Herbal medicine as its name indicates, is treatment by plants. It is the mixture of molecules found in plants that helps to counter symptoms or support certain body functions, such as breastfeeding.
Traditionally, medicinal plants are used in the form of herbal teas, infusions. Hot water is used to extract water-soluble molecules. The use of essential oils is strongly discouraged during the breastfeeding period.
If you’re thinking of using herbal medicine while breastfeeding, the fundamental question is first to know if the substances taken or applied to the skin will end up in the milk in one form or another. It is important to ensure that these substances do not pose a risk to the baby.
Medicinal plants that have a beneficial effect on lactation
Among the plants traditionally used to promote breastfeeding, fenugreek seed can have a positive effect on lactation when taken as 1.8 g in powder or infusion form once a day. Clinical studies indicate that after 21 days of breastfeeding, no adverse effects on babies are observed by a mother taking fenugreek in this form and at these doses. Another plant used to promote lactation is fennel fruit. In addition, fennel also aids digestion. The fruits of sweet fennel can be used in infants from birth.
Plants for the well-being of the breastfeeding mother
For successful breastfeeding, it is essential to take into account the mother’s well-being. The quality of sleep can be improved and stress reduced. Here, the plant traditionally used is passionflower, whose aerial parts are consumed as an infusion at a rate of 2 g of passionflower per intake, once a day. These are the doses at which you find the passion flower in the form of an aqueous extract in Calmosine Breastfeeding.
Séverine Derbré, pharmacist, lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Angers,
Extract from the symposium, CNSF (National College of SF), February 2018