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Herbs to Avoid while Breastfeeding

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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.   [br]
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.[br]
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.[br]
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.[br]
Herbs to Avoid[br]
Alder Buckthorn    Rhamnus Frangula[br]
Alkanet    Alkanna tinctoria[br]
Aloe    Aloe barbadensis[br]
Basil    Ocimum basilicum[br]
Bearberry    Arctostaphylos Uva ursi[br]
Black cohosh    Cimifugia racemosa[br]
Bladderwrack    Fucus vesiculosus[br]
Borage    Borago officinalis[br]
Black cohosh    Cimifugia racemosa[br]
Bladderwrack    Fucus vesiculosus[br]
Blood Root    Sanguinaria canadensis[br]
Blue Cohosh      Caulophyllum thalictroides[br]
Bog Myrtle     Myrica gale[br]
Borage    Borago officinalis[br]
Buchu      Barosma betulina[br]
Bugelweed    Lycopus europaeus[br]
Butterbur    Petasites hybridus[br]
Cascara sagrada    Rhamnus purshiana[br]
Cat\'s Claw      Uncaria tormentosa[br]
Chaparral    Larrea tridentate[br]
Chinese Rhubarb,  Da Huang     
Rheum palmatum[br]
Cinchona bark    Cinchona spp.[br]
Coltsfoot leaf    Tussilago farfara[br]
Comfrey    Symphytum officinale[br]
Dong Quai    Angelica sinensis[br]
Elecampane    Imula helenium[br]
Ephedra/Ma Huang    Ephedra sinica[br]
Goldenseal    Hydrastis Canadensis[br]
Greater Celandine      Chelidonium majus[br]
Guarana    Paullinia cupana[br]
Jasmin flowers    Jasminum pubescens[br]
Joe-Pye weed    Eupatorium purpureum[br]
Kava Kava    Piper methysticum[br]
Indian snakeroot    Rauwolfia serpentine[br]
Licorice    Glycyrrhiza glabra[br]
Madder    Rubia tinctorum[br]
Male Fern    Dryopteris filix-mas[br]
Mayweed,    [br]
Stinking Mayweed      Anthemis cotula[br]
Mate    Ilex paraguayensis[br]
Parsley leaf    Petroselinum crispum[br]
Peppermint leaves    Mentha piperita[br]
Prickly Ash    Zanthoxylum americanum[br]
Pulsatilla plant    Anemone pulsatilla[br]
Rhubarb    Rheum palmatum[br]
Sage    Salvia officinalis[br]
Saw Palmetto      Serenoa repens, Sabal
Senna    Cassia spp.[br]
Spearmint leaves    Mentha spicata[br]
Tobacco    Nicotine tabacum[br]
Wintergreen    Gaultheria procumbens[br]
Wormwood    Artemis absinthium[br]
White Willow      Salix alba[br]
Yellow Dock      Rumex crispus[br]
Common Recommendations[br]
•    Avoid the pharmacologically active
herbal teas.  [br]
•    Drink any herbal teas only in
•    Limit intake of any herbal preparation
that combines several active ingredients.[br]
•    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.[br]
•    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.[br]
•    Be sure to check with your physician
before taking any natural remedy, since it could interact with other
medications you take or need.[br]
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.[br]
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.[br]
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.[br]


Good points. Its sad just how little respect modern society gives to herbal medicine. Most people aren't even aware that things like arsenic and aspirin are natural ingredients derived from the plant world.

I would think that it would be best to say that if you don't need to take an herbal remedy, then you shouldn't do so when planning to breast feed your infant. If on the other hand, you do need the herbal treatment, then some basic common sense needs to be used.

I would also like to remind the reader that some herbs can beneficially be passed on through breast milk. For instance when Tea drinking became common in 1800's london, the child mortality rate dropped because the anti biotic properties of black tea was passed along through the breast milk.

Again, simple common sense and you will be fine.