Herbs and Breastfeeding: References

Most herbal treatments have not been thoroughly researched, particularly in regard to lactation. Herbs are drugs, and some caution is necessary. It is possible for anyone (mother or baby) to have an allergic reaction to just about anything. Watch your baby closely for any adverse reactions if you take any herb or medicine.

Following are references (both web pages and print) on herbs and breastfeeding.

Herbs and Breastfeeding

Conover E, Buehler BA. Use of herbal agents by breastfeeding women may affect infants. Pediatr Ann. 2004 Apr;33(4):235-40.

Sheila Humphry Bsc, RN and Dennis J. McKenna, PhD. Herbs and Breastfeeding Breastfeeding Abstracts: November 1997, Vol 17 pp 11-12.

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Frank Nice, DPA, CPHP, Raymond J. Coghlan, Pharm.D. and Brian T. Birmingham, Pharm.D. Herbals and Breastfeeding. U.S. Pharmacist: September 2000, Vol. 25:9

Ruth A. Lawrence, MD. Herbs and Breastfeeding, from the Breastfeeding.com website

Increasing Milk Supply by Cheryl Taylor White (discusses herbal galactagogues)

List of Galactagogues from herblore.com

Breastfeeding Pharmacology is the web site of Thomas Hale, Ph.D. Dr. Hale is a renowned Breastfeeding Pharmacologist and the author of Medications and Mothers’ Milk.

Lactnet archive search LACTNET is an email list for sharing professional information regarding lactation and case management. A search of the archives is one way to find info on herbs (but you should check the sources of the information you get before using it).

The University of Rochester Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center (585-275-0088) maintains a database of drugs and medications and provides free information to physicians on their use and effects during breastfeeding. Ruth A. Lawrence, MD is the Director of the center.

Herbs, General Information

American Botanical Council online publications

Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Holistic Online Herb Directory

Herbal information from WebMD

Materia Medica by Sharol Tilgner, ND

The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D.

Raintree Tropical Plant Database

O’Hara M, Kiefer D, Farrell K, Kemper K. A review of 12 commonly used medicinal herbs. Arch Fam Med. 1998 Nov-Dec;7(6):523-36.

Christopher Hobbs – The Virtual Herbal


Southwest School of Botanical Medicine


Dr. Jim Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s GRAS list (more about Generally Recognized As Safe)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Info on Dietary Supplements

Warnings and Safety Information from the United States Food & Drug Administration

National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements

International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS) This is a database of published, international, scientific literature on dietary supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and botanicals. IBIDS is produced by the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health.

Motherlove herbal company has some very good FAQs and herbal information for pregnant and nursing women.

Thomas Schoepke Plant Image Gallery

Books and Print Articles

Humphrey, Sheila. The Nursing Mother’s Herbal. Minneapolis: Fairview Press, 2003.

Hale, Thomas. Medications and Mothers’ Milk, 12th Edition. Pharmasoft Medical Publishing, 2006.

Briggs, Gerald G., Roger K. Freeman, and Sumner J Yaffe. Drugs in Pregnancy & Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal & Neonatal Risk, 7th Edition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2005.

Paul Fleiss, MD. “Herbal Remedies For The Breastfeeding Mother” Mothering. 1988: Summer 68-71

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed

Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A Handbook for Practice on a Scientific Basis. Medpharm Scientific Publishers (Stuttgart 1994)/CRC Press(Boca Raton). Norman Grainger Bisset. ISBN 0-8493-7192-9 (CRC Press). This is the English edition. You can purchase this from the American Pharmaceutical Association at 202-628-4410.

Lawrence R, Lawrence R. Breastfeeding, A Guide for the Medical Professional, 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Mosby, 2005.

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