Using St. John’s Wort Oil During Labor and Birth
By Heidi Sherwin, RYT, P-RYT
The plant St. John’s wort (Hypericum) may be known best for its herbal remedy for mild depression and regulating moods. However, when used in the form of essential oil, St. John’s wort can offer topical pain relief to mamas-to-be during labor and birth.
The healing properties of St. John’s wort qualifies it as a natural first-aid remedy due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities. If a laboring woman is suffering from muscle or nerve pain, especially in association with back labor, the essential oil can be massaged onto the achy regions of her body. Favorite zones for massage may include (but are definitely not limited to!): sacrum and lower back, outer hips, thighs, neck, and shoulders. In some cases St. John’s wort oil has been reported to lessen the intense sensation associated with birthing the baby’s head when applied to the mother’s perineum during this stage of birth. The essential oil can also promote perineum healing post-birth in the occurrence of tearing or incision.
Although St. John’s wort will not diminish the awesome discomfort of uterine contractions and crowning (sorry Mamas-to-be!), it can definitely help ease peripheral aches and pains as one rides the waves of labor and welcomes her baby into the world. So when preparing your goody bag for birth, make sure to include a small bottle of St. John’s wort oil.
* As always, it is important to share any herbal remedy use with your care provider to make sure that the herb does not interact with medications you may be taking. We have a book at Bliss next to the essential oils that does help document some know herb/drug interactions.