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Herbs to Avoid While Nursing

This article is an excerpt from "The Nursing Mother's Problem Solver" byClaire Martin.

Q: I usually drink a lot of herbal tea, and I take herbal supplements for energy boost, but a friend told me that I shouldn't be drinking peppermint tea or taking gingko if I'm nursing. Why not?

A: Herbalists say that certain herbs, particularly those in the mint family, can diminish your milk supply. Some doctors and lactation consultants are skeptical about that claim, but they're also skeptical about the claim that herbs can boost your milk supply. Still, if you're having supply problems, and you typically use a lot of herbs in your diet, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Among the other milk-drying suspects: Aloe, alder buckthorn, barberry, cascara sagrada, ginseng, ephedra, ginger, goldenseal, green tea, guarana, kola nut, ma huang, male fern, parsley, purging buckthorn, rhubarb, sage, senna, wormwood, and yerba mate.


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About the Author

Claire Martin is a parenting writer at the Denver Post. Her writing has won national and regional awards, and has appeared in publications such as the St. Petersburg Times, Good Housekeeping, and Sunset magazine. She lives in Denver with her husband and two daughters, both of whom were breastfed.

From THE NURSING MOTHER'S PROBLEM SOLVER by Claire Martin. Copyright © 2000 by Claire Martin. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.