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Ep. 151- Plant Medicine for Breastfeeding: Interview with Mel Mutterspaugh

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Maureen: All right. Welcome to the Milk Minute Podcast. I’m super excited about today’s episode because we have an interview with an herbalist. And I just love that.

Heather: Yeah, I am super excited to talk with her and just hear her passion for herbs.

I mean, this lady’s entire life is herbs and she genuinely wants you to be a healthier person. She works with moms a lot, so that’s obviously why we brought her on the show. And as you know, our bodies go through hell and back and continue to support another life despite whether or not we are physically stable.

And we are excited to talk with her about several different scenarios as well as what herbs you can give your baby. So please tune in. We are super excited to have her.

Maureen: Yeah, just up top. Reminder, we both do private consults. You can always find those links in the show notes, and we are more than happy to help our listeners.

And yeah, let me just, let me just introduce you to our guest and then we’ll take a little break and welcome her onto the show.

Heather: Yeah, tell everyone who we

Maureen: brought today. Okay. So today we’re gonna chat with Mel Mutterspaugh. She is the founder of the Herbalist Path. Mel’s a clinical herbalist, environmental educator, mother, wilderness therapist, and podcast host.

She has her own podcast, I believe it’s called The Herbalist Path, but we link it down below. Mel has studied plant medicine for over 20 years, and she’s super passionate about teaching parents to use plants as medicine in safe and effective ways. She wants to inspire everyone to take better care of themselves and the planet by bringing herbalism back into every home.

Heather: Sounds good to me. I would like herbalism to come back in my home since half the stuff in our medicine cabinet doesn’t work apparently.

Maureen: All right. Let’s take a break to thank a sponsor, and then we will be right back to talk to Mel.

Heather: Imagine a world where you seek lactation care and it’s easy and someone greets you at the door and they’re nice to you, and they give you a hot cup of tea and let you sit on the couch and talk about all the issues, not just the breastfeeding issues.

Maureen: What a cozy fantasy. Is there

Heather: anywhere that’s real? Oh, it’s real girl.

It’s real, and I’ve been building it for quite a long time. My business is called Breastfeeding for Busy Moms, and me and every member of my team are trained in our three major tenants, which is accessibility, kindness, and personalization.

Maureen: If you wanna book a consult with Heather or anyone else on her team, you should head over to breastfeeding for busy

Heather: We do accept some limited insurance, and we’d be happy to walk you through it if you wanna give us a call. And that number’s on Google.

Maureen: So go sit on the cozy couch with Heather at breastfeeding for busy moms.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Love you guys.

Maureen: All right, welcome back everybody, and welcome Mel to our show. We’re so excited to have you.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Thanks. I am super excited to be here.

Heather: So why don’t we start at the beginning. It’s the best place to start, in my opinion. Would you mind sharing with us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to pursue plant medicine and how do you even find a place to study that if someone’s interested?

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yeah, I think I accidentally became an herbalist, honestly, back in the late 19 hundreds, and in the early two thousands I was, I was going to school for outdoor leadership and environmental and experiential education, and I spent some time as a backpacking guide and a wilderness therapist. It was just, Really important for me to be outdoors and helping others get connected to nature.

So while I was a backpacking guide, I found these people paying me hundreds of dollars to walk them to these epically beautiful places that were incredibly sacred to me. Yet they carried backpacks and camping gear filled with nasty, toxic crap that was harming their bodies, and more importantly to me, polluting our planet.

Mm. So in a nutshell, my herbal path began because I wanted to save the world. For me to do it, yeah. Is to do it with plant medicine. So that’s like the very beginning seeds of this blossoming journey, I guess. And then I started wondering, like I started making all my products and I had this dream of this herbal first aid kit, getting into the backpacks and camping gear, people all over, handwriting all my labels, making everything.

And then I’m like, wait a second. Why? Why do these products work? And. , I guess to start like the actual education, it all started with books, of course, I think like so many people do. And then I went to my first Herb conference and Rosemary glad Star was there. Cast.

Maureen: I’m such a fan girl. I love Rosemary. Glad totally me too.

Mel Mutterspaugh: She tasted my tea teas and love them. Oh my gosh. I was like, hi.

Heather: And her name is Rosemary. That’s just amazing. She’s an in.

Mel Mutterspaugh: And she is totally incredible. So that just inspired me. Like I was like, oh, these are my people. This is what I wanna do when I grow up. And like I could backtrack and look farther beyond that first conference and be like, wait, I was already kind of, I was doing it.

I was on that path. Yeah. So to speak. And so I left that conference. I went to my first official in-person herb school. It was the elderberry school, botanical medicine. Oh, lovely. In Portland, Oregon. They still operate. That’s where I learned a lot about plant ID and when to harvest plants at the peak of their medicinal potency and how to make really great medicine with them.

Started to learn about the body systems and things like that. and it left me wanting more. I’m like, okay, this is great. It was a little bit, a little bit too hippie dippy, woo woo for me. Because I lived out in the middle of nowhere in the, like surrounded by nature. And I would drive to the city and then they would take us to another place and teach us how to commune with nature.

And I was like, wait a second. I’m, I’m surrounded by nature. Yeah. So anyways, it made me wanna dive into the science a bit more and I then went into the Portland School of traditional Western herbalism, which was a clinical focus. It was really wonderful because we’d have the best. Herbalist, naturopaths, nurses, doctors, you name it, coming in and teaching on their like super specialty.

