There are many reports about astragalus and breastfeeding that imply the herbal supplement can increase breast milk supply for nursing mothers. Breastfeeding can be a tricky undertaking, especially for first-time mothers. It is understandable that many women who choose to breastfeed often look for ways to make the process run as smoothly as possible. Astragalus extract is sometimes used by nursing mothers for this purpose. Astragalus has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to boost the immune system and is still used today to treat chronic hepatitis and cancer. However, newer reports of astragalus root health benefits have yet to be substantiated. Many people make the mistake of assuming that just because herbal supplements are natural, they are safe. That is not always the case. Herbal supplements are not prescription medications, but the introduction of an herbal supplement into a diet and health plan should be taken just as seriously as if it were a prescription medication. Pregnant women, especially, should learn as much as possible about astragalus and breastfeeding before deciding if it is safe or not. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Many nursing women have introduced astragalus into their diets in the form of capsules, extracts, and astragalus tea. However, reports of the herb’s effectiveness vary greatly and there is no evidence as to whether or not astragalus is really beneficial to lactating mothers, or their infants.
- There are around two thousand species of astragalus root. Some of those are toxic to the human system.
- It was not until the 1980’s that a link was made between astragalus and breastfeeding. Therefore, its use and function is not fully understood, and neither is its safety.
- Because astragalus of most often used in combination with other herbal supplements for the purpose of efficacy, it is hard to pinpoint specific astragalus side effects.
If you are nursing and considering starting on an astragalus regime, consider these facts before moving forward. As always, seek the advice of your physician and your child’s pediatrician before taking an herbal supplement. Opinions about astragalus and breastfeeding vary, so do your best to make an informed decision.