• midwife michele

Herbs For Lactation



*First things first, there are a limitless variety of concoctions for pregnant folks to be overwhelmed by. Every midwife and herbalist has their own special, often proprietary, blend of herbs or herbal remedies for their clients to steep and drink for lactation concerns and when/if lactation-related complications arise. Mine is no more or less special than the next one.*


How do we make and take herbal remedies? It is not difficult to make herbal remedies. The only truly difficult part is the waiting! Below are the simple and easy methods I have used for years for myself, my family, and my clients. I have also shared simple and easy dosing instructions, but it is strongly advised that you seek the guidance of your own personal healthcare provider to make sure these are appropriate for you.


Basic Preparations: – Tea – 2 teaspoons dried herbs per 8 ounces boiling water; steep 5-10 minutes – Infusion – 1 inch dried herbs in 1 quart canning jar; fill with boiling water; steep at least 2 hours (overnight is preferred) – Tincture – 1 inch dried herbs in 1 quart canning jar; fill with 100 proof vodka; steep at least 6 weeks (8-12 is preferred)


Basic Dosing: – Tea – three 8 ounce cups per day – Infusion – 1 quart per day – Tincture – 1 dropperful (approx 22 drops) in small amount of warm water held under tongue for 1-2 mins & then swallowed


What herbs are commonly used to support chest/breastfeeding and milk production? The following herbs listed are commonly used for supporting lactation. I have given both their common name and their Latin name to help with identification. I have also included reasons why the herbs are used (what their functions are).


Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) – high levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, b-vitamins, and high concentration of vitamin C; used for an all around nourishing addition to herbal infusions for chest/breastfeeding.


Nettle Leaf/Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) – very high levels of chlorophyll, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and trace minerals; used for allergies, asthma, hyPERtension, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, immunity boost, hair/scalp issues, UTIs, strengthens kidneys and adrenal glands, respiratory illnesses, blood purification, and all around nourishing additional to herbal infusions for chest/breastfeeding.


Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex agnus-castus)* – anodyne, emmenagogue, and galactagogue; used for regulating/supporting pituitary gland, normalising menstrual cycle, regulating hormones, menopause support, and increases milk production. *Can interfere with hormonal birth control and hormone replacement therapy drugs.


Fenugreek Seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum)* – contains phytoestrogens and diosgenin; increases milk production. *Can cause gas/colic for both parent and child in sensitive individuals. *Can also aggravated asthma symptoms and lowered blood glucose levels in diabetics.


Blessed Thistle Leaf/Flower/Stem (cnicus benedictus) – reduces anxiety and stimulates blood flow to the mammary glands.


Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare) – antispasmodic, antidepressant, antimicrobial, and rich in phytoestrogens; great for digestion, mild laxative, promotes lactation, hyPOthyroidism, morning sickness, amenorrhea, colic, and hyPERtension; best used in teas, infusions, or eaten; used for milk production and general lactation support.


Goat’s Rue Leaf (Galega officinalis)* – is believed to aid in building mammary tissue; used to increase milk production; Goat’s Rue is in the same plant family as Fenugreek. *Can cause gas/colic for both parent and child in sensitive individuals. *Can also aggravated asthma symptoms and lowered blood glucose levels in diabetics.


Hops Leaf/Flower/Stem (Humulus lupulus)* – sedative, regulated hormone production, and increases milk production.


What herbs are commonly used for reducing milk supply? The following herbs listed are commonly used for reducing milk supply. I have given both their common name and their Latin name to help with identification. I have also included reasons why the herbs are used (what their functions are).


Parsley (Fresh) Leaf/Stem (Petroselinum crispum) – has vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and iron; antibacterial, antirheumatic, diuretic, and emmenagogue; used for digestion, bringing on delayed menstrual cycle, and reducing milk supply.


Peppermint (Mentha piperita)* – reducing milk supply, aiding oversupply, and used during weaning. *contains menthol, which can cause diarrhea or skin irritations in sensitive infants.


Sage (Salvia officinalis) – contains natural estrogen; used to quickly reduce and if needed, completely diminish milk supply.


Sources Used: – Clinical Phytotherapy for Women’s Health, by C. Cabrera – The Book of Herbal Wisdom, by M. Wood – Medical Herbalism, by D. Hoffmann – Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy and Lactation: An Evidence-Based Approach, by E. Mills et al – Herbs and Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide (3rd edition, 2010), by L. Braun and M. Cohen – The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants, by M. Wood – The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants, by M. Wood – Erin Walker, Midwife and Herbalist – Family wisdom passed from elders down to me


{Disclaimer: Educational purposes only. This information is NOT medical advice or meant to diagnose or treat an illness. If you have questions or concerns, please seek the advisement of a physician, naturopath, or herbalist before using any herbal preparation for yourself or your family.}


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