And that would be the subject for the month. So it was really great. I got to learn from so many different people. I also, around that time, enrolled in Aviva Rums. Herbal medicine. Nice. For women’s health course. I’m like, that’s one. I just, I haven’t finished it all. I just have it this time for reference.

Yeah, yeah, that’s fine. I, and then I, I ran an herbal product line and sold to REI, so I got those for tickets.

Maureen: Oh my goodness. What? That’s a big sold name.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Sold to a bunch of naturopaths and health food stores up and down the west coast, and I just closed that last spring to focus on education. Which feels good to me.

Wow. Yeah, I mean, it’s an ongoing study. I’ve done so many endless classes at the Naturopathic college in Portland, Oregon. I love teaching now, but I still love learning and I love taking those advanced level courses. I think that’s, . That’s why I love herbalism. Yeah. It’s this never ending study. Never ending.

Heather: I, we can feel it, we can feel it coming through the microphone right now because you are so passionate about this and it’s truly your life’s work. And I, you can always tell when someone’s really passionate about something because there’s no end point. You know? There’s not like a, I’m sorry, there’s not like a Well, you know, and then once I finish this, I’ll be finished.

It’s like, yeah, yeah. And then who knows what’s next? And I love that. So thank you for bringing that to the show, because I think a lot of listeners might be interested in any one of the seasons of life that you have pursued plant medicine in. And I think it’s really cool to give them those options. And we’ll link that school in Oregon in our show notes if anybody wants to get started on their journey.

Sure. And of course, all of your stuff, we’ll talk about.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No worries. Thank you. Yeah, I’m like, I could talk about this forever. So good thing we cut that. Cut that .

Maureen: We’ll keep you on track. Well, thanks. Speaking of that, I’m just gonna like, we’re going into the meat of the episode right now because I know why 90% of our listeners have tuned in today because they wanna know about galactagogues. Everybody wants to know about using this herb or that herb or this supplement, and it’s hard to find answers, so, mm-hmm. , let me just ask you generally, like what is your take on galactagogues, and if somebody asked you, which one should I use?

Like, what, what would your answer?

Mel Mutterspaugh: Well, it’s really going to be variable. I, I really look at the person as a whole unique individual. I think galactagogues are wonderful, especially for women who are having a hard time keeping up with their milk supply, and they’re a great ally to have on hand. Right? And one thing I like to do when it comes to using herbs and plant medicine is say, okay, these herbs X, Y, Z.

Nettles or red raspberry leave or fennel seed, or blessed thistle, something along those lines. Sure, they’ve got galactagogue properties, but are there other properties we can look for in that same plant? that your body might need right now. For instance, Kemi can promote milk flow. It does have galactagogue properties.

And if you’re not aware, raising a new human and making a new human is really, really tough. , absolutely. It can be stressful. So could we look for an herb that has those galactagogue properties and also supports the nervous? might be a great idea. Yeah. And then the other things that I think are really important when choosing our galactagogues nourishment.

Mm-hmm. Is there a plant that can give you tons of vitamins and minerals to support your body as you’re feeding another body still and to re regrow your body? Or, I don’t know the word looking, looking

Maureen: for there, but . Yeah.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Reinvigorate, re-energize. Yeah. , I, you know, you never really go back to life as it was.


Maureen: But you move forward, you know? Yeah, yeah.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Exactly. So, nourishing the body, you know, strengthening, toning, supporting the uterus, red raspberry is really important there. I also think it’s important to make it taste good. Mm-hmm. , because if it, if your medicine doesn’t taste good, you’re not gonna take it.

Yes. So I like fennel for that. I love the taste of fennel and a tea and it’s a great galactagogue too, so you can’t tell. I can really nerd o out on the herbs and the strategies. It’s such,

Maureen: absolutely. I

Heather: love that. But you know, I think a lot of people are listening right now and they’re like, nourishment, what is this?

Like herb salad? You know, like Americans in particular are so classic for being like, which herbal pill do I need to take? Which combination of dried herbs that are understandably

Maureen: too the capsule. Cause we have like 0.7 seconds of a day to think about it for sure. Right.

Heather: And also they’re used to medicine being painful and doesn’t taste very good. So they’re not looking for a full experience when they’re looking for you know, treatment.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yes. Yes. That is one thing I like to help people understand as more and more people are looking to herbs and plants as medicine. This is a, I’m not sure which voice said it, but very good point. And like they’re looking for that.

What’s the one herb to fix my problem? That’s the western medicine mentality. Mm-hmm. is what I look at it as, and I’m not anti-Western medicine. Saved my life, so like I’ll just put that out there. But as you’re trying to choose to use more natural therapies and more natural remedies, you have to look outside of the, take this herb for that problem because no one herb is going to work the same for everybody.

And what works for you may not work for your sister or your daughter, or your mother or your neighbor. And it’s a whole lifestyle to adopt.

Heather: So is it okay for people to just like run the gamut on herbs and just try them all? Like how do they know if they’re safe for lactation or safe for them? So, because I think a lot of people try to Google it.

Of course. Mm-hmm. And they get Google Yes.

Maureen: And contradictory with us, and we’re like, can you tell us what supplements you’re taking? They’re like, sure, here’s the 15 I’m taking. Right. What?

Heather: So how did they get some clarity on this?

Mel Mutterspaugh: That is so much the problem, how they best get clarity is to work with a trained practitioner, honestly because there is years of training and research that goes into it, and no, it’s not safe to just go out and go out and take all the herbs.

Many herbs are safe. Generally regarded as safe grass, right? Mm-hmm, many of them are not, and it goes back to what I just said, like some herbs are gonna work well for you, whereas other ones are not. One thing I advise people to do is to start with one herb and see how your body reacts to it. Is that the herb for you?

