Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Doula Services

On 11 December 2010 our 4th baby was born. His name is Rory and he was born at home in our birth pool, surrounded by his family including three big sisters. We're so blessed to have him!


Life has been wonderfully full and busy for me since our baby boy joined us. He's a healthy, active 6 year old now. This is him with one of his big sisters. They were very proud of this go cart which they built themselves. (And then terrified me tearing down the steep and bumpy driveway in it.)




During 2017, I am available only to attend homebirths within an hour's drive of my home in Warburton. So if you are planning a local-area homebirth, please do contact me.

If you are seeking birth support further afield, for your planned home, birth centre or hospital birth, please scroll down the right-hand side column to find "Seeking a Midwife" and "Seeking a Doula". These private midwives and doulas are wonderful women who are an asset to your birth team. I suggest you chat with several and choose the person you feel most comfortable with.

Please feel free to email  or phone me if you are having any problems finding someone to support you through your pregnancy, birth and post-natal time. I have an email list of midwives and doulas who I recommend and who are available to take clients.

I would also like to introduce to you my new venture:

Blissful Herbs - nurturing herbs for body & soul.

This is a range of herbal bath sachets and herbal teas to add nurture and specialness to every phase of a woman's life cycle, from menarche to the child-bearing years to menopause.

The Post Natal Bliss bath herbs are especially awesome, I used them myself after Rory's birth, they speed the healing, feel so good and smell divine.



Please come and browse!



Also on this site are all kinds of articles and links to inform and support your child-bearing journey, which are free for you to access, print out, and share.

You can find me on Facebook here and here

Details about my doula services here

What does a doula actually do?

Here one of my clients answers the question


List of Blissful Herbs products

Blissful Herbs Facebook Page here

Herbs for Pregnancy

Mum's Tum herbal tea

Pregnancy Bliss herbal tea

Pregnant Mama Bliss bath herbs

Birth Vibes tea

GD Support tea - to help support healthy blood sugar levels during pregnancy

PIH Support tea - to help support healthy blood pressure during pregnancy

Mother Blessing footbath petals

Candida Blitz tea and bath herbs

VV-ease  tea and bath herbs - to ease variscoe veins, including vulval variscosities 

PUPPP-ease tea and bath herbs - to ease the itching and rash associated with PUPPP or PEOP.

Haemorrhoid Blitz bath & topical herbs, and Haemorrhoid Blitz Balm

Prep for Breastfeeding tea - with Goat's Rue and other herbs, for the last few weeks of pregnancy, to help support a plentiful milk supply after birth. Suitable for IGT.


Herbs for Birth

Birthing Bliss tea

Birth Boost tea - with Schisandra, to support stamina, endurance and courage during a long or challenging labour

After Birth tea

No Bleed tea

After Pain-ease tea - to help reduce the discomfort of afterpains following birth.



Umbilical Cord Ties - a lovely alternative to the plastic clips


Here is a montage of photos of mothers and babies enjoying their Post Natal Bliss herbal bath:

 

Herbs for the Post Partum

Post Natal Bliss bath & compress herbs

Pretty Petals to scatter on top of the herbal bath water

Soothing Salve - for the healing perineum, baby care, and nipple care

Babymoon Bliss tea

Baby Blues tea

After Pain-ease tea

Breastfeeding Bliss galactagogue tea and tincture

Sore Nipple Bliss topical herbs

Mastitis Blitz tea, compress herbs & ointment

Lotus Birth herbs - for the care of the Lotus Birth placenta. With Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Rose petals or any combination of your choice.

PPH Recovery tea - with iron-rich herbs.

Mother's Milk bath soak - to support relaxation, oxytocin and milk flow.

Colic-ease tea - carminative herbs for mother to drink to benefit the baby via the breastmilk, to ease wind and colic in baby.

Galactofuge tea - to reduce milk flow and help dry up supply. With Peppermint, Thyme, Sage etc



Mother Blessing Gift Packs - choose from $35, $50 and $65 kits

Birth Worker Kit $40 - everything you need for your client's birth:

* 100g Post Natal Bliss bath herbs & muslin bag
* 1 x Peri-Cleanse bottle
* 25g Birthing Bliss tea
* 15g After Birth Bliss tea
* 15g No Bleed tea
* 25g Babymoon Bliss tea
* 25g Breastfeeding Bliss tea



