For many women, especially while breastfeeding, herbal medicine may pose as a good alternative to conventional therapies. Despite the prevalence of the use of herbs during postpartum and lactation, there is very little published evidence with regards to their safety and efficacy. Just because some things are “more natural,” does not mean that these products are devoid of potential side effects or interactions with other medications. In fact, without the appropriate information, there can be a significant safety risk for both mom and baby.
In our technological age, it can be difficult to discern what information to believe and what herbs have thorough research to support their recommendations for use. The following list of herbal medicines during lactation has been developed after careful grading of quality of evidence supporting the use or disuse of these herbs. The information has been drawn from all available studies in this area.
Herbal Medicine Safety Scale:
Evening Primrose Oil
St. John’s Wort
(Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy & Lactation: an evidence-based approach, 2006.)
Note: It is important to have your health care provider or pharmacist check for any possible interactions between medications and natural health products prior to using them.
Mills, E., Duguoa, JJ., Perri, D., Koren, G. Herbal Medicine in Pregnancy and Lactation: an evidence-based approach. 2006.