Because if it’s not, there’s others to choose from, which is really, really beautiful. And how do you find out what’s safe? Lactation? I mean, find it, it really comes down to finding a trustable source because you will get spun down the Google rabbit hole. Like it’s there is a lot of really, really poor.

Go on. Sorry. Scares me. There is a lot of really, really poor information out there. There’s also brilliant information. So I think this is part of the problem is people will see a list of herbs and be like, okay, those are the ones I take. Yeah, but there’s no strategy behind it, you know? There’s no understanding of the whole body.

It’s just somebody else’s marketing going into your body.

Heather: Oh my gosh. The marketing. Yes. We’re gonna get into that. But I just wanna acknowledge for our listeners that. We understand that lactation is time sensitive. Like if you don’t treat a milk supply issue soon, like it could be just a matter of weeks before you’re not able to support your exclusively breastfed infant anymore.

And so we’re not blaming you for like going out there and trying everything all at once. Right. And you know, having sort of a. A timeframe on it. Like if my milk supply isn’t boosted by day 10, like I’m, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. You know? So how do you speak to those people that are feeling the time crunch of fixing their lactation issue?

Mel Mutterspaugh: Gosh, that’s a, that’s a tough one. You’re gonna go on Google, maybe check multiple sources. Mm-hmm, reach out to your midwife, reach out to your healthcare practitioner, find out what herbs are working well. There are definitely a lot of herbs that are galactagogues that are GRAS generally regarded as safe.

Like the fennel, like the red raspberry leaf, like alfalfa. Mm-hmm. Loaded with vitamins and minerals and nutrients to keep you and your baby really well-nourished nettles again, I’ll say it again and again and again. I also like blessed thistle, but blessed of thistle is very bitter. It’s not the witches, you

Maureen: know, I hate the way it tastes.

You need milk. Right. I try to remind people that a, as much as we hate to taste bitter things, they are actually good for your body. .

Mel Mutterspaugh: Mm-hmm. Aren’t they though? Our whole society, we’ve just been really overdosed with sugar and learned to hate bitter, right?

Maureen: Yeah. I, sometime I, I can’t remember if I mentioned this. I am also an herbalist but I don’t usually focus on that in this podcast very much. But often when I’m recommending Bitters to people, I’m like do you want it spread out in different things or do you just want it all at once? Do you want like one bitter shot and you can just get it done with? Because sometimes we have to do it, you know?

And that’s how I would rather do it.

Heather: Yeah, me too. Yeah.

Mel Mutterspaugh: I just, I, I like to make bitters part of the lifestyle though. Yeah. You know, they’re, they’re an ongoing good medicine. Absolutely. Our digestive health for sure.

Maureen: Well, let’s branch out from galactagogues, and I really wanna dig into what other ways we can use herbs to support our bodies in the postpartum, because we are people outside of breastfeeding and the rest of our body of course, influences what we’re doing with lactation and how we’re taking care of our.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Absolutely. So I think one of the most, I touched on this briefly already, but nerving herbs are going to be incredibly important. And again, sticking with the nourishment as well because it takes so much fuel from your body to feed another human and go through what you’re going through. As a new mama, it’s no easy job.

So if you can use nerve veins, which are herbs that act on the nervous system mostly you’re gonna want the more calming or slightly sedated nerving. Coffee is also a nerve vein, so that’s stimulating. I’m not gonna tell you. Go get your coffee just power through it all. Nothing against coffee. I love it in moderation.

Have them right now. Yeah. Butner beans to support, the tough times you’re going through, it’s also going to support your babe if they’re going through tough times. So I really love lemon balm in this time. I really love Camile. I love Ashwagandha. Of course, these aren’t always for everybody. Like if people are sensitive to nightshades, ashwagandha is not your friend, it’s a nightshade or so considering those kinds of things, I think.

Yeah. For me that’s the most important. Mm-hmm. And then we’ll go to nourishment again. Like if every new mama, this is one of those herbs I will blanket is nettles. Yeah.

Maureen: I agree. Everybody. Yeah. I’m like, what if we started with that and then we see where we go?

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yeah. Nettles is gonna be incredibly nutritive and it’s loaded with calcium and vitamin K and all the, like, the whole alphabet of vitamins. Like, it’s just incredibly mineral rich. And I don’t have the whole list of everything it has.

Heather: It’s great in front of me right now. I need some right now. I feel like that’s what I want. Mm-hmm. , I wanna go enrich my body.

Maureen: Well, yeah. And it doesn’t taste bad. It’s a little grassy, but it’s not too bitter. It’s not, I mean, just kind of like a nice base. Yeah. I’d try it.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Have you ever eaten like just fresh nettles?

Maureen: Mm-hmm. I don’t think so. They’re it’s that you cook.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Oh, I actually eat them fresh, straight from the plants.

Maureen: They don’t sting you? I’m sorry.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yeah. There’s, I, I’m gonna share we a little trick with you if we could.

Maureen: Okay. So which are you talking about? Wood nettles or European stinging nettles though, because those are sting different levels of sting, right?

Mel Mutterspaugh: Stinging nettles. Tika Tika, however, you know, with the Latin names. Yeah, I think they’re very important, but they’re also tomato, tomato for me.

But so, okay, you’re gonna approach a nettle plant, right? And if you look at a nettle leaf on the bottom are these long little crystal like hairs. And that is where ferric acid is, which is the same stuff that fire ants sting you with. That is where the sting is coming from. If you grab the leaf from the top, more often than not, you will not get stung, and you can pinch that leaf off and then fold it into a little pocket.

