduce seasonal allergies. Consider taking it 1-2 months daily before your allergy season begins.

  • The best method for reducing allergies is to take it in a “freeze-dried” form. This means the stinging hairs of the plant are preserved in the capsule.
  • You can open the capsule for children, animals and if you have poor digestion to take in a shake, tea or drink of your choice
  • Freeze-dried stinging nettles in a supplement form

#3 Stinging Nettle Tincture

I prefer to drink Stinging Nettles for all the vitamins & minerals, but you may want to use it as a tincture as well.

How to use stinging nettles for postpartum depression


Stinging nettles are one of the most beneficial botanicals to nourish our body with vitamins and minerals and ease the everyday stress of motherhood. Taken as tea, you’ll notice the soothing effects immediately.

I hope you grow to love nettles as much as I do.

Have you tried Stinging Nettles? Let us know




How to use herbs while breastfeeding without fear – 4 simple steps

How to use herbs while breastfeeding without fear – 4 simple steps

Are you wondering how you can use natural remedies while nursing without worry?

It all boils down to four things.

In this post, I’ll cover the four simple steps you can take to use herbal medicine without fear during the nursing years.

But don’t forget, always check with your doctor before taking herbal medicine.

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So, what’s the secret?

#1 Do you have any allergies?

  • If you or your child’s father has a known allergy, stay away from these botanicals.
  • For example… Chamomile is the safest herb to take while breastfeeding, BUT if you have an allergy to the daisy or Asteraceae family avoid this botanical and the other herbs in its family altogether.

#2 Are you taking medications?

  • If you’re taking medication, you always want to check with your doctor before adding in botanicals.
  • For example, if you’re taking SSRIs, the biggest herb/drug interaction may be St. John’s Wort.
  • You would never want to take a botanical for which you are already taking conventional medication.

#3 Botanicals to avoid while nursing

There are botanicals you may want to avoid while nursing. Keep in mind, this is not a complete list but it will help you feel a bit more comfortable.

Some of the herbs on the list are not safe to take internally, but you may see they are suggested externally; like comfrey root for cracked nipples.

And, some of the herbs like Lemon Balm – will not hurt your child, but will affect the taste of the milk.

And lastly, some women have taken St. John’s Wort for postpartum depression; even though it is a Level 2/3 botanical.

For a complete list of herbs to avoid, DOWNLOAD this PDF

#4 Safe Natural Remedies While Nursing

Then you’ll want to know which herbs are safe to take while nursing.

Here are five references for herbal medicine safety while breastfeeding.

In Dr. Aviva Romm’s book, Botanical Medicine of Women’s Health – they break down a handful of botanicals and their safety.


  • L1 Safest – No adverse effect observed in infants of lactating motherspostpartumdepression L2 Safer – Limited studies demonstrate no increased risk
  • L3 Moderately Safe – No controlled studies in breastfeeding women or controlled studies
    demonstrate minimal adverse effects
  • L4 Possible Risk – Positive evidence of risk but benefits may make the risk acceptable
  • L5 Contraindicated – Significant documented risk.


The safest thing to do is try one herb at a time and wait and see.

You’re looking for adverse reactions in your child.

What are adverse reactions?

  • any changes in your child’s skin color
  • any allergic reactions
  • if they fall asleep – when it’s not nap time. This has happened with valerian root.
  • if they’re fussy, colicky, or unusually uncomfortable

Stop taking the botanical and wait.

Typically, when you’re child is three months or older their liver is able to process all medications and it’s a safe time to introduce Level 1 botanicals.

In a nutshell, you’ll want to know which herbs are safe to take internally versus externally and the lactation risk categories determined by studies. {pubmed is a good source}

Then decide if you want to take the herb as a tea, tincture, or externally for mastitis or cracked nipples.



Breastfeeding? 6 Common symptoms and your natural remedies

Breastfeeding? 6 Common symptoms and your natural remedies

Are you wondering which botanicals are safe to take while nursing?

In this post, I’ll describe the six most common symptoms you experience and the EXACT natural remedies for your body – that are safe while breastfeeding.

Here’s the thing.. always consult your physician before taking any botanicals while breastfeeding.

Ready? Let’s get started.

#1 Constipation While Breastfeeding

Constipation is a challenge after childbirth.

Some easy remedies include:

  • Take dairy out of your diet! This is the #1 choice to reduce postpartum constipation
  • Adding a daily probiotic into your diet
  • Adding in Mg Citrate at night
  • Consider taking gluten out of your diet; especially if you have digestive issues
  • Add 1 tbs. of ground flaxseed to your diet with oatmeal in the morning
  • For more tips, read this post:


#2 Seasonal Allergies

The #1 remedy for allergies while nursing, is freeze-dried stinging nettles.

