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Herbs to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 5 views
by Postpartum Wellness
 

Breast feeding mothers need to take extra care when taking herbals even though herbs are natural, they are not always safe, especially while nursing.  Components in herbs may be passed through breast milk and ingested by a nursing baby just as easily like the foods we eat and the medicines we take. 

Many herbals contain ingredients that have effects similar to certain medications that pass through the breast milk and potentially could be dangerous to a nursing infant.  Because the effect and concentration of different herbs found in teas, liquids, pills, and food supplements may vary, breastfeeding mothers should be cautious and selective in their use of any herbal preparations.

Herbs occur in natural form therefore the amount of an active ingredient may vary from leaf-to-leaf or from plant-to-plant.  New mothers should be aware of herbs that are safe (and maybe even beneficial) while breastfeeding, and what herbs should be avoided.

Below is a common list of well-known herbs to avoid during breast feeding because they contain constituents that may be harmful to the mother or baby. Other herbs should be avoided because they are can decrease the supply of breast milk.

Herbs to Avoid

Alder Buckthorn

Rhamnus Frangula

Alkanet

Alkanna tinctoria

Aloe

Aloe barbadensis

Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Bearberry

Arctostaphylos Uva ursi

Black cohosh

Cimifugia racemosa

Bladderwrack

Fucus vesiculosus

Borage

Borago officinalis

Black cohosh

Cimifugia racemosa

Bladderwrack

Fucus vesiculosus

Blood Root

Sanguinaria canadensis

Blue Cohosh

Caulophyllum thalictroides

Bog Myrtle

Myrica gale

Borage

Borago officinalis

Buchu

Barosma betulina

Bugelweed

Lycopus europaeus

Butterbur

Petasites hybridus

Cascara sagrada

Rhamnus purshiana

Cat's Claw

Uncaria tormentosa

Chaparral

Larrea tridentate

Chinese Rhubarb,  Da Huang

Rheum palmatum

Cinchona bark

Cinchona spp.

Coltsfoot leaf

Tussilago farfara

Comfrey

Symphytum officinale

Dong Quai

Angelica sinensis

Elecampane

Imula helenium

Ephedra/Ma Huang

Ephedra sinica

Goldenseal

Hydrastis Canadensis

Greater Celandine

Chelidonium majus

Guarana

Paullinia cupana

Jasmin flowers

Jasminum pubescens

Joe-Pye weed

Eupatorium purpureum

Kava Kava

Piper methysticum

Indian snakeroot

Rauwolfia serpentine

Licorice

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Madder

Rubia tinctorum

Male Fern

Dryopteris filix-mas

Mayweed,  

Stinking Mayweed

Anthemis cotula

Mate

Ilex paraguayensis

Parsley leaf

Petroselinum crispum

Peppermint leaves

Mentha piperita

Prickly Ash

Zanthoxylum americanum

Pulsatilla plant

Anemone pulsatilla

Rhubarb

Rheum palmatum

Sage

Salvia officinalis

Saw Palmetto

Serenoa repens, Sabal serrulata

Senna

Cassia spp.

Spearmint leaves

Mentha spicata

Tobacco

Nicotine tabacum

Wintergreen

Gaultheria procumbens

Wormwood

Artemis absinthium

White Willow

Salix alba

Yellow Dock

Rumex crispus

 

Common Recommendations

  • Avoid the pharmacologically active herbal teas.
  • Drink any herbal teas only in moderation.
  • Limit intake of any herbal preparation that combines several active ingredients.
  • Always check the label. Even vitamins and simple Echinacea may contain herbs that should not be used by breastfeeding mothers, such as ginkgo or ginseng.
  • Use only brands that have ingredients clearly marked on the label, as well as the expiration date and the name of the manufacturer and distributor.
  • Be sure to check with your physician before taking any natural remedy, since it could interact with other medications you take or need.

Always ask your doctor, your child's pediatrician, or a certified lactation consultant before adding any herb or medication to your diet or treatment plan. Herbs can be powerful medicines and should not be used frivolously or unnecessarily, especially if you are breastfeeding a child. However, with careful consideration of all options, you may find that taking an herbal supplement while breastfeeding is a perfectly safe and legitimate option for your own situation.

 

 


 

Disclaimer

The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care.

Sources

The articles and information included on this website are a blend of excerpts from books, internet research and other periodicals that I found interesting and useful during my research.

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