Healing herbs for new moms

Your skin and hair may be more sensitive during pregnancy owing to hormonal changes, as the level of oestrogen falls after pregnancy. A new mother undergoes many changes that may affect her body, skin, emotions and other aspects of her life. It is common to find new mothers looking dead tired rather than drop dead gorgeous while every mom wants to look best. Beauty expert Shahnaz Husain will tell you how to beat the fatigue without spending much time and get back to the beautiful life.
Nutritional deficiencies may reflect on the hair and skin in terms of a pale and sallow complexion. Herbs, when used appropriately for enhancing inner beauty and health, generally have little to no side effects. They are a fantastic, natural alternative for new moms looking for radiant, glowing and clear skin.
A nutritious diet, adequate sleep and relaxation are essential for both beauty and health, during pregnancy and lactation.
New mothers should also be careful about what they ingest or apply so that there are no detrimental effects on the baby. For example, herbal and home remedies can be very useful. Most new mothers confront the problem of stretch marks on the abdomen. Massaging the abdomen with oil helps to lighten stretch marks over a period of time.
Sesame seed oil is recommended by Ayurveda as it is dosha balanced. For the abdomen, wide circular strokes would help to keep the skin toned and restore elasticity. On upper arms and thighs, long strokes should be used.
Chloasma or pregnancy mask may occur after pregnancy, in which the skin develops pigmented (dark) patches. Usually, they occur on the cheeks or the highpoints, like forehead, nose and cheeks. The use of a sunscreen is important, to provide protection from UV rays, which actually make these patches apparent.
Try to avoid the sun, especially from noon till 3 pm. Select a sunscreen with a high SPF of at least 20+. The sunscreen should be applied about 20 minutes before sun-exposure.
As a home remedy, add a pinch of turmeric to yogurt (curd) and apply daily on the patches. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and wash it off with water. Or mix together honey and lemon juice and apply on the patches daily the same way.
A scrub helps both face and body. Mix ground almonds or rice powder with curd, add a pinch of turmeric and apply on the face. After 15 minutes, rub gently on the skin with small circular strokes, especially on the dark patches. Wash off with water.
Apply face mask twice a week. Mix two teaspoons choker (wheat bran) with one teaspoon each of ground almonds, honey, curd and lemon juice, or egg white. Apply on the entire face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.
Nutrition is a very important factor for healthy hair, especially during and after pregnancy, as well as lactation. The hair is actually fed by the nutrients in the blood stream. So, if there is any nutritional deficiency during pregnancy or lactation, it can lead to hair loss. If there is any mental stress, it can also reflect on the hair. Regular hair care goes a long way in minimizing these problems.
It is important to choose the right products for hair. Harsh hair products disturb the normal acid-alkaline balance and also stimulate the scalp further, leading to a build-up of dead cells on the scalp, aggravating problems like dandruff. The application of herbal hair cleanser and hair tonic would help to control hair loss. One should select products containing herbs like amla, shikakai, reetha, brahmi, bhringaraj, arnica, trifala, Hibiscus (gurhal or javakusuma), etc.
Making a herbal hair-washing preparation at home is not that difficult.
Take a handful each of dried shikakai, reetha and amla. Add them to 1 litre of water and allow them to soak overnight. The next day, simmer the herbs with the water on a low fire, till the water reduces to half the quantity. Do not allow it to boil on a high flame at any time. Allow the mixture to cool and then strain it with a clean cloth. Use the liquid to wash your hair. This quantity should be enough for four to five washes. Keep it in refrigerator.
We recommend the application of herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily, using cotton wool, leaving it on. Apply oil once a week the night before shampoo. If you like, you can apply olive oil or pure coconut oil. Avoid head massage. If there is hair loss, the roots are already weak and massage may aggravate the problem. If the scalp is oily, or if there is dandruff, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse after shampoo.
Drink plenty of water. Sprouts contain amino acids, which are very beneficial to the hair. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and curd in the daily diet. However, ask your doctor before making changes in your diet if you are a lactating mother. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and have it first thing in the morning. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.

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