Herbs and Breastfeeding - Lactation, Mastitis & Weaning

Most herbs are acceptable for use during breastfeeding, but a mother should be cautious about herbs that contain alkaloids. The nourishing qualities of these plants and herbs are amazing and have been used for centuries by breastfeeding mothers around the world.

herbs and breastfeeding, holding herbs

Herbs and Breastfeeding Safety

Most herbs are acceptable for use during breastfeeding, but a mother should be cautious about herbs that contain alkaloids.

The nourishing qualities of these plants and herbs are amazing and have been used for centuries by breastfeeding mothers worldwide. Always consult your doctor before taking any of the herbs mentioned on this page.

Table of Contents

Herbs That Decrease Breast Milk Supply

Oregano, Parsley, and large amounts of Peppermint, menthol, and spearmint. Sage (used for weaning or healing mastitis), Sorrel, Thyme, Chickweed, Periwinkle, and Cocoa. (Not a complete list)

Dangerous Herbs While Breastfeeding

Some herbs that may harm your baby via the breast milk

Rhubarb root, Evodia, Star anise, Sophora root, Ginseng, Bladderwrack, Angelica Root, Indian Snakeroot, Wormwood, Coltsfoot, Chaparral, Petasites root, Ginkgo, Kava, Valerian, Coptis, Aloe, Senna, Borrage, Licorice, Basil, Ephedra and Rue. (Not a complete list)

baby and mother

Safe to Drink While Breastfeeding

Herbal Teas that are safe to drink for mothers who breastfeed

  • Celestial Seasonings is a good make that lists all ingredients.
  • Avoid pharmacologically active herbal teas.
  • Orange cinnamon, Lemon lift, Raspberry tea, and Rose hips - contain a lot of Vitamin C.
  • Chai tea

Lactation Herbs for Increasing Breastfeeding Milk Supply

  • Galactagogues are those herbs that establish and promote the flow of the mother's milk.
  • The fenugreek herb: Fenugreek is safe for those who do not have low blood sugar levels. It may cause colic, stomach upset, and diarrhea in some babies. Fenugreek milk produced can sometimes smell and taste like maple syrup.
  • Blessed thistle herb.
  • The herb milk thistle should be taken in moderate amounts.
  • Fennel should be taken in small quantities. More about the use of Fennel while breastfeeding.
  • Raspberry leaf herbs increase milk supply and are very subtle.
  • Goat's rue is excellent for lactation and is widely used worldwide.
  • Brewer's yeast.
  • Marshmallow root.
  • Anise seed.
  • Alfalfa.
  • Nettle tea. Nettle leaf breastfeeding tea recipe below.
  • Hops flowers.
  • Mother's milk tea: Can be taken four times daily. Mother milk tea contains fenugreek, Fennel, and blessed thistle.

Other Helpful Breastfeeding Herbs

  • Echinacea for colds and flu; to boost your immune system and to heal breast infections.
  • Phytolacca Decandra helps heal breast infections, mastitis, and cracked nipples.
  • Calendula cream can be applied topically for Cracked or bleeding nipples.
  • Garlic will increase your baby’s appetite by improving the taste of your milk.
  • Olive leaf extract can be used as a natural antibiotic that is safe to use if breastfeeding.
  • Hops flowers have calming properties but also promote increased milk production.

Overall Healthy Herbal Tonics for Breastfeeding Mothers

Herbal drinks that will revitalize you and give you strength for breastfeeding

  • Get together equal quantities (about a handful each) of Nettle leaves (gives you energy), Oatsraw (high in calcium), and Red Raspberry leaves (great for milk supply).
  • Put them in a jar (1 quart). Fill with boiling water, cover, and steep for four hours.
  • Strain and drink (you can mix with fruit juice to taste).

Herbs for Weaning and Oversupply

Herb Robert, Red sage, Garden mint, and Periwinkle.

Mastitis Herbs

Herbs that help heal mastitis.

  • Cleavers: Keeps the swelling down (40 drops in warm water every three hours).
  • Calendula: Drink one cup every four hours for drainage of lymph fluids.
  • Echinacea root: Fights the infection like an antibiotic.
  • Prickly ash: Increases your immunity against mastitis.

Herbs During Pregnancy

Herbs during pregnancy that are safe

Red raspberry leaf, Blessed thistle, Fenugreek, Nettle leaf (rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron)

Nettle leaf decreases the risk of piles during pregnancy.

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Herbs That Are Safe for Depression

  • St. John’s wort: Should not be taken in conjunction with other antidepressants.
  • Evening primrose oil.
  • Motherwort.
  • Blessed thistle. (Will also increase supply)

Nettle Leaf Breastfeeding Tea Recipe


  • 1 ounce dried nettle leaf
  • 8 cups of water
  • Honey or lemon to taste (optional)


  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add 1 ounce of dried nettle leaf to the water.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and let the tea simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and strain the tea into a heatproof container.
  5. Let the tea cool down and sweeten it with honey or lemon to taste, if desired.
  6. Drink up to 3 cups per day.

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