The Benefits of Chinese Confinement Herbs
The history of Chinese confinement postpartum practice can be traced back to the early Qin Dynasty (221 B.C to 206 B.C) where it was recorded in 禮記內則(Li Ji Nei Ze); a collection of records, over 2000 years ago detailing the rules regarding a women’s seclusion after delivering.
After delivering, a mother’s body will not immediately return to its normal state. The transformation which has taken place during pregnancy will slowly disappear and will take time to recover. During Childbirth a mother will loses blood and ‘Qi’ and hence become weak, the period following right after is crucial as health issues may arise.
Traditional confinement practices use herbs to regain and improve the mother’s immune system, nourish and regain the ‘Qi’ which was depleted during labor.
1 - Wolf berries 枸杞
Lycium barbarum - also known as Goji berry or Wolfberry, it is a high anti-oxidant food packed with minerals and vitamins. Wolf berries are known to detoxify the body, reinforces the liver and invigorate the kidneys. It is also known to reduce stress and fatigue, and also improve neurological and psychological performance.
2 - Astragalus Propinquus 北芪
Astragalus Propinquus is found to act as an anti-inflammatory, boost the immune system, and protect the cardiovascular system. Astragalus Propinquus also contains antioxidative as well as anti-aging capabilities.
3 - Radix Angelica Sinensis 当归
The dried root of Angelica Sinensis is used to enrich blood, promote blood circulation and regulate the body’s immune system and is an important herb to have during the postpartum period.
4 - Fleece flower root 何首乌 (aka Chinese knotweed root)
Known scientifically as Polygonum multiflorum, it is traditionally used as an adaptogen to balance the body’s ‘Qi’, aiding in the metabolism, reproduction and cleansing of blood in the body.
It is found to have anti-inflammatory effects and can help improve the quality of sleep as well.
5 - Red Dates 红枣
There are many health benefits to red dates. They are an excellent source of iron; which is vital for breastfeeding mothers, are good at replenishing red blood cells, enhances the immune system and are also found to be a natural anti-depressant.
6 - Black Fungus 黑木耳
Scientifically known as Auricularia polytricha, the presence of Polysaccharide found in Black Fungus are also known to lower blood cholesterol, and can also help support the immune system as it contains a content of Vitamin B-2 known as Riboflavin which is required for overall good health.
7 - Snow Fungus 雪耳 (White Fungus)
Known as Tremella fuciformis scientifically, it is upheld as a powerful tonic and is naturally sweet. Snow fungus helps to tonify the spleen, increases appetite, nourishes the lungs and is known to enhance the immune system as well.
8 - Lotus Seed 莲子
Packed with fiber, lotus seeds contain powerful antioxidants and are a great tonic for postpartum woman. It is also found to calm the spirit and tonify the spleen as well as kidneys.
9 - Chinese Yam 淮山
It is also found to aid digestion, nourish blood and strengthen the spleen. It also has antioxidant properties and can also improve kidney and liver function.
10 - Eucommia Bark 杜仲
Known to regulate and improve the immune system and central nervous system, it is also found to nourish the liver and kidney, strength bones as well as muscles.
11 - Gastrodia rhizome 天麻
The rhizome of the Gastrodia plant are found to be effective in dispelling ‘wind’ from the liver and is also used to relieve headaches. It is also found to reduce inflammation and relieve pain as well.
12 - Codonopsis Pilosula 党参
Also; commonly known as ‘poor man’s Ginseng’, is commonly used to correct ‘Qi’ and to improve blood circulation to revitalise the body. It is also known to stimulate the appetite and boost immunity as well.
13 - Dried Lily Buds 金针
Also known as ‘Golden Needles’ or ‘Tiger Lilies’; are the unopened flowers of the daylily plant; scientifically referred to as Hemerocallis, is rich in iron and is known to tonify the blood and calm the spirit.
It is also rich in Fibre, and is used to balance the body’s Yin & Yang which is needed for good health.
14 - Ginseng 人参
Is known to give the immune system a boost as well as fight off infections with its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also found to help fight fatigue and promote energy as well.
15 - Solomon’s Seal Rhizome 玉竹
The Dried edible rhizome of a Solomon’s Seal plant; scientifically known as Polygonatum odoratum. is found to moisten the sinew thus relieving the spams experienced due to ‘wind’ in the body.
Vitamin A and alkaloids found in the Rhizome of a Solomon’s Seal plant are known to nourish the skin, and also restore blood sugar as well as cholesterol balances.
16- Dried Longan 龙眼
Naturally sweet, this tropical fruit is low in fats and calories and is known to nourish the blood, improve blood circulation, as well as strengthen the heart. It is also found to relieve stress or fatigue and also improve sleep quality!