What herbs did midwives use in Europe during the Middle Ages?
Midwives relied on many herbs to carry out their work. A list of documented herbal remedies passed from generation to generation of midwives is listed in the appendix of the book, The Birth House. A paraphrased description of some of these remedies includes:
Alder: Give in drops to a newborn to prevent jaundice.
Borage: The seeds and leaves increase milk production.
Cayenne: Strengthens the mother's womb.
Devil's Bit (scabiosa): Brew the flowers and drink to prevent menstrual irregularities.
Fennel: Encourages mother's let-down milk reflex.
Dill: treatment for colicky babies - rub the belly with dill seed oil.
Feverfew: Given as tea gives strength to the womb.
Lobelia: Natural cramp inducer in cases of miscarriage.
Marigold (calendula): Used as a salve for sore spots.
Quince: Gel treatment for sore, cracked nipples.
Sage: Dries up milk.
[Ami McKay. The Birth House. William Morrow. New York, N.Y. 2006. p.306-312]