Don’t touch the crystals, and then once you pop it in your mouth and you chew it, you will not get stung. And it is the most delicious, fresh, amazing flavor like, Take it. You’re like, this taste like heavenly nourishment and chlorophyl. And I never thought like, chlorophyl sounds like a great thing, but it’s really, really good.

It’s, it’s really good.

Heather: That’s funny. I everybody’s like thinking about their gut, like, could I handle that?

Maureen: So I have eaten the lat genus, the wood nettles, like the North American native raw before, like just the tiniest little. And it wasn’t my favorite. I would be terrified to do that with Erika Dika.

I would be like it, like the ones I grow are just so covered in those little stinging hairs. They’re terrifying.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Oh, I love it. It’s, I’m, I’m so excited for them to start popping up in my neck of the woods.

Maureen: Mine have just started popping up, which is way too early and I’m afraid for them. I’m like, friends, go back.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Where are you guys are in, in Georgia, is that right?

Maureen: No, we’re in West Virginia. And it is like two months too early, but we’re in a warm spell right now of like 50 degree weather. And this happens every, like, every other year. Everything starts to come out in like January or February and then it killed in March by lots of snow.

Heather: Yep. Every time.

Maureen: So, oh, well.

Heather: I tell all my patients who are brand new parents to put a list of soothing techniques on their refrigerators so they can both remember what they’ve already tried for soothing baby.

Maureen: I like to put a Happi Tummi on that list. It’s a natural herbal wrap that soothes and relieves pain instantly, and it’s so fuzzy.

Heather: It’s so great. It helps baby sleep at night, resolves colic gas or constipation, and it’s great because it has a little cute animal on the front for when they’re doing tummy time, which provides gentle pressure to help them get their toots out.

Maureen: And you know what? They’re not just for babies. They have them for teens and adults too.

Heather: Hmm. So if you’re struggling with those period pains, get your herbal warm, Happi Tummi wrap today by going to And if you love us, enter promo code milk Minute 10MILKMINUTE10for 10% off.

Maureen: That’s Milk Minute 10 for 10% off your happy Happi Tummi.

Heather: Thank you so much for supporting the show.

Maureen: Heather, when you were nursing Heidi, did you get thirsty every single time?

Heather: Every single time I sat down to nurse, it was like the Sahara Desert had taken up residents in my mouth.

Maureen: Same. And my go-to drink right now is Liquid IV. Oh,

Heather: me too. Liquid IV makes your water work harder cuz it has a hydration multiplier in it.

That’s great tasting. Non gmo. And it actually has cellular transport technology that delivers hydration to the bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water.

Maureen: You can also get their immune support blend, energy blend, or even one that helps with your sleep health.

Heather: My personal favorite is Lemon Lime, and I think it actually makes me drink water two times faster, which is always handy when you have a screaming baby in the room.

Maureen: I really like the Tangerine. And if you wanna try that today, you can go to the link in our show notes and use our discount code milk underscore minute for

Heather: 15% off your order. That’s Milk underscore Minute for 15% off your Liquid IV today. Happy drinking.

Well, you had, you had mentioned that postpartum parents are just depleted anyway, but let’s talk about the parents that kind of get double depleted by receiving antibiotics in labor or soon after postpartum and you know, from group B strep or from prophylactic antibiotics with a C-section. C-section.

Yeah. Mm-hmm, you know, they’re starting with a gut that’s been stripped of a lot of the good bacteria that supports them. So would you, I mean, I guess what I’m asking is how could we use herbal medicine to support gut health after that?

Mel Mutterspaugh: There are a myriad of ways to use herbal medicine to support gut health, but the first thing you need to look at is your nutrition.

You need to make space for the good gut bugs and unhappy pie. The bad gut bugs, so they’re not having a party in the gut, right? So that means not having tons of sugar to feed them even more. And that means bringing on probiotics, eating your fermented foods. This is where you start because if you throw all the herbs on to the gut before you take away what’s causing the problems and the inflammation in there.

You’re basically like using a squirt gun to try and put out a bonfire, whereas if you decide to stop throwing logs on the fire to make that bonfire go bigger, it’s going to smolder and then you can bring on herbs to support that, and then it’s like a fire hose on your bonfire and puts it. So that being said, that’s the number one.

I, I know that’s not the answer everybody wants. Everybody wants that. What’s the herb that’s gonna do?

Maureen: No, we’re here for the real answer so you don’t have to sugar quote it. . .

Mel Mutterspaugh: And then, you know, I’d love to say garlic, but when you’re breastfeeding, garlic can be challenging cuz that can make, you know, colic worse.

Or make your, your babes tummy just feel not so young.

Maureen: And not everybody likes garlic. It’s like a hard one for a lot of people to take. I love garlic. Fermented in honey. Oh, I love it. But man I, I grew up in a house of garlic caters, like I’d move like my mother if she cooked gar, like a single clove of garlic in a meal would open like every window in the house.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Oh my goodness. That’s so weird. I can’t even imagine. I’m such like the 10 times garlic that it calls for the recipe kinda girl.

Heather: Yeah, that. Me too. Except when I’m pregnant. In which case if someone’s cooking onions in garlic, I have to leave. It’s awful.

Maureen: Same. My last pregnancy, it was the number one thing to make me vomit.

Heather: Yep. Garlic was rough. And garlic on other people’s breath. I was like, no. Thank you. Nope.

