Birthowl’s natural childbirth

Galactagogue Herbs: enhancing milk supply naturally
Alfalfa- medicago sativa


Alfalfa is used to increase appetite, vitality and to help with water retention. It is high in various nutrients, high in protein, and contains vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, E, K1 along with minerals calcium potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. It is a good pregnancy herb. many midwives and lactation consultants suggest about 2-4 grams daily. There are rare reports of allergic reaction and sprouts are not to be used by those with SLE (Lupus). It is also a great blood builder.

Anise- pimpinella anisum

Anise is a wonderful anti-spasmodic and is great for the woman with a colicky baby or one with heartburn. It is not for use in pregnancy.



Blessed thistleCnicus Benedictus

Blessed Thistle is a wonderful herb for helping milk supply; in many uses it is combined with fenugreek. This bristly herb also modifies hormone levels and can also be used alone.


Black cohosh cimicifuga rasemosa


Black Cohosh is used herbally and homeopathically. Modifies estrogen levels and helps with oxytocin levels. This herb is used to aid in labor and delivery, and to make the labor easier. In modifying oxytocin it aids in the milk ejection reflex. Oxytocin is responsible for uterine contractions and the contractions in breast with MER. It s anti spasmodic and used with menstrual cramps. Black cohosh is used to treat symptoms of PMS and in other folk remedies is that it is used for rattlesnake bites. 1ml tincture 3x daily. Not for use in early pregnancy as it is a known abortificient. Use with guidance from a qualified practitioner.


Borage- borago officinales

Borage leaves can be eaten as greens and mixed with collards and mustards. However there is controversy as borage leave contains pyrozoloid alkaloids, and large amounts of this constituent can cause liver damage. however in my research it seems that most agree that the seed oil has so little of the PA’s that the oil is safe. The flowers are also safe and edible. It is used a restorative to the adrenal cortex and the flowers are said to be an aid in treating depression. The oil is rich in the omega 3 fatty acids needed to enrich milk for brain growth. it is also used in the last weeks of pregnancy to help in perineal massage or to soften cervix. Usual dose is 1000mg (1 gm) daily.


Caraway– Carum carviifor

Caraway seeds are used when a woman has muscle spasms, in back, neck and breasts. Caraway contains a substance which seems to relax the muscles in the breasts and improve let down.


Dandeliontaraxacum officionale

Dandelion leaves and root have been used for generations to treat liver, gallbladder and kidney aliments. Them leaves are traditionally used as a diuretic. It is loaded with calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and k that it helps with women post birth to recover their vitality quickly.


Dill– Anethum graveolens

Dill is reported to be antispasmodic, duretic, anti-flatulent, and galactagogue. It is used in “gripe water’ remedies for colic in infant. the oil and tea has been used to use its antifoaming action and as an appetite stimulant. The seeds have been chewed to help with bad breath. Dill is an emmenagogue so only use food doses in pregnancy. It does well in tea to aid a milk supply, usually 2-3 cups are taken daily.


Evening Primrose Oil- Onethera Biennis

Evening Primrose oil it is a seed oil that is used medicinally . EPO contains gamma lenoleic and gamma lenolenic acids- necessary for brain growth and good for skin conditions. it relieves menopausal discomforts and PMS. it seems to control psoriasis and thrombosis. In lactation it is used to actually enrich mothers milk that seems to be low in fat.

FennelFoeniculum vulgare

Fennel seed’s general actions include those of a circulatory stimulant, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, galactagogue and anti-spasmodic. These particular reasons make it a good milk aid. It is also used in many colic remedies. In low doses this can be used for heartburn in pregnancy but large doses are toxic and an emmenagogue. This can be used in tincture or tea.

Fenugreek– trigonella graceum foecus

This herb is a standard among lactation consultants. It is diaphoretic, galactagogue, stomachic, anti- diabetic mucilaginous herb. This herb is used in flavoring maple syrup, and Indian curries. Fenugreek is used in many mother’s milk teas and is used as a poultice for mastitis. The dose is safe up to 6 grams per day and if using on a regular basis, moms report their skin can smell somewhat like maple syrup, but the babies do not seem to mind. Many lactation professionals will mix this with blessed thistle. If you have diabetes or are hypoglycemic use with caution, It does not replace insulin therapy. In studies done with diabetics fenugreek also reduces cholesterol level. This herb is also an emmenagogue and not to be used during pregnancy as it can cause contractions.

Goat’s rue- Galega officianalis

is a wonderful herb for milk supply and is safe to use if you are tandem nursing or are pregnant and needing to develop more breast ductal tissue. This herb is a galactagogue, diuretic, diaphoretic and it reduces blood glucose levels. So be cautious if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic. it does not replace insulin therapy. Animal studies show that this herb can increase milk supply up to 50 percent.

Hops- Humulus lupulus

Hops helps with some supply issues, but is actually a relaxant and assists with the milk ejection reflex. The strobiles can be eaten as a vegetable. Hops is a milk tonic and a mild sedative and muscle relaxer. The estrogen content is the reason for its increase in lactation, however it should NOT be used if there is or has been a history of depression. Usual dose is 2 -350 mg 3x daily.

Marshmallow root althea officianalis
The Marshmallow leaves are used to heal bronchial and urinary tract irritations. It is very mucilaginous and the root are use as expectorant, used to heal wounds, such as burns and boils and heal peptic ulcers and hiatal hernia. It is good in minute doses for babes for reflux. It is used to heal mastitis as well. Marshmallow may slow the absorption of other medications. Tincture or tea can be used. 1 cup of tea 3 times daily or tincture 3ml 3-4 times daily.

Milk Thistle- silbanum marianum.

The entire plant is edible and aids in digestion. Many people use this herb for liver protection from all type of toxins from cadmium to death-cap mushrooms. The leaves are used to increase milk supply. It is also protectant of the heart. Seeds should only be used by qualified practitioners. Many midwives use this on infants in just a few drops to help with jaundice. To build milk supply the herb moderates estrogen levels. It is good for PMS symptoms as well.Usual dosage is 1 gram daily in 2 doses.

Nettles- Urtica diotica

Nettle has been used since ancient times for disorders of the spleen, asthma and as a diuretic. it’s powder has been used for nosebleed and contains calcium so that it is effective against bleeding internally and externally either as a powder or tincture. It is also taken to treat nettle rash and works well in allergic rhinitis and in Germany is used in arthritis preparations.There are no known restrictions for use in pregnancy and lactation. It is high in other vitamin c and K.

Oats- Avena sativa

Oat straw works as a nervous system restorer, to strengthen a weakened constitution. It treats shingles and chickenpox topically. It calms a nursing mother and stimulates supply. It contains high contents of silica, zinc, and manganese and beta -glucans that stimulates immune functions. There are no know contraindications in pregnancy and lactation. oatmeal in current medical studies is also shown to reduce cholesterol levels.

Red raspberry rubus ideaus

Red Raspberry leaves are the ultimate pregnancy and nursing herbs. High in vitamins; a,d,e,k,c, and it contains calcium, iron, it is safe during pregnancy. See a whole post about it on Birthowl’s natural childbirth blog.

Schizandra berries-

This is a Chinese herb that is used similarly to red raspberry as that it is tonic and astringent, and adaptable enough to balance female hormones. Schizandra is supportive of supply in that it assists with the milk ejection reflex to make it manageable and more efficient. It harmonizes the balance of the body’s physiologic processes. Schizandra is a woody and aromatic vine that is sometimes referred to the fruit of 5 flavors in Chinese medicine because it includes the taste of all the five Chinese elements.

Inspired by Mechell Turner, photos by Mechell Turner



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