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5 Herbs to Induce Lactation

Inducing lactation is a process of making milk without being pregnant or giving birth to a child. In a common breastfeeding situation, the changes that undergo during the time of pregnancy and hormonal changes occur inside the body causes women’s breasts to produce milk. When a mother has not given birth to a child and the baby has arrived into her life through surrogacy and adoption, she still can feed her baby with milk by giving her body messages or going for an alternative method of taking herbs that induce milk.

Galactogogues are the recommended herbs to induce milk. Following is the list of 5 herbs used traditionally for increasing milk supply in a nursing mother. Few of these herbs can also be given to mothers wishing to breastfeed a surrogate or adopted child, even if this is her first experience.


Goat’s Rue (Galega officinalis)

It is one of the most influential galactogogues known in the herbal prescribed formula. Goat’s Rue arouses mammary gland development and increase milk in a nursing mother by more than 50%. It is commonly used by mothers as well as by farmers to induce milk in their cattle. I have kept this first in the list because it is the most safe and effective galactogue.

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosa)

Satavari has long been used in India as a therapy for hormonal imbalance including menstrual disorders, menopause, infertility, and morning sickness. It has a particular substance that creates affinity for female reproductive system.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum)

Most people are familiar with it as a digestive or as a poultice due to its mucilaginous properties; however it is an eminently popular herb for increasing breast milk. Use it with caution as it lowers the blood sugar level. Fenugreek is also not advisable to pregnant women.

Anise Seed

By increasing estrogen production Anise seed increases the libido and also milk supply to nursing mothers. It stimulates the blood flow to the breast tissue and thus it increase milk production. When combined with red raspberry leaves Anise plant produces surprising results. But this again should be avoided during pregnancy.

Borage Leaves (Borago officinalis)

Borage leaves and seeds have long been in use to enhance milk production in women, however, the plant is full of alkaloid which can be harmful to liver so the herb should not be taken more than a week. It may be good if you do not use this herb and choose something from the herbs listed above with no known side effects.

Different galactogogues performs different actions. Some herbs help to sleep and relax and work as nourishing tonics and increase milk supply by supplementing the nutrients while other empowers the breast tissues to increase production. All these herbs also have qualities besides working as galactogogues. Some have soothing effects while also treats the mild syndromes in children such as thrush and colic. The other qualities the plant holds will help mother decide which herb goes well with her particular condition. Of course, with all herbal remedies, it is good to consult with an herb practitioner before self prescribing.