Mel Mutterspaugh: It was bacon for me. I was like,

Maureen: No bacon. Why is it the bacon anywhere in the house? Why is it all the good stuff? These picky fetuses? I don’t care. Please wrap some garlic and bacon for me.

Heather: I’ll eat that, right.

Mel Mutterspaugh: So other, let me go back on the gut and, and like what herbs you can use to support.

So there’s. There’s a myriad of ways to look at it. This is, this is the problem, like for saying what herbs. You can use caritive herbs to support your gut through this process of healing and through the gassiness that may come about when you start eating fermented foods and shifting the microflora in the gut.

So caritive herbs, most of your culinary herbs are caritive, so that means they’re going ease gassiness and bloating and tummy upset, things along those lines. So sage, rosemary, thyme ginger can all be really, really helpful. The really fragrant, aromatic herbs. Okay, well that’s good news. Yeah, right. You can also look to herbs to help ease some of the inflammation.

And some of my favorite ones in that department are Camile Marshmallow root. Marshmallow Root is a huge friend of mine in that department, slippery Elm. Those can just kind of cool and ease things for some people. Licorice root is really, really powerful there. Not if you have hypertension, not if you are pregnant.

And then, after that. Like, okay, so you’ve gone through this process. You’re, you know, you’re shifting, you’re, you’re making more good gut bugs, and you’re telling the bad guys that they’re kicked out their hotel’s no longer accepting them, and you’re ready for some true, like, healing of the gut. Then you can bring in some, what are called vulnerary herbs, some of my favorites.

They’re gonna be, they’re normally used as wound healers for the skin. So you might be making some little treatments and preparations for your newborn babe with these. Chula and plantain are two of my favorite herbs and a little more marshmallow and or licorice. To give to people that are working to heal and repair the damaged gut wall and shift their whole microbiome.

They will actually help to repair those damaged cells and close up the leaks in the tight junctions of the gut wall.

Maureen: And to an nerding out to answer. Heather’s puzzled face at many puzzled ones at home, not the banana plantain. We’re talking about this a little leafy plant. The genus name is plant Togo, and there are a bunch of different species that kind of all work the same.

It is if you’re getting ilium husk fiber that is from that plant. .

Mel Mutterspaugh: Got it. And stop reading my mind . Yeah. Yeah. I love to plantains one of my favorite herbs to teach people about, just cuz it’s so, it does so much like its biggest claim to fame. P Plantago Maur is mm-hmm. , the one I’m speaking of, there’s p Plantago ola, and I believe the cilium husk is, I think it’s ova.

Mm-hmm. or something. Yeah, I think so. It’s. , I love it because it’s everywhere you want to be. It’s growing in your sidewalk cracks. Mm-hmm. . It’s growing in the side of the road. It’s growing at the park. Of course, you don’t wanna gather it where somebody’s been spraying toxic chemicals. No dog pee and pesticides, no

Yeah, dog pee. Like all those things you really wanna avoid. But other than that, like it is so there for you and it. Pull out splinters and blackberry thorns. It will ease the inflammation from bug bites and bee stings.

Maureen: It will, yeah. And it’s another one full of nutrients, like any dark leafy green. Mm-hmm.

I, so I was really used to seeing it like, you know, in the scrubby parts of my yard as like a little struggling plant. And one year I decided to actually put it like in my garden. with like Yeah. Actual chances to grow. And I was shocked how big it got. I was like, oh my gosh. Like you’re like big enough to harvest

Mel Mutterspaugh: You get a plantain leaf that’s like the size of your face. Exactly. And you’re like, what? Yay.

Heather: I can do so much of this. Oh my gosh. I, I know for a fact there are people listening right now who are like, this is my new hobby. I’m going to have an earth garden. It should be, we should have an herb garden outside the new.

Maureen: Yes. I’ll plant it for you. Mm-hmm. .

Mel Mutterspaugh: Thank you. Good. Yes, you should. It’s my whole mission in this world to make sure there’s an herbalist in every home. again. Yeah. Like it used to be.

Heather: Yes. You know what I mean? Yeah. We actually just interviewed my husband’s grandmother from Appalachia where she grew. She’s.

Born in like 19, late 1920s or 1930, and she was saying that her dad would like not let Western medicine in the house, and he had full faith in the herbal medicines and they made all their medicine at home. And it was like the 1950s that it kind of started to be like, , you know? Yeah.

Maureen: Washed away. Well, that’s where my herbal education started is I was working in the coal fields and mm-hmm.

doing these like community outreach where I’d like go out to these really far houses full of really old people who don’t get out and like talk to ’em about these issues. And this one ancient woman who, I just have no idea how old she was, but she was full of wisdom one day, introduced me to witch ha.

Because I was like, what are you cooking on your stove? Like it smelled terrible. Which ha , it does not smell, it smells bad when you cook it that way, but she was like, oh, it’s witch hazel. Like my grandma taught me this. And then it was just all downhill from there. . Yeah. That’s awesome.

Mel Mutterspaugh: I so love stories like that.

Like I, I didn’t grow up. with a family that had that talked about this kind of

Heather: stuff. Well, I love that you’re bringing it back and trying to bring this wisdom back to families. And I think another thing is these people back in the day used these herbs on their babies. You know? Mm-hmm. . Yeah, that’s, and they saw it as like, of course we would use this with babies, but nowadays everyone’s terrified to put anything on their baby or give their baby anything.

So can we chat a little bit about some herbs for baby? Like are there many traditions of using plant medicine for colicky babies? And what do you as an herbalist understand colic to be and how do you use plants? ,

Mel Mutterspaugh: Absolutely you can use herbs with your babies. I do wanna just sidetrack for one second.