Herbs for Little Ones

Lullaby Bliss tea and bath herbs; Sleepytime Balm & Saving Grace Bedtime Cordial

Nappy Rash Blitz bath and topical herbs

Eczema Bliss bath and topical herbs

Soothe-a-fever bath herbs



Herbs for Pre Conception

TTC Bliss tea

Virilitea for men

TTC/PCOS Support tea

Yoni Bliss steaming herbs

Herbs for Pregnancy Loss

Pregnancy Loss Solace tea

The Carys Blend

Womb Love tea

Rest & Heal bath herbs

Good Grief tea



Herbs for the Moon Cycle

Moon Cycle Bliss tea

Moon Cycle Bliss PMS-ease tea

Moon Cycle Bliss Bleed-ease tea

Moon Cycle Bliss Cramp-ease tea

Moon Cycle Bliss bath herbs

Balanced Woman tea

Change of Life tea

Yoni Bliss steaming herbs



Herbs for Family Well-being

Cold & Flu Blitz tea

Immunity Bliss tea

Headache-ease tea

Hayfever Blitz tea

Breathe-ease tea - with anti-allergic, anti-spasmodic and expectorant actions to help ease coughing and support clear airways. 

Tummy Bliss tea


75g Tummy Bliss tea, $13.00
Image by Angela Gallo
Triple H tea - support for hiatus hernia and heartburn

Joint-ease tea and bath herbs

Sleepytime Bliss tea and balm

Eczema Blitz topical herbs

Skin Bliss tea

Acne Blitz topical herbs

Herbal Hair rinse

Balanced Weight herbal tea

Love Your Liver tea

Urinary Tract Support tea

Lymph-clease tea - with Cleavers, Astragalus and more, to support lymph flow and function

Mellow Mood / Mellow Mama relaxation bath herbs

Muscle-ease bath herbs

Anti-inflamm tea - with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions to nourish the musculo-skeletal system and promote healing after injury.

Haemorrhoid Blitz topical herbs, tea and balm

Candida Blitz tea and bath herbs

VV-ease - relief for variscose veins, including vulval.

Chillblain support tea and topical herbs

Lover's Bliss - with herbs reputed for their aphrodisiac virtues

Fit & Well herbal tea - rich in anti-oxidants to support optimal health

Detox Bliss - for cleansing and detox, and to ease cravings 

Fatigue Support tea - with adaptogens and nourishing herbs to provide stamina and relieve fatigue.



Herbs for Recovery

Healing Bliss tea

Anti-oxidant tea

Vitalitea



Herbs for Strength and Calm

Serenitea

Stress Less tea

Mood Lift tea

Energy Lift tea

Mood/Energy Lift tea

Brain Power tea

Centred Mama Bliss tea - to gently ease feelings of stress & anxiety

Good Grief tea 

Peace of Mind tea - herbal support for the nervous system and liver, to ease stress and anxiety, suitable for the non-pregnant.

F*** It All tea

For the bliss of tea
Mint Bliss
Citrus Bliss
Lemon & Ginger Bliss
Festive Chai
Blissful Chai
Aniseed Bliss
Spice of Life Culinary herbs - a delicious multi-purpose blend for the kitchen with 100% Australian Certified Organic herbs including Basil, Caraway, Cumin, Parsley, Oregano, Himalayan Pink Salt, Sage and Thyme.



Accessories

Bamboo strainer $8.50


Bamboo long-handled spoon $2.75


Re-usable beaded muslin tea bag $6.50



Pkt of 20 paper filter tea bags $3.00



Cleansing bottle $3.00

Muslin draw-string bath bags - small $1.50 / large $2.00


Soothing Salve - 15ml/$5.00; 30ml/$9.50 and 60ml/$16.50


Sassy Soap - all natural soaps $6.00 each


Henna Supplies



More details on all our products here

Getting the best from your herbal teas



Click here for Sales, News and Specials

Serenitea - organic herbal tea, safe for pregnancy, breastfeeding and children

This is a beautiful, gentle tea that is safe for the whole family. 

You can drink it during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and yes, your keen little toddler who wants to share Mummy's tea can safely partake, too. 

These nervine herbs nourish the nervous system and soothe away stress. 

This calming herbal tea helps support you as you cope with all the myriad challenges of life. 

Take a moment to rest & relax. 

75g Serenitea = 13.00


How to make your herbal tea:

Use hot water that is just off the boil to pour over the herbs. Let the tea steep for about 10 minutes.

Place a lid over the tea while steeping, to minimize loss of the volatile oils.

You can enjoy your tea hot, warm or chilled. I love this tea cooled and over ice with a twist of lemon and a drizzle of aguave. Mmmm!

The made-up tea may be stored in the refrigerator for approximately 2 days.


Your Serenitea organic herbal tea contains:

Chamomile – with carminative and gentle sedative effects to soothe the nerves.

Lavender – soothing for anxiety, irritability and exhaustion, eases headaches and lifts the mood.

Hibiscus – adds a rosy colour and tart fruity taste the tea; rich in Vitamin C and minerals.

Lemon Balm - a calming nervine herb useful for tension headaches and migraine.

