Should I take herbs while I'm breastfeeding? (part 1)

Written by Dr. Georgia Tetlow, MD and edited by Clare Abercrombie, BS

I’ve had some patients recently ask me about taking botanicals during lactation so I decided to write up a short excerpt on the subject as a frame of reference.

As always, I invite you all to comment with your own personal knowledge and experience on this topic.

All my best,

Dr. G

Women around the world have traditionally relied upon herbal medicine to address specific concerns when they are lactating. Scientific evaluation has not been undertaken for the vast majority of these herbs but a number are often widely recommended. Herbs commonly mentioned in the herbal literature for enhancing the production of breast milk (lactagogues) include aniseed, borage, caraway seeds, cinnamon, comfrey, dill, fennel seeds, fenugreek, goat’s rue, marshmallow, milk thistle, blessed thistle, nettles, raspberry leaves, as well as chastetree. Aniseed, caraway seeds, cinnamon, dill, and fennel seeds are all aromatic spices that can be easily and safely added to foods. Raspberry, nettle, marshmallow and fenugreek are quite benign and can be consumed in tea by nursing mothers if they choose.

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