It’s actually under the same topic, but like, I hear this often from moms, like, oh, I use herbs all the time, but I’m really scared to use them on my kids. Yet. These are plants you can grow, you can touch, you can pronounce their name, you know. Where they come from. And when you go to the store and you’re buying your bright blue syrupy, bunch of crap, how much of that can you pronounce?

Do you know what’s in there? Yeah. Can you see it? Can you imagine it? I’m just gonna preface that right there. And there are many herbs that are beneficial for babes with colleagues. So colic can be. Caused by a couple of things. More often than not, it’s, you know, gassiness that’s causing a lot of pain and discomfort and frustration in your infant, and then resulting in pain and discomfort and frustration in the parents.

Sometimes it’s their undeveloped digestive system, just learning how to work in this bright, big new world. And so when I have mamas dealing with colic, I recommend a couple. Herbal actions is what they’re called, so it’s Herb Geek speak. Two dominant ones that I really wanna talk about are carbons. I briefly talked about them before.

They ease gassiness bloating and tummy upset. Now dealing with colic is also very stressful. for the parents and for that babe, they don’t wanna be crying and, and, and 10 tensed up and tightened in pain. So looking for those nerve veins that can be really, really calming or an anti-spasmodic to help ease the smooth muscle tissue that is cramping up and causing all of that pain.

One of my favorites is Camile in this department. Another one, lemon balm. F. Get some nettles in there for extra nourishment. . Catnip is another really fantastic one. That’s my. . Yeah. I love catnip and most people say, oh, catnip, so my cats are gonna freak out. Well, your cats might, but catnip actually has the opposite effect on our nervous system that it does on cats.

It is a calming nerving and it is grass generally regarded as safe for our infants. It’s a fantastic herb for our wee little. So those are some of my favorites, like a simple tea with some lemon balm cat. and fennel and Camille would not only be highly effective at alleviating the discomfort and the stress, it’s gonna be yummy.

So it’s easy to put in your tummy. So you,

Heather: you give it directly to the baby, you can

Mel Mutterspaugh: give it directly to the baby through like the syringe kind of method or a bottle if that’s what you are doing. And you can also drink the tea. It’s going to help your nerves just as well. And it takes, what about 30 minutes for that, those herbs to transfer through to the breast milk and into your.

Maureen: Yeah. And I, I’ve had really good results doing that. You know, I usually, especially people are nervous. I’m like, just start with that, see if it helps that way. Yeah. And then if you wanna try directly giving it to baby, we’ll try a really small dose and see how that

Heather: goes. Is a small dose, like one milliliter then?

Yeah. Okay. .

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yeah.

Maureen: One of the things that we get in our mom’s group a lot, especially this time of year, is what can I take for a cold or flu? Because, especially right now, like flu A is. absurd. We’ve got Covid, we’ve got R sv. It’s like my, me and my entire family was sick from September to December.

Same, just nonstop . And I, I think there’s definitely a place for herbal remedies to help both prevent and treat those. And I’m curious what you would recommend for our breastfeeding parents. .

Mel Mutterspaugh: Heck yes. There are tons of amazing herbal remedies for these kinds of scenarios. My number one for breastfeeding moms and pregnant moms that are trying to battle cold and flu season is gonna be eia.

Mm-hmm. . And I know that EIAs greatest claim to fame is for its immune stimulating properties, which by the way, it’s got tons of other medicinal use. , and it is really great for that. And it’s not that I want these moms to take it all the time, but if your friends or your neighbors or everybody at work, or your partner is sick, or you see everybody starting to get sick, or you’re going to travel, that’s when you wanna get e Kanesha on board because it’s, it’s going to stimulate the immune system.

Oh yeah. It’s going to awaken all of those immune army cells to be like, oh. Let’s be on guard. Is there a virus around? Is there bacteria around who’s trying to get us sick? So EIA is fantastic. There’s also so many amazing remedies and medicines in your kitchen cabinet. Like this is huge. And I think that.

herbalism is simple and complex all in one. It’s truly beautiful and so many of us underestimate the power of herbal remedies right inside of your kitchen cabinet, your herbal, your spices, the things that you cook with your culinary herbs. So time for instance, has antimicrobial properties to it so it can fight viruses, bacteria, and fungal infections.

And not only. , it has a constituent in it called Tamo and ta. Coming from time is one of the main ingredients you’ll find in most common over the counter cold and flu remedies. So I love to have these really fragrant, culinary herbs. They’re fragrant cuz they’re tasty, right? You love them. You can do a simple herbal steam if you get all congested and stuffy.

Toss what you’ve got in there. But some of my favorites might be time, might be. Oregano might be rosemary mint. If you’ve got it, you toss it in a bowl, you pour some hot water over it and dray Patel over your head and breathe those vapors in for as long as you can and your snot that was once stuck in your face is now going to drip out into this bowl.


Maureen: a very elegant process. . Right. .

Heather: I’m sure the kids would love it though. My nine year old boy would be like, I wanna see how much snot I can get out of my

Maureen: head. For little kids. Exactly. Heather, I do this in a camping tent in the living room. Hmm mm-hmm. , because they don’t like to sit there with like a towel over their head, you know?


Mel Mutterspaugh: I like to make it a fun game, like you were saying. Like, I’ll, I’ll do it with the towel with my kiddos. She’ll, she’ll do it for me, but I’m like, Hey, pretend like this is your own personal tent, . And just make it a fun game and let them smell the herbs you’re putting in

Maureen: there. Tell them what they’re, let them help them with my kids.

