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---B:Herbs to avoid while breastfeeding---

Posted by on Feb. 6, 2016 at 10:31 AM
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Herbs to avoid while breastfeeding

By Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC

Herbs that may decrease milk supply

Using large amounts of the following herbs and other natural remedies should be avoided while nursing because they have been known to decrease milk supply. The amounts of these herbs normally used in cooking are unlikely to be of concern; it’s mainly the larger amounts that might be used therapeutically that could pose a problem. However, some moms have noticed a decrease in supply after eating things like dressing with lots of sage, sage tea (often recommended when moms are weaning), lots of strong peppermint candies or menthol cough drops, or other foods/teas with large amounts of the particular herb. These herbs are sometimes used by nursing mothers to treat oversupply, or when weaning.

  • Black Walnut
  • Chickweed
  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol
  • Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Herbs that may be harmful to mom and/or baby

Other herbs should be avoided while nursing due to their potential for harming mom and/or baby. Here are a few herbs that are generally considered to be contraindicated for nursing mothers. This is by no means a complete list.

  • Bladderwrack
  • Buckthorn
  • Chaparral
  • Coltsfoot (Farfarae folium)
  • Dong Quai (Angelica Root)
  • Elecampane
  • Ephedra / Ephedra sinica / Ma Huang
  • Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
  • Indian Snakeroot
  • Kava-kava (piper methysticum)
  • Petasites root
  • Phen-fen, herbal
  • Rhubarb
  • Star anise
  • Tiratricol (TRIAC)
  • Uva Ursi
  • Wormwood

Additional Information

Hidden Hindrances to a Healthy Milk Supply by Becky Flora, IBCLC

Too much milk: Sage and other Herbs (this website)

Birth control pills are also well known for decreasing milk supply, particularly the ones that contain estrogen.

Sudafed (a decongestant) can also decrease milk supply, particularly with regular use.

Individual herb listings (this website)

Disclaimer: Most herbal treatments have not been thoroughly researched, particularly in regard to lactation. Herbs are drugs, and some caution is necessary. I am presenting this data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and am not liable for its accuracy nor for any loss or damage caused by a user’s reliance on this information

by on Feb. 6, 2016 at 10:31 AM
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by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2016 at 10:33 AM

More about Milk Supply

Posted on August 24, 2011 by

This mamma has plenty of milk.

This mamma has plenty of milk.

You probably already know that certain foods and herbs can increase milk supply. Oatmeal, fenugreek* and blessed thistle* and many others all have a reputation for helping mothers overflow with milk.

But many people don't know that some foods can actually decrease milk production. There is no need to worry about small amounts of any of the following foods, but if you're struggling with low milk supply already, avoid ingesting large quantities of the following. On the other hand, if you are one of those mothers with an over-abundance of milk, or if you are in the process of weaning, you may find the following foods helpful! 

Parsley is a diuretic. Nibbling on a sprig of parsley after a meal tastes refreshing and will not harm your milk supply. You may wish to avoid dishes with large amounts of parsley, however, if you are breastfeeding and you are concerned about milk production. One dish to avoid in the immediate postpartum period is tabouleh. Once your supply is established and everything is going well, and occasional plate of tabouleh is probably OK.

Peppermint and spearmint can adversely affect milk supply. Drinking an occasional cup of peppermint tea should not be a problem. You'd have to drink very large amounts daily to decrease your supply. Altoids and other candies made from peppermint oil are a different story. Mothers who enjoy many of these candies each day have noticed a drop in milk production.

Sage and oregano can negatively impact milk production. Sage tea is a common remedy for over-production.

The topical application of cabbage leaves. Cabbage can work wonders to relieve breast engorgement, but don't over-do it! Applying cabbage more than once or twice a day can decrease your milk supply. Topical creams made from cabbage extract can have the same effect.

Beer and other alcoholic beverages are often touted as milk-supply boosters. "Have a beer! It will help you relax and make your milk come in." Have you heard that one? It is absolutely false! In fact, alcohol inhibits your milk ejection (let down) reflex. This makes it harder for baby to get your milk. Over time, this can decrease your milk supply. Is an occasional drink ok? Yes! Just be sure to have that drink after you have fed your baby.

*Please seek the advice of a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) before experimenting with ANY herbs to help with milk supply issues. Herbs are medicines and many have potential side effects and even can cause severe allergic reactions. In addition, it is important to understand the history and underlying cause of your particular situation in order for any treatment to be effective.

