22 Oct 2021
by Physician Na Yi Ting
Many mums have questions about eating TCM herbs, especially when they are breastfeeding. “Can I eat TCM herbs when breastfeeding?”, “Are they safe?” and “Which herbs do I have to avoid?” In this article, we are going to address this question: Can breastfeeding mothers eat TCM herbs? Expand the section to read about this article.
In TCM, Qi and Blood are needed to produce breast milk and it is common for mums to become tired and fatigued easily during breastfeeding. Herbs that are used to help tonify Qi and Blood are commonly used to help invigorate "Qi" and Blood in the body to help reduce fatigue.
Some of the commonly used herbs to boost "Qi" and Blood are:
Astragalus propinquus (Huang Qi)
Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen)
Angelica sinensis (Dang Gui)
Lycium chinense, aka Wolfberry (Gou Qi Zi)
TCM herbs are also used to treat other conditions breastfeeding mums may face, which includes backaches, postpartum anxiety and mental stress and lack of appetite.
TCM herbs are more commonly used to treat low milk production caused by "Qi" insufficiency, and discomfort and tenderness in the breast due to poor milk secretion and milk flow which can be caused by stagnation of "Qi".
During pregnancy, herbs high in alkaloids, which may affect the central nervous system should be avoided during breastfeeding period. They include:
Coptis (Huang Lian)
Phellodendron amurense (Huang Bai)
Tetradium ruticarpum, aka evodia (Wu Zhu Yu)
TCM herbs are relatively safe to use during breastfeeding under the supervision and advices of a licensed TCM physician.
Do inform your physician if you are breastfeeding so that your physician can prescribe herbs which are safe for you and your baby.
So remember! See a TCM physician instead of self-medicating.