Considered a Level 1 or safe botanical, you can enjoy this herb as a daily tea, but you will need the freeze-dried form to help reduce allergies.

Plus, you’ll want to address your gut health.

Read this post to see how the 4R approach can heal your gut and reduce allergy symptoms. >>

Then watch this video to learn about the benefits of stinging nettles.

Looking for a natural postpartum recovery? Grab this freebie to get started.

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#3 Postpartum Cramping

I’ll never forget the time I was on the ground with pelvic pain, after the birth of my twins. Lying on the kitchen floor, clutching my waist. I crawled to get Crampbark to help with the pain.

As your body adjusts after childbirth, you may want to have Crampbark handy to help with pelvic pain.

This remedy also helps with your monthly cramps. Watch this video to learn more.

#4 UTI – Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary Tract Infections are painful. And, if you’re breastfeeding you may want an alternative to antibiotics for the pain.

Here are my favorite remedies to stop the pain of a UTI. If you get recurring UTIs, make sure you address your gut health with the 4R approach and always contact your doctor first!

#5 Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are common after childbirth; especially if you have poor gut health or happen to have a C-section. The funny part is, the yeast can cause bloating, digestive issues, and intense cravings for sugar and wine!

Read this post:

And watch the video below for natural remedies for a yeast infection.

#6 Cold & Flu While Breastfeeding

  • Echinacea Tincture – for the common cold & flu
  • Marshmallow Root tea – to soothe a sore throat
  • Reishi Tincture – to boost immunity and reduce illnesses
  • Homeopathy is safe. Watch this video for my favorite homeopathic remedies for the>

79 Herbs to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Some common herbs you may want to avoid are: {see below for the full list}

  • Black Cohosh root (Cimicifuga racemosa)
  • Blue cohosh root (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
  • Borage leaves ( Borao officinalis)
  • Bugleweed leaves ( Lycopus spp.)
  • Cascara sagrada bark (Frangula purshiana)
  • Cat’s claw root (Uncaria tomentosa)
  • Celandine root and leaves (Chelidonium majus…)
  • Chaparral leaves (Larrea tridentata)
  • Chaste tree fruit (Vitex agnus-castus)
  • Cinchona bark (Cinchona spp.)
  • Cocoa seeds (Theobroma cacao)
  • Coffee seeds (Coffea arabica)
  • Cola seeds (Cola acuminata)
  • Colocynth fruit pulp (Citrullus colocynths)
  • Coltsfoot leaves (Tussilago fanfare)
  • Comfrey root (Symphytum officinale) – internally. Safe externally for mastitis and cracked nipples.
  • Copis rhinome (Coptis chinensis)
  • Dulse thallus (Rhodymenia palmetta)
  • Elecampane root (Inula helenium)
  • Ephedra herb (Ephedra sinica)
  • European pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
  • Fennel fruit (Foeniculum vlulgare)
  • Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Jamaica dogwood root (Piscidia erythrina)
  • Jasmin flowers (Jasminum pubescesn)
  • Joe-Pye weed root (Eupatorium purpurem)
  • Kava root (Piper methysticum)
  • Lemon balm herb (Melissa officinalis) – safe to take, but may change the taste of your milk. Consider taking in small doses for the common cold.
  • Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Mate leaves (Ilex paraguayensis)
  • Meadowsweet herb (Filipendula ulmaria)
  • Mother of thyme herb (Thymus serpyllum)
  • Oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.)
  • Poke root (Phytolacca americana)
  • Pulsatilla herb (Pulsatilla vulgaris)
  • Sage leaves (Salvia Officials)
  • Seaweed thallus (Laminaria spp.)
  • Senna leaves (Salvia officinallis)
  • St. John’s wort herb (Hypericum perforatum)- Considered a Level 2/3, you may consider it for postpartum depression
  • Tea leaves (Camellia sinensis)
  • Thuja leaves (Thuja occidentalis)
  • Tobacco leaves (Nicotianoa tabacum)
  • Uva ursi leaves (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Willow bark (Salix spp.)
  • Wintergreen leaves (Gaultheria procumbent)
  • For a complete list, DOWNLOAD this document


Consuming herbs while breastfeeding is safe and natural. You’ll want to learn which herbs are safe for you and your child and always consult your doctor before taking anything new.



P.S. Ready to learn more? Grab this resource for just $11 to feel confident using herbal medicine.