My son’s like, so, okay, we’re making a potion today. I’m like, We are and your mom’s way to tell your friends, here’s the ingredients. Go for it. Right.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yeah, it’s, it can be so much fun. So those are all amazing. I’m gonna go back to garlic. Yeah. You can take away a lot of that hot, pungent flavor of garlic when you do a simple fermentation of it in a local raw honey.

That honey also has amazing antimicrobial properties to it, and we’ll do a great job of soothing and coating a dry, raspy, sore throat. Yeah. And it’s yummy. It is.

Maureen: Yeah. So that’s, it doesn’t sound yum. But I assure you, if you like garlic at all, you will actually like that .

Mel Mutterspaugh: It doesn’t, it barely even tastes

Maureen: like garlic.

Don, you do it. It’s, it’s good. I was shocked the first time I did that. I was like, oh yeah, I do like honey and gar, you’re like, Hmm. , right? It’s,

Mel Mutterspaugh: it’s pretty amazing how, how good it tastes. Ginger ginger’s another great herb to use during cold and flu season. It’s also antiviral and antibacterial. You ideally wanna use the fresh rhizome in a.

and you can just slice that up and pour it in a cup and or and pour some hot water over it and let it steep for as long as possible. Add some honey, add a little cinnamon. Cinnamon can be really nice during cold and flu season. I, yeah, I teach lots of, lots of cat classes on cold and flu season and

Heather: kitchen medicine.

Sure. What about whiskey? When do you put the whiskey in?

Mel Mutterspaugh: Whenever you, you want .

Maureen: You know, I, it’s like, I think that is one of the areas people feel comfortable getting into herbal medicine for because Yeah, well it’s really common that our parents were like, oh yeah, here’s the thing you do for a cold, you know, as kids, but also like cold and flu medications over the counter just don’t work.

They’re terrible. And when you actually look into like the evidence behind the ingredients, you’re like, oh wait, we knew they didn’t work and yet mm-hmm. , we’re still selling them. Like, why are we selling phenylephrine to anybody? It doesn’t work.

Heather: Exactly.

Mel Mutterspaugh: gives you, yeah, I was gonna bring up the, the studies on phenylephrine he chloride and how it’s, yeah.

No more effective than a sugar pill or a glass of Kool-Aid and like, okay, I didn’t know that. No, you know, , all the store shelves are sold out of this crap. Mm-hmm. , how much more empowering would it be to actually know? How to make your own medicines was something that is safe and effective. Yeah,

Heather: just saying I need to get on the right algorithm in social media because I did not know that.

And I am the person that like appreciates herbalism and I so desperately want to be that mom that has it all bottled up and ready to go for when I am sick. And I would love nothing more than someone to show up and give it to me, but, , how do people take those first steps other than just going in their kitchen cabinet and what’s the main thing that you want our listeners to take away from today’s conversation?

Mel Mutterspaugh: Yeah, the first steps, I mean, social media, you nailed it. There’s a lot of information out on social media. Again, it’s like Google and a large portion of that information is not awesome. So, you know, taking the first steps is. Try one herb at a time. See what it does for you. Feel it, touch it, taste it, smell it, experience it.

And that is a great way to start. And then try another herb. does it? Does it make your body happy? Can you feel it? Do you like the taste of it? And move on from there. Start gathering your herb books. Follow me on social media. I share a lot of information on TikTok and Instagram and those kinds of things.

Maureen: Absolutely. Well we deeply appreciate you coming to talk to us and just help our listeners like dip their toes in today. But if they would like to know more, could you let us know how they can do that through your business? How can they find you? for sure.

Mel Mutterspaugh: So I have a website, the herbalist I also have a podcast, the Herbalist Path.

I am on TikTok. Everything’s at the herbalist path. TikTok, Facebook, Instagram. Perfect. YouTube. I haven’t been active on YouTube in a while, and also Pinterest. Hmm. I run an online herbal mentorship for Moms and Grands where I teach you safe and effective remedies from pregnancy all the way to emptying the nest, whether it’s colic or teething or acne, diarrhea, constipation.

I get to talk about poop a lot. . And I We do too. Yes. , it’s great. Right? So in that, yeah, I just. Teach moms like, what’s going on with the body? Cuz that’s how you can start to be more strategic instead of just like, let me throw an herb at this supposed problem. When you understand what’s happening in the body, you can be really wise in the herbs that you’re choosing and then start to just feel this sense of empowerment and confidence eventually when you’re like, oh my gosh, I know exactly what to turn to and I have.

That is such a cool feeling. . And then I also have a program that’s coming out at the end of February. Mm-hmm. . So early March, it’s medicine making mamas. Oh, that sounds nice. And that’s where I, yeah, totally. It’s where I will be teaching you scientific and folk methods to making your medicines. So there is some science that goes into herbal medicine making like, you know, there’s.

medicinal constituents and plants, and some of them are soluble in certain solvents like alcohol or water or fats and oils. And if you’re trying to use a plant as medicine that is not soluble in oil or fat, but you’re using it in oil or fat, You’re not really making much. So I teach you ways around that in there.

So I love that. Yeah, lots and lots of free content and lots of extra support.

Heather: Awesome. Yeah, I absolutely love that. You’re not just like, I’m selling this thing. You’re like, I’m gifting you wisdom to gift to other people, to gift to your children. And I mean, we’re all about changing generations from now.

