You must have heard your own mum or mother-in-law talk about confinement herbs during your pregnancy. But, what is the truth about them? Are they really going to speed up your recovery in confinement after the birth of your baby? What is each type of confinement herb for? Which herbs are the best at speeding up recovery?
In this article, we’re going to dive deep into this traditional Chinese confinement remedy and all its need-to-knows. So, keep reading.
Confinement: What is it?
Confinement or zuo yue zi, which literally means “Sitting the Moon,” is a traditional practice among the Chinese, where new mums are confined inside their homes for one month to do nothing else but to “sit” and recover.
Chinese mums practice confinement because they believe women’s bodies go through many physical changes during pregnancy. In other words, the entire journey wears a woman’s body down, ergo the need to restore the body to its original strength.
During confinement, new mothers are fed confinement food, which is tailored to nourish mums’ bodies, help them bounce back to health, and boost their milk supply. Mums are also bathed with herbs and have massages to help with their recovery. And, one of the most common practices that Chinese mums do during confinement is to consume herbs that were tried and tested to help speed up mum’s recovery.
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Confinement Herbs for Eating and Drinking
Now, we dive into the use of these special herbs to help mums recover from childbirth. Outside the context of pregnancy and the Chinese culture, we usually just use herbs for cooking – to spice up our dishes. In confinement, the Chinese have many uses for herbs. One of which is of course in their food. Below are the highly recommended herbs for confinement meals:
This herb is more commonly known as the Chinese red date. It comes in three forms – fresh, dried, or sweetened – and is packed with vitamin A, B1, B2, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, and many more. It’s also known to revitalise the nutrients and blood mums lost during childbirth. Chinese mums will use this herb for teas, soups, and congee, making it a very versatile herb.
Another staple herb in the Chinese household is, of course, the ginger – the galactagogue, a.k.a, the breast milk production booster. Since one of the confinement’s purposes is to help mums boost their milk supply, a hefty supply of ginger will definitely help in that aspect.
Another appeal or benefit of ginger is its heat properties. During confinement, mums need to stay warm to avoid getting colds or chills, which are said to be the cause of bloating and weakened joints. Some generous helpings of ginger soup or tea can help mums stay feeling warm.
Moreover, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which explains why it’s such a staple.
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It’s not a coincidence that this herb has the word “mother” in it because it benefits mums in the best way – improving the health of their hearts. And a mum’s heart is the most important organ in their body. Motherwort is not only good for confinement; it’s said to be beneficial to all women.
This herb is also some sort of a uterine tonic that helps regulate a woman’s period. After not having this monthly visitor for 9 whole months, getting them back into your circulation is not easy. But, having some motherwort can help, especially in reducing cramps or any discomfort that comes with your menstruation. That’s definitely a plus in our books.
This herb is jujube’s inseparable twin. They are always better together. This herb contains iron, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin C, which are all instrumental in repairing damaged tissues and revitalising the body’s damaged skin cells.
Vitamin C in this herb is useful in improving mums’ skin. With breakouts leaving marks on your face left and right after giving birth, some TLC from Vitamin C is definitely not a bad idea.
In other words, a new mum’s Captain America shield. Goji Berries have vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will boost your immune system to help you fight various infections. As mentioned earlier, childbirth can wear a woman’s body down. In its weak state, your body is highly prone to infection. Not if you consume Goji Berries in your food or in your drink. You will have natural protection from such infections.
Additionally, this herb is rich in Vitamins A and C. Goji berries can help minimise skin irritation and manage the impact of ageing and the sun on your skin. Plus, it helps improve your emotional state, making it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Confinement Bathing Herbs
Herbs are not only for consumption. They are also for drawing soothing and calming baths for new mums. Fortunately, there is a list of confinement herbs that you can try. Below are the most recommended:
Apart from it being a delectable herb to add to your chicken, adding this herb to your warm bath also has plenty of benefits, which include cleansing and detoxifyng of mum’s body, treating oedema, reducing pain and inflammation, helping boost milk supply in breastfeeding mums, improving the quality of mum’s skin, and preventing rheumatism.
That list alone is enough to get you running off to the next herb store to pile up on lemongrass for your warm bath.
Vitex Negundo, more popularly known as the Chinese Chaste Tree, is going to be a new mum’s best friend in relieving PMS. The reason this herb is effective in relieving PMS symptoms is that it destroys the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland.
Easing the pain resulting from endometriosis, promoting lactation, improving acne, boosting hair growth, and unclogging blocked respiratory systems are just among the numerous benefits of consuming this herb.
Da Feng Ai, a.k.a. Sembong, is another traditional Chinese herb that mums use for confinement bathing. It ensures you don’t get too much wind, helps you avoid dampness, helps improve blood circulation, and relieves joint pain. This is definitely another herb to add to your confinement herb list.
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Postpartum Must-haves: 7 Things Mums Need In Their Postpartum Recovery Kit
Where to Buy Confinement Herbs in Singapore
With the number of benefits that come with these herbs, you might come to wonder where you might get some. Thankfully, the demand for these herbs is high and that’s why plenty of stores now offer packages and even confinement nanny services to help new mums through recovery. Some stores you might want to try to get your hands on these magical herbs are the following:
28-Day Confinement Packages
- Thomson Chinese Medicine
- Mummamia Confinement
- Lao Ban Niang
- HockHua E-Store
- Eu Yan Sang
- Madam Partum
Confinement Herb Stores + Confinement Nanny Services
- Nanny SOS
- PEM Confinement Nanny Agency
And, there you have it. Now, you know what confinement is, what confinement herbs are, their uses, and their benefits. It’s high time you start planning which confinement herb packages you will avail after giving birth to your little one.
Recovery after childbirth is important, regardless if you are practising confinement or not. So, you should definitely consider getting yourself herbs that will nourish your body and nurse it back to its original (if not better) strength.
Image Source: iStock
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.