Oatstraw – an excellent nervine tonic and restorative that nourishes and calms the nervous system, relieving anxiety.

Passionflower – a nervine with sedative and anxiolytic properties, which soothes the nervous system and eases stress and headaches.

Skullcap – a nervine tonic and restorative with tranquilising properties, eases anxiety and insomnia, reduces muscle tension and spasm.

The promise of quality: Blissful Herbs is genuinely committed to environmental care and sustainability. Your Blissful Herbs are 100% Australian Certified Organic and are not irradiated. They are packaged with post-consumer recycled paper and prepared in a facility using solar power.

Price options:

15 g tester, in 4 individual tea bags - 3.50

25 g packet - 5.00

50 g packet - 8.50

60 g packet - 10.00

75 g packet - 13.00

100 g packet - 16.00

150 g packet - 23.50

200g packet - 30.00

Postage is $8.00 Australia-wide, up to 500g gross weight.

How to order:

Email Julie at blissfulherbs@bigpond.com and include your postal address. 

I will respond with your total, a postage estimate and bank details and Paypal for payment.

Hi! I am Julie Bell, wise woman doula and wild heart herbalist. Email me at blissfulherbs@bigpond.com and I will get back to you as soon as can. Thanks for contacting Blissful Herbs. It's a pleasure to assist you.
Disclaimer: This information is of a general informational nature and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any health condition. Any health condition should be referred to your chosen health care practitioner. Check with your health care practitioner before commencing to use any herbal tea, and be aware of any personal and family allergies.

A Plague* on All Our Houses - how to beat the Dreaded Lurgy

It's that time of year again ... colds and coughs and flu and all kinds of nasty random viruses running amok, rendering whole households sick with fever, aches and pains, sore throats, lingering coughs, horrendous sinus infections and tsunamis of snot.

It's not fun - from the baby who can't stop crying and is so stuffed up she can't breathe properly and keeps coming off the breast - to the kids who end up taking days off school - to the Mums who end up crawling from couch to bed - to the Dads who end up home from work with the most dreaded malady of all: Man Flu!

So here are few strategies and remedies for boosting your family's immune systems and hopefully avoiding a round of the "Plague", and for alleviating the worst of the symptoms if hard times do dare come 'round your cabin door.

1. Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea. Grab some capsules from your Chemist. Be generous with the citrus fruit, berries and beauties like feijoyas. Add a bit of red meat to the menu for the Zinc, if you're an ominvore.

2. Active Manuka Honey. This stuff is awesome for sore throats and general immune-boosting properties. You can add it to herbal teas. There's also my herb-infused hone mel: Herbal Honey, with Sage, Thyme, Lavender, Oregano and Rose.


3. Elderberries (Sambuccus nigra). These delicious little berries, as well as being loaded with Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, have anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties as well. They are ideal to add to the pantry to prevent and treat influenza, the common cold and other acute viral infections. They have a delicious blackcurrant-type taste, which is handy when you want something that tastes great to convince unwell children to take. You can buy whole organic Elderberries from Blissful Herbs if you would like to make your own Elderberry Cordial (recipe here), or, we can post you a 200 ml bottle of this cordial for $20.00


This cordial is kid-friendly. They can take it right off the spoon, or you can add to it cold or hot water. Best idea ever - add natural gelatine for special "make you better" jelly or even gummy bears! Winner!

Next thing to have in your survive-the-plague arsenal:

4. Olive Leaf Extract. You can purchase this in liquid or capsule form. Olive Leaf Extract enhances immune system functioning and is helpful for the management of viral infections. Studies were able to establish that two of the constituents in the olive leaf are effective against viruses involved in influenza and other respiratory infection.

60g Cold & Flu Blitz tea, $10.00

5. Cold & Flu Blitz tea.
You're likely to find such herbal blends in Health Food Stores and some Pharmacies - or you can order from Blissful Herbs and we will post to you. We have this stuff on the go all day everyday if ever the "plague" should darken our door. Our Cold & Flu Blitz tea - made with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of Herbal Honey - is so soothing for a raw, inflamed throat, reduces fever and it's amazing - all our symptoms seem much less severe and recovery is quicker. We have kid-friendly, pregnancy-friendly and breastfeeding-friendly variations of this tea, so the whole family can partake. Even better - you can make a concentrated brew of the tea into gummy bears" just like the Elderberry cordial!


That's a turtle-shaped Cold & Flu tea gummy - with a bite taken out! Yum yum!
6. Healing soup or broth. Isn't it amazing how many cultures have variations of healing chicken soup? Chinese, Jewish, Russian, Indonesian and African cultures all have wonderful recipes and nourishing traditions based on this idea - and in each continent, locally available roots, berries, herbs and fungi are used to enhance the healing and immmune-boosting properties. Here is my own recipe for Love Soup. The healing roots within this recipe (Astragalus, Withania, Schisandra, Echinacea etc) may be purchased from Blissful Herbs.