Mm-hmm. , you know, that’s a lot of what Maureen and I do with lactation. Is considering how it’s gonna affect the world three generations from now and it’s exponential. Mm-hmm. . So thank you for the work that you do and thank you for spending some time with us today. It’s been really nice to talk with you.

Mel Mutterspaugh: Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me. And thank you for your kind words that you just said. That really means a lot to me and it’s been wonderful to chat with you ladies. Thank you so much.

Heather: If you’re pumping milk away from your baby at all at work or wherever you go, you deserve a bougie product. To make that easier for you,

Maureen: you deserve a series chiller and frankly, I could not live without one right

Heather: now. The series Chiller is an excellent way to store your breast milk safely, and it keeps your breast milk cold for 24 hours.

It is the

Maureen: only thing I use to transport my breast milk to and from work while I’m working. It’s got a sleek and beautiful design. Lots of great colors, high quality materials and

Heather: manufacturing. Sir Chill also has other products that you might wanna check out too. My personal favorite is the milk stash.

They have a

Maureen: great nipple shield that actually changes colors and it’s not clear like all the other ones, . And you know how we feel about that ? If you. To have your very own series chiller, please go to the Lincoln R show notes and use code milkman at 15 at

Heather: checkout. That’s milkman at 15 for 15% off your series.

Chill products. Enjoy.

Well, my mind is blown and I’m ready to go out and buy all kinds of little brown bottles and steeping pots and whatever. I need to start making my own medicine at home. Absolutely.

Maureen: And you know, if you’re not ready to make your own, you can buy something pre-made. That’s okay. Buy an herbal syrup, buy a pre-blended tea, you know, baby steps.

I know that making changes in the postpartum feels. Impossible. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna do whatever you’re actually gonna follow

Heather: through on, or, you know, when your, when your mom is asking you what she can do to help you. Yeah. Tell her be like that. Take this class and learn how to make this medicine.

She stock cabinet, she said she has a class for grandma’s. Yeah. And. Honestly,

Maureen: like Thank you. Yeah, that’s perfect. .

Heather: That’s great. That’ll take up just enough time to keep mom busy and that to be helpful, be very helpful. And I’m dead serious about wanting to have an herb garden at the new office.

I’m dead

Maureen: serious about helping you. We can plant like, Five low maintenance shrubby things that’ll grow big and be smelling

Heather: beautiful. Yeah. And you can have a little workshop there. Mm-hmm. great. And teach people how to make their tea and stuff. That’d be fun.


Maureen: plant a big shrub of lemon balm for you.

Mm-hmm. And every time you walk by it, you can like wrestle it and it’ll smell lemony cuz that’s what I do. . Oh my god. That sounds, yes. I also have the pleasure of having wild mint growing in my yard. So whenever I mow my yard I’m like, hmm. minty fresh. Oh, that’s awesome. Wonderful. Well now that we’re at the end of another episode, I think it’s time to give somebody an award cuz y’all are the reason we’re here.

You’re the badass ones and we just like to remind you every

Heather: week. Yes. Who do we have today?

Maureen: Larissa Fourier. She let’s see what she told us she said. First time mom of 4.5 month old, little love and exclusively breastfeeding. It hasn’t been easy. She had a poor latch and I guess I have flatter nipples and she lost 8% of her body weight After birth, a labor engine delivery nurse gave me a nipple shield and that ended up being the only way I could feed her for the first three months.

Talk about annoying. Why are those things clear? Preach. . Having to be sure those were washed for every feeding and feeding’s taking so long. We didn’t give up though. I got help from our local lc and doula and I was able to wean her off the shield at around three months that she then showed a bottle preference and we quit giving bottles completely.

And since then, breastfeeding has been going really well. I love this experience and love learning such cool things from your podcast. Our bodies are so amazing. Thanks for helping me on this. .

Heather: That’s amazing. Good job. Lots of stuff to troubleshoot there. And you know what was coming up for me? Mm-hmm. , she’s like reverse engineering

Like she has to backtrack. Yeah. You know, like going back to the beginning. So what can we give her? Let’s

Maureen: see. I would like to give you the Shield Maiden Award because you are a warrior to have to, let’s like go through all those challenges, overcome all those obstacles, especially the nipple shield, which we love to hate

Heather: And also, by the way, shield Maiden is a product of serious chill that has colored nipple shields that change color to clear when they’re on you. But then when they cool off, they’re colored so you can find. Like,

Maureen: seriously, why are all of the other ones in the world clear? It makes me wanna cry. .

Heather: Seriously

Maureen: But anyway, Larissa, we absolutely love your story. Thank you so much for sharing with us. And I hope you’re really proud of

Heather: your journey. We’re so proud of you. And we have an Apple review from Maria, Mrs. Doula. What a fantastically informative and fun way to learn more about the many facets of breast chest feeding.

Heather and Maureen are always bringing great research and important topics to their episodes. Thank you. Love that. I love that for us . Yeah. Well, thanks

Maureen: for that review and thanks for listening to yet another hour of us talking about all kinds of stuff. .

Heather: The way we change this big system that is not set up for lactating families or postpartum families that are looking for better health is to educate ourselves, our grandmas, and our loved one.

Maureen: If you love us as much as we love you, we would love for you to join our Patreon so we can talk to you more often, give you more material, and just, you know, tell you the things we don’t have time for here. You can find that at minute podcast,

Heather: and we hope you guys have a fantastic day.

And if you decide to grow one of those herbs and use it, tag us in a post. Yeah, send us a pick. Send us a pick. Tell us what happened. We love to hear how these episodes have

Maureen: impacted. All right. Bye friends. Bye-bye.


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