Herbs to increase milk supply

Herzl Family Practice Centre, Goldfarb Breastfeeding Clinic Patient handout

Many herbs and natural products have been used by mothers in various cultures, over the years, to increase breastmilk supply. Below are three common herbs. However, we recommend you consult a naturopath or herbalist before taking these products. Caution must be taken as herbs can cause side effects and interact with other pills.

Fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

  • 1500 to 1800 mg (in capsule form) 3 times a day with food.
  • Side effects are rare, but may include diarrhea, lowering of blood sugar and may make your asthma symptoms worse.
  • You may experience a maple-like or curry odour in your sweat, urine, and breastmilk. This means that the herb has reached an effective level in your body.
  • Take with caution if you have asthma, you are diabetic and taking hypoglycaemic medication (pills, insulin). Do not take with blood-thinning agents such as aspirin or warfarin (coumadin).

Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)

  • 900 to 1100 mg (in capsule form) 3 times a day with food, usually used to help fenugreek work.

Goat’s Rue (Galega officinalis)

  • 2-4 ml (or 20-40 drops) of tincture 2-3 times a day; or 1-4 capsules a day.
  • Useful in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) insufficient glandular tissue.
  • Can lower blood sugar levels and make you urinate more often. You can find these products at most natural health product stores and many pharmacies. They may work well when taken together, and/or with domperidone.

The information contained in this patient handout is a suggestion only, and is not a substitute for consultation with a health professional or lactation specialist. This handout is the property of the author(s) and the Goldfarb Breastfeeding Clinic. No part of this handout can be changed or modified without permission from the author and the Goldfarb Breastfeeding Clinic. This handout may be copied and distributed without further permission on the condition that it is not used in any context in which the International Code for the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is violated. For more information, please contact the Goldfarb Breastfeeding Clinic, Herzl Family Practice Centre, SMBD Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. © 2009