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Have you heard about adaptogens yet?

This may be the secret ingredient you need to overcome PPD.

But hang on… before we dive in, always check with your doctor before adding any herbal supplements to your diet.

And, if you need medication now – please start taking it and integrate these suggestions with your doctor.

The reality is, it takes a multi-directional approach to heal postpartum depression. And.. adaptogens are just one piece of the puzzle.

But.. they could be life-changing.  So, let’s get started.

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First, What are the Postpartum Depression Signs?

postpartum depression

It’s as if you are living outside of your world, looking in and you cannot recognize the woman you see. You may experience any or all of these:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Despair
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to cope or function with daily life
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Irrational concern for the baby’s well-being
  • Joylessness
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Memory loss
  •  Poor concentration
  • Sadness
  • Thoughts of hurting oneself or the baby ·

Note: You should report all of these symptoms to your doctor, especially if you’re struggling with thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby. The vast majority of women with PPD will not harm their babies. But the fear that you might be can be petrifying and all-consuming. Professional help is available. NYC health lists.

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help us adapt to stress.

I know. That sounds so simple.  But, they really do help.

Adaptogens For Stress

  • Panax Ginseng
  • Ashwagandha
  • Holy Basil
  • Astragalus
  • Licorice
  • Rhodiola

How do they work?

Essentially, the HPA Axis (or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis ) is how our brain and body communicate with each other — and when we’re stressed out, it sets in motion a series of hormonal and neuroendocrine responses that control our body’s primary alert system, known as the “fight or flight” response.

When you’re in fight or flight, you may experience increased heart rate, increase blood pressure, a sudden need to pee or dilated pupils. Sounds smells, and colors may all become more vivid because all of our senses go on high alert as well.

The problem is that many of us live in a chronic state of fight or flight, especially in the postpartum years when you’re being woken up at all times of the night, or constantly having to jump up every time a baby cries.

Over time, this can lead to dysfunction. The HPA Axis loses its ability to shut off and leaves us in fight or flight mode all day long. If you’re struggling with PPD, you’re probably stuck in this mode as well.

A category of herbs called adaptogens can help regulate this stress response. In traditional medicine systems, these are also known as “tonics” and their purpose is to help restore adrenal health, ease anxieties and reduce cortisol levels.

Postpartum Adaptogens

postpartumdepression

 

My favorite adaptogen to use with a postpartum breastfeeding mom is Ashwagandha, known as the “strength of stallions”.

  • It strengthens the immune system
  • reduces cortisol levels
  • balances thyroid hormones
  • (It’s considered a Level 1 category, in the herb/risk during lactation categories and considered safe to take when you’re breastfeeding.

If you’re not breastfeeding ginseng (Panax ginseng), St. John’s wort, Schisandra and Kava Kava may help as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding

Here’s the thing….

  • If you choose not to take medications, you’ll suffer for many years with insomnia, depression, and anxiety. And, It may get worse.
  • *
  • If you choose to take medications, you may struggle with side effects like loss of libido, incontinence, and weight gain. {some women do need this and it’s ok!}

So, you have to decide what is right for you at this time in your life.

 

Conclusion

When taken correctly, adaptogens and nervines can support you when you are going through anxiety and depression.

If you are struggling, please ask for help.  Medication may be the right answer for you, but it doesn’t mean forever.  Diet, community, sleep, and nutrition can help reduce your symptoms and help you feel like yourself again.

P.S.  Don’t forget to grab this FREE roadmap for your first steps for postpartum recovery 👇

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References:

What causes postpartum depression? Dr. Kelly Brogan

Certified women’s herbal educator, Tara Gregorio is helping moms around the world reduce medications with herbs & homeopathy. Learn more about Tara here: https://taragregorio.com/
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