Herbs and Breastfeeding

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 breastfeeding

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)

tea and breastfeeding, herbs and breastfeeding

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

red raspberry, red-raspberry leaf
  • 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 diarrhea 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 More about the use of Fennel while breastfeeding. 

Herbs and Breastfeeding
Other Helpful Breastfeeding Herbs

  • Echinacea 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 your milk.
  • Olive leaf extract can be used as a natural antibiotic, that is safe to use if breastfeeding.
  • Hops flowers have 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

  • St. John’s wort: Should not be taken in conjunction with any other antidepressants.
  • Evening primrose oil.
  • Motherwort.
  • Blessed thistle. (Will also increase supply)

More about PPD here

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