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Herbs and Breastfeeding Safety

Most herbs are acceptable for use during breastfeeding, but a mother should be cautious about herbs that contain alkaloids.

The nourishing qualities of these plants and herbs are amazing, and have been used for centuries by breastfeeding mothers around the world. 

Table of Contents

Herbs and breast feeding information

Herbs that Decrease Breast Milk Supply

Oregano, Parsley, Peppermint, menthol and spearmint, Sage (which is actually used for weaning or for healing mastitis), Sorrel, Thyme, Chickweed, Periwinkle and Cocoa. (Not a complete list)

Dangerous Herbs while Breastfeeding

Some herbs that can harm the baby via the breast milk

Rhubarb root, Evodia, Star anise, Sophora root, Ginseng, Bladderwrack, Angelica Root, Indian Snakeroot, Wormwood, Coltsfoot, Chaparral, Petasites root, Ginkgo, Kava, Valerian, Coptis, Aloe, Senna, Borrage, Licorice, Basil, Ephedra and Rue. (Not a complete list)

Safe to Drink while Breastfeeding

Herbal Teas that are safe to drink for mothers who breastfeed

  • Celestial Seasonings is a good make, that lists all ingredients. 
  • Avoid the pharmacologically active herbal teas.
  • Orange cinnamon, Lemon lift, Raspberry tea, Rose hips - contains a lot of Vitamin C.

Lactation Herbs for Increasing Breastfeeding Milk Supply

  • Galactagogues are those herbs that establish and promote the flow of the mother's milk.
  • The fenugreek herb: Fenugreek is safe for those who do not have low blood sugar levels. It may cause colic, stomach upset and diarrhoea in some babies. Fenugreek milk produced, can sometimes smell and taste like maple syrup. 
  • Blessed thistle herb.
  • The herb milk thistle should be taken in moderate amounts.
  • Fennel should be taken in small quantities. Read more about the use of Fennel while breastfeeding. 
    • Raspberry leaf herbs increase milk supply, and are very subtle.
    • Goat's rue is great for lactation and is widely used around the world.
    • Brewer's yeast.
    • Anise seed.
    • Alfalfa.
    • Nettle tea.
    • Hops flowers.
    • Mothers milk tea: Can be taken 4 times daily. Mother milk tea contains fenugreek, fennel and blessed thistle.

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2016 at 1:06 PM


Herbs and Breastfeeding
Other Helpful Breastfeeding Herbs

  • Enchinacea for colds and flu; to boost your immune system and to heal breast infections.
  • Phytolacca Decandra helps heal breast infections, mastitis and cracked nipples.
  • Calendula cream can be applied topically for Cracked or bleeding nipples.
  • Garlic will increase your baby's appetite, by improving the taste of the your milk.
  • Olive leaf extract can be used as a natural antibiotic, that is safe to use if breastfeeding.
  • Hops flowers has calming properties, but also promotes increased milk production.

Overall Healthy Herbal Tonics for Breastfeeding Mothers

Herbal drinks that will revitalize you, and give you strength for breastfeeding

  • Get together equal quantities (about a handful each) of Nettle leaves (gives you energy), Oatsraw (high in calcium) and Red Raspberry leaves (great for milk supply).
  • Put them in a jar (1 quart) Fill with boiling water, cover and seep for four hours.
  • Strain and drink (you can mix with fruit juice to taste).

Herbs for Weaning and Oversupply

Herb Robert, Red sage, Garden mint and Periwinkle.

Mastitis Herbs

Herbs that help heal mastitis

  • Cleavers: Keeps the swelling down (40 drops in warm water every three hours).
  • Calendula: Drink one cup every four hours, for drainage of lymph fluids.
  • Echinacea root: Fights the infection like an antibiotic.
  • Prickly ash: Increases your immunity against mastitis.

Herbs During Pregnancy

Herbs during pregnancy that are safe

Red raspberry leaf, Blessed thistle, Fenugreek, Nettle leaf (rich in calcium, magnesium and iron)

Nettle leaf decreases the risk of piles during pregnancy.

Herbs and Depression
Safe while Breastfeeding

More about PPD here


Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with herbs and nursing

- Low milk supply

- Fenugreek breastfeeding

- Lactogenic foods

- Breastfeeding Thrush

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