Many mums ask about safety of TCM herbs during breastfeeding. “Are TCM herbs safe?” or “Which TCM herbs best to avoid?” Let's review.
In TCM, "Qi" and "Blood" are essential for breast milk production and mums may feel tired after breastfeeding. Herbs that strengthen "Qi" and "Blood", are commonly used to invigorate the body and reduce fatigue.
Examples of herbs that boost "Qi" and "Blood" are Astragalus propinquus, Codonopsis pilosula, Angelica sinensis, Pseudostellaria heterophylla (aka Prince ginseng), Rehmannia glutinosa, Lycium chinense (aka Wolfberry).
Some TCM herbs treat postnatal conditions such as back pain, postnatal blues and poor appetite. TCM herbs can boost milk production due to "Qi" insufficiency and treat breast discomfort from poor milk flow caused by "Qi" stagnation.
Some herbs, that are high in alkaloid contents, which may affect the nervous system, should be avoided during breastfeeding. They include Coptis, Phellodendron amurense, Ephedra, Sophora flavescens, Rheum palmatum and Tetradium ruticarpum (aka evodia).
#1 TCM herbs are relatively safe to use during breastfeeding under supervision of licensed TCM physician.
#2 Do inform your physician that you are breastfeeding so that your physician can prescribe safe herbs for you and baby.