7. Immunity Bliss herbal tea. Herbal medicine offers some super boosters for the immune system and I have blended some of these beauties into a delicious tea, which can be drunk all year round and especially when you or your loved ones need to enhance their own natural flu-fighting powers. This tea contains herbs such as Astragalus, Cat's Claw, Calendula, Echinacea, Lemongrass, Rosehip, Cornflower Petals and Siberian Ginseng.

8. The wonder-working power of medicinal mushrooms! Called mushrooms, but really fungi, the healing and strength-giving properties of these little beauties are quite under-estimated in the western world - but well understood throughout Asia. You can buy Shitake, Reishi, Cordyceps and Oyster mushrooms at Health Food Stores and Asian Groceries. We have Shitake on sale at our local IGA! They usually come dried, you soak them in warm water for a while, then they're easy to chop and add to any cooked dish. They don't have a strong taste so they're an easy add. You definitely want some of these on your pantry shelf during cold and flu season. As well as amazing immune-boosting properties, these 'shrooms are also wonderfully strength-giving and a great boon for fatigue, depletion and convalescence. You can also buy mushroom blends in powdered form and capsule form, such as the Mushroom 5 Complex by Herbs of Gold.

What else to have in the pantry during these testing times?

9. GARLIC! The humble Allium sativum is not just a pretty taste - it's also known as Nature's anti-biotic. Garlic contains the all-important allicin which has potent anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties. As well as boosting immunity and supporting the body to fight infection, it also modifies gut flora and so instructs us in the connection between healthy gut flora and a strong immune system. Use garlic liberally in your cooking - but choose locally grown organic if you can - and use it raw or nearly raw - add it at the END of cooking, rather than the beginning, to preserve the allicin - that good stuff that you want in your innards! If you are worried about garlic breath, there are many capsule formulations available, such as the Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract Immune Formula.

And this of course brings our attention to all the gut-healing strategies to have in our flu-fighting arsenal, such as:

10. Pro-biotics - a good quality one - and avoid chlorinated water while you're taking them (now's the time for a good filter if you don't already have one). Also: naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir and fermented fruit and vegetables - see this post for all the details on how to get your guts healed without breaking the bank balance.

Now while we're discussing fermenting stuff in jars and having curious-looking things percolating quietly away on the pantry shelf ..... have you ever heard of this:

11. The Master Tonic Some people swear by it. Can't hurt, huh. Give it a try and let me know!

12. Vitamin D This is vital for the immune system. We get less sunlight in the winter and what happens? We get sick. If you're prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, this may be an indication that you need to bolster your Vitamin D. Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D when it's at home) boosts cathelicidin, which is a naturally occuring broad-spectrum anti-biotic in the body (it is an anti-microbial polypepetide). Most moderns have sub-par Vitamin D levels. So we need to be copycats: literally - copy your cat! Notice how she's a heat-seeking missile for pools of winter sun. Make like a cat and bare your skin in the winter sun (coming in through a window is good - so you don't freeze to death ....) Also: if you can't sunbathe, get your mushrooms to do it for you. Let your mushrooms sit in the sun and soak up the Vitamin D before you use them. Yes, this is one way to up your Vitamin D levels! And of course, take a good quality Vitamin D capsule through the winter.

13. Herbal Medicine If you know a Naturopath or Herbalist (*waves*), they will be able to prepare you a tincture of liquid herbal medicine or extract (herbs extracted in alcohol or glycerin) specific to your needs. Excellent immune-boosting herbs we may select for you include Andrographis, Liquorice Root, Echinacea, Olive Leaf, Baptisia, Mullein, Elecampane, Adhatodha and Elder, depending on your symptoms and needs.You generally take 5 ml in a little water or juice, 3 times a day, or 7.5 ml twice daily.

(* Apologies to dear Mr Shakespeare .... I do realise it's meant to be, "A pox on all your houses". Just elaborating on a theme for the purposes of poetic license. I'm sure the Bard would understand).

References:

Bone K. (2007). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs. Missouri: Churchill Livingstone, 2003. Pages 352-5 Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: an evidence-based guide, 2nd ed. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Braun, L. & Cohen, M. (2011). Herbs & Natural Supplements (3rd edition). Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingston Elsevier.

Hechtman, L. (2011). Clinical naturopathic medicine. Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Ross, IA. Medicinal plants of the world, volume 3: Chemical constituents, traditional and modern medicinal uses. Humana Press Inc, 2005.


Roxas M, Jurenka J. Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical and nutritional considerations. Alt Med Rev 2007;12(1):25-48