Herbal Medicine Safety While Breastfeeding Books & References

St. John’s Wort while breastfeeding

St. John’s Wort while breastfeeding

Are you considering St. John’s Wort {SJW} for postpartum depression?

Even though It’s become the most popular alternative to pharmaceuticals for depression in Europe and the US, it’s so much more than the “depression herb”.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s my promise to you, by the end of this post you’ll understand the risk/benefit ratio and determine if SJW is right for you and the ONE person who should not take St. john’s wort.

St. John’s Wort can be useful for some types of depression, but it also has great benefits for anxiety, grief, melancholia, estrogen clearance, and numbness due to nerve pains and/or damage.

But, Is St. John’s Wort Safe While Breastfeeding?

Here are three References

#1 St. John’s Wort is considered a Level 2/3 by the German Commission E. in Dr. Aviva Romms Book; Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health¹.
  • What does that mean?
    • L2: Safer; Limited studies demonstrated, but no increased risk
    • L3: Moderately Safe; No controlled studies in breastfeeding women or controlled studies demonstrate minimal adverse effects
      • There are limited studies that show no increased risk in the child’s health. Many studies have been flawed due to the poor use of extracts or questionable preparation of the product.

:: In one study, women ingested 300 mg of St. John’s Wort a day and low levels of hyperforin were detected in breastmilk, however, no constitutes of the herbs was detectable in the babies plasma and no adverse effects were observed in either. Source

#2 Lactation and medication expert Thomas Hale & Hilary Rowe authors of Medications and Mothers milk suggest transfer to milk are minimal and it appears to be safe during lactation. ¹
  • However, 1 intact in each group was reported to be colicky, but there was no change in milk production and weight of the infants ¹
#3 The essential guide to herbal safety by Mills & Bones considers St. John’s Wort a Lactation Category CC. Compatible with breastfeeding, but use caution. ²
  • It appears the most common side effects would be colic, drowsiness, and lethargy giving the mother a signal to stop taking the botanical

And, keep in mind.. a small percentage of women have an increase in depression when they take St. John’s Wort.

So, if you notice any adverse effects, stop taking the supplement or tincture.


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St. John’s Wort Dosing

Personally, I prefer to take SJW as a tincture.

I like to test one herb at a time. Then, when I feel comfortable, I like to use a combined tincture of SJW and nervines to soothe the nervous system.

  • Tincture Dosing: 40-60 drops; 3-4x day
  • Capsules: 300- 350mg of standardized extract 3x day {0-3% total hypericin}

St. John’s Wort Postpartum Benefits

Internally, you can take St. John’s Wort as a tincture or supplement for:

  • sciatica
  • as an antiviral to reduce cold symptoms
  • seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • menopause
  • Monthly PMS blues
  • mild/moderate depression
  • ** My favorite reason to take SJW is for detoxification to reduce excessive estrogen levels and to reduce PMS & PMDD

Externally, it has many benefits as well.

When you place the flowers St. John’s Wort in oil, it turns red. Use this oil externally/topically for:

  • spinal/ nerve injuries due to childbirth
  • vulvodynia (vaginal pain)
  • also for first-degree burns, bruises, bites, and puncture wounds

Can you take St. John’s Wort for Postpartum depression?

Who should avoid St. John’s Wort?

SJW is well-known for enhancing liver detoxification, which reduces the blood flow of many medications.

  • Anyone taking the following medications should skip SJW for now
    • Avoid St. John’s Wort if you’re taking warfarin, digoxin, protease inhibitors, organ transplant antirejection drugs, or chemotherapy
    • Use caution with oral contraception
    • Use under a physicians supervision if you’re taking antidepressants
  • In large doses, you may notice photosensitivity to sunlight and want to avoid this
  • It’s also contraindicated during pregnancy, however, safety studies are lacking

In short…

St. john’s wort can be used during breastfeeding when you purchase a standardized product from a reputable company. Standardization of the herb is to guarantee that the consumer is getting a product in which the chemistry is consistent from batch to batch.

  • Look for 300 mg 3x day to decrease postpartum depression and watch for adverse effects like colic, lethargy, and an increase in depression in mom.
  • Keep in mind, it takes a comprehensive approach to overcome postpartum depression and this is just one part of the puzzle.
  • Nervines are also needed to soothe the nervous system after childbirth.

Ashwagandha vs St. John’s Wort

Can’t decide where to begin? Watch this video.






¹ Romm, Aviva; Botanicals Medicine for Women’s Health pg 887 ²Mills & Bones: The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety Hale & Rowe; Medications & Mother’s Milk,John’s%20wort.