Subject: Herbs for Breastfeeding
From: lpat.unixg.ubc.ca (Lois Patterson)
Date: 19 Aug 1995 00:41:01 -0700
The usual ones I've heard are sage to dry up milk (or ease engorgement), garlic to a lesser extent for the same purpose, and fenugreek to increase milk. Also, cabbage leaves in one's bra also serve either to dry up milk (or used sparingly) to ease engorgement.
What other herbs have a relationship to breastfeeding? Are there any which are not recommended during breastfeeding?
I do know that the most important aspect to breastfeeding is the supply/demand issue -- feeding the baby frequently and on request.
From: normanr.primenet.com (Sharon Rust)
> What other herbs have a relationship to breastfeeding? Are there any
Some of these uses are new to me, although I have heard of using salvia(sage) to dry up milk, I have not heard of using garlic or cabbage leaves for this purpose, usually both cabbage leaves and garlic are used for infections or plugged ducts, the garlic is taken internally and the cabbage leaves are used topically.
Other herbs to increase supply, galactagogues, blessed thistle (cnicus benedictus), fennel and fennel seeds, nettles, alfalfa, raspberry leaves, hops, borage leaves.
Herbs that would not be recomended in addition to sage; ma huang, yarrow,black walnut, cascara sagrada, castor oil, tansy. In general research the herb you want to be taking while you are nursing, if the plant is not recomended for use by children you should probably not take it, herbal substances as well as drugs go into breastmilk in different concentrations some of them go into breastmilk in higher concentrations, some in decreased amounts and some go into the milk at the same body level you get.
From: <100621.17.compuserve.com (Kevin Jones)>
>What other herbs have a relationship to breastfeeding? Are there any
For starters, Fennel can trigger milk release. The woman doesn't even have to have been pregnant. It's an old use and was used by wet nurses. It takes the brakes off the the release mechanism. However, a woman will lactate if the nipple(s) are sucked often and long enough. Another old trick was for a nurse to put a dab of goat or cows milk on the nipple to encourage the child to suck. After a while, and with some persistence the milk would be released. Again, it worked with women who had not been pregnant. It doesn't happen during lovemaking because the sucking isn't sufficiently persistent. The mechanism isn't well understood, as far as I know, but it's a reflex.
Do not use herbs like Cascara, Senna or related laxatives. The active compounds appear in the milk. You'll have a baby with the runs. Do not use any plant containing tropane alkaloids -Belladonna, Henbane, Thornapple or Mandrake. The alkaloids also turn up in the milk. Off the top of my head, I think Yohimbe is also contraindicated during lactation.
From: Gwendolyn Alden Dean <gdean.emory.edu>
Hops are usd traditionally to stimulate lactation but it's probably better to take them in some form other than beer, although that's been very popular.