The first time another mom asked me if I’d tried okra water during any of my pregnancies to help with labor, I know I looked at her like she was nuts. I’d never heard of such a thing. She said that she felt it was probably an old wives tale, so I did some investigating. Turns out that the concept of drinking okra water to ease the process of labor is a folk remedy used in different regions, world wide and has been around for quite some time. But is it legit or is it actually just an old wives tale?
- What is okra?
- What are the benefits of okra?
- Does okra water help with labor?
- Okra Water Recipe
Table of Contents
What is Okra?
Let’s start at the beginning. Not everyone is familiar with this wondrous vegetable (or fruit if you want to be botanical about it), especially if you’re from up North. If you’re into a good, classic gumbo, you’re no stranger to Okra and you know that these yummy seed pods are famous for their mucilaginous qualities – it’s slimy and great for thickening stews and soups. Okra contains antioxidants, vitamins such as A, B6, C and K, dietary fiber, magnesium and folate. Plus, because of its sliminess, it’s great for constipation and has been known to aid in gastrointestinal issues. And it’s pretty yummy breaded and air-fried too!
What is Okra Water?
Okra water is water that is made gelatinous by soaking Okra. Once the okra is removed, many of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants still remain, making this a powerhouse health drink. It has a similar consistency to pure aloe water/juice. It’s a little slick, a little slimy and while the texture might be difficult for some, it’s worth it for nutritional value alone.
What Does Okra Water Do?
So, what’s the big deal about this okra water anyway? Well, if word on the street is true, benefits of okra water range from inducing labor to easing contractions to increasing vaginal lubrication for a more slippery, thus easier birth. It’s supposed to speed the birthing process, reduce postpartum bleeding and alleviate pain. That all sounds great, right?
Are There Any Risks In Drinking Okra Water to Induce Labor?
- Unless you’re allergic to okra, and not many people are, okra water is considered safe and beneficial.
- Consuming it in mass quantities could lead to digestive discomfort, but that’s true of literally all food.
- In rare occurrences, okra can aggravate arthritis
- Talk to your doctor if you’re on blood thinners or diabetes medication since okra can interfere with their effectiveness
- If you get kidney stones, okra might increase the likelihood of getting them again
Does Okra Water Help With Labor?
While we really, really want to believe that okra water does all of the wonderful things that it’s said to do, there’s no scientific evidence supporting any of the benefits mentioned above. Yeah, we were just as bummed about this as you. However, there’s anecdotal evidence from women who have used Okra water and attribute it to faster labor and easier delivery.
Regardless of whether or not Okra water works for labor or not, it has a lot of nutritional benefits and we all know how important it is to nourish your body during pregnancy. So you can still make yourself a healthy drink and feel good about all those supportive vitamins and minerals.
How to make it:
Okra water can be made so many ways! You can drink it plain, just the okra and the water or you can add other fruits and veggies for a bit of flavor. Here’s my recipe:
If I’m feeling sassy, I’ll even add a bit of pasteurized cider vinegar and a bit more maple syrup, not a lot, just a bit. The vinegar gives it a fun little kick.
You could also add a bit of fruit juice, herbal teas, cucumbers or agave if you’re not excited about maple syrup. Some recipes have you boil and simmer the okra in the water first. I didn’t find this necessary, it was just fine without boiling it and boiling will decrease the nutritional value.
This drink can be super versatile and you have a lot of room to experiment here. Don’t you just love that?
If you want the benefits of okra but need some other alternatives, check out these 4 other ways to incorporate okra into your diet.
On one hand, we lament because the science just isn’t there to back up these incredible qualities that okra water supposedly possesses. On the other hand, can folk wisdom used for ages truly be completely inaccurate? We don’t know, but considering all the vitamins and minerals okra has, the fiber and other nutritional benefits, we really can’t go wrong. So even if it doesn’t work, you’re still benefiting from this nutritious drink. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, those old wives (you know, the one’s from the old wives tales) might know something that science just hasn’t caught onto yet. We can hope, can’t we?
Meghann Bernard is the health and wellness specialist and psychology professor at her local college. She is a certified health and wellness coach, certified yoga instructor, holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in both educational and health psychology. She, her husband and their four beautiful, spunky children live on a third generation farm in a small rural town and spend as much time outdoors as they can. Their favorite destinations for camping and hiking are the Adirondack and Thousand Islands areas. Meg has been writing since she was a child and is currently working on her third novel. She also enjoys playing violin, guitar, gardening, and her oldest son just taught her how to skateboard. She feels that being a parent is the most important and rewarding part of her life and after birthing four babies, she knows a thing or two about mom-ing. Best advice from one mom to another: when you become a parent, time starts moving in fast-forward. Before you know it, they’ll be grown and flown so enjoy every bit of time you have with them. It all happens so fast.