Boosting Milk Production: Testing a Herbal Mix in New Moms

Greg Howard
23rd April, 2024

Boosting Milk Production: Testing a Herbal Mix in New Moms

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Indonesia, a study found a polyherbal mix as effective as a single-herb capsule in boosting breast milk
  • Both herbal treatments increased milk volume and baby weight without raising prolactin levels
  • The polyherbal and single-herb treatments showed similar safety, with few mild side effects
Breastfeeding is a critical period for both mother and child, offering numerous health benefits and fostering a strong bond. However, many mothers face challenges in producing enough milk, leading them to seek solutions to enhance lactation. Traditional and herbal remedies have long been used to support breastfeeding mothers, and recent scientific investigations are beginning to shed light on their efficacy and safety. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health Research and Development (NIHRD) in Indonesia has explored the effectiveness of polyherbal galactagogue (PHG)—a combination of katuk leaves, torbangun leaves, and papaya leaves—compared to a commercial galactagogue capsule (CGC) containing only katuk leaves[1]. This research is significant, as it responds to the need for clinical evidence supporting the use of herbal remedies that are commonly employed by breastfeeding women. The study was structured as an open-label randomized controlled trial, which is a type of scientific experiment that compares the results of two groups: one receiving the treatment and another receiving a standard or control treatment. In this case, 120 subjects were randomly assigned to either the PHG group or the CGC group. Over the course of 28 days, researchers measured the volume of breast milk produced, the weight of the babies, and the mothers' prolactin levels—a hormone that plays a key role in milk production. Safety parameters, including liver and kidney function tests, were also monitored. Results showed that both the PHG and CGC were equally effective in increasing breast milk volume and infant weight over the study period. Interestingly, prolactin levels decreased in both groups, which is an unexpected finding given that prolactin is typically associated with milk production. Safety assessments indicated that both treatments were well-tolerated, with only a small percentage of mothers experiencing mild increases in liver enzymes and nausea. These findings align with earlier research that has highlighted the potential of herbal supplements as galactagogues. Studies have noted the effectiveness of herbs like fenugreek, ginger, and turmeric in increasing milk volume[2]. Moreover, the popularity of herbal medicines among breastfeeding women has been well-documented, with many turning to natural remedies due to concerns about the safety of conventional medications for their infants[3]. However, there has been a recognized gap in the availability of reliable information on the safety and efficacy of these herbal treatments, which the current study helps to address. The research by NIHRD builds on the foundation of both traditional knowledge and modern pharmacological studies. For instance, the use of fennel and anise, as documented in Traditional Persian Medicine, has been supported by pharmacological research confirming their lactation-enhancing properties[4]. The Indonesian study extends this knowledge by testing a combination of local herbs and comparing it to a single-herb product, providing valuable insights into the potential benefits of polyherbal formulations. In conclusion, the NIHRD study provides evidence that a polyherbal galactagogue containing a mix of traditional Indonesian herbs is as effective and safe as a commercial single-herb alternative. This research contributes to the broader understanding of how natural products can support breastfeeding, offering reassurance to mothers seeking herbal remedies. It also underscores the importance of conducting rigorous clinical trials to validate the use of traditional medicines, ensuring that breastfeeding women have access to safe and effective options to help them nourish their infants.



Main Study

1) Galactagogue activity of poly-herbal decoction from Indonesia: a randomized open label controlled trial.

Published 23rd April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Effects of Fenugreek, Ginger, and Turmeric Supplementation on Human Milk Volume and Nutrient Content in Breastfeeding Mothers: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial.

3) The use of herbal medicines during breastfeeding: a population-based survey in Western Australia.

4) Breastfeeding: A Review of Its Physiology and Galactogogue Plants in View of Traditional Persian Medicine.

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