Lately there has been a lot of news about the benefits of breastfeeding for the mom and the baby. Although there can be several factors contributing to breastfeeding problems, drinking certain herbal teas can have milk-boosting effects for many women. As always, talk with your doctor before using any herbal supplement.
Fenugreek is a an herb native to the Mediterranean. The ancient Egyptians used it medicinally as early as 1500 B.C. for a variety of ailments. Today’s experts have concluded that Fenugreek helps breastfeeding mothers increase milk supply by providing their bodies with phytoestrogens, a chemical compound similar to estrogen. Some mothers can experience increased lactation with 24 hours.
Steeping: Add a teaspoon for each cup of boiling water. Leave it to steep for 5-10 minutes.
Also native to the fertile crescent, fennel seeds are rich in important volatile oil compounds like anethole, fenchone and estragole. Although more research needs to be done to determine if fennel actually increases milk supply, a study published in 2003 reported that use of fennel extract eliminated colic in 65 percent of infants.
Steeping: Add a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water. Leave to steep for 5-10 minutes.
Cultivated by the Egyptians for at least 4,000 years ago, anise has since been used as a galactagogue due to its high phytoestrogen content. is a substance that promotes lactation in humans and other animals. Even though Anise is “generally recognized as safe” by the US Food and Drug Administration, excessive use of anise and other herbs can cause toxicity in breastfed newborn.
Steeping: Add a teaspoon of crushed anise seeds in a cup of boiling water. Leave to steep for 5-10 minutes.
Another native herb of the Mediterranean, Milk Thistle is considered a galactagogue and contains the antioxidant silymarin which is used in traditional Chinese medicine to clear heat and relieve toxic material. NYU’s Langone Medical Center has concluded that Milk Thistle is safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Steeping: Add a teaspoon of crushed milk thistle seeds in a cup of boiling water. Leave to steep for 10 minutes.
Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” -Ezekiel 47:12