30 DecPeppermint and other Herbs that can decrease breast milk supply

Every winter, my answering service gets flooded with calls from concerned mothers who can’t understand why all of sudden in these holiday months, there milk supply has seemed to drastically fallen. In some cases it is the lack of sleep, the stress from festivities, or the increase of the flu and cold season putting a damper on that milk supply. For we well know that decongestants and anti-histamines will drastically lower your milk supply and even dry it up. However often, the drop in milk production has everything to do with the holiday treats you may be consuming. Peppermint, menthol, parsley and sage are four of the biggest herbal culprits when it comes to putting a damper on milk. In fact I often recommend peppermint tea or ingesting peppermint Altoids when beginning the steps of weaning your baby. Never fear, if you have been ingesting these things and have noticed a decrease in your milk, the good news is that it is easy to bring it back to full production. This however should be done under the care of a trained Lactation Consultant. Below is a wonderful resource taken from Kellymom.com of herbs that can and or will lower your milk production:

Herbs that may decrease milk supply

Using large amounts of the following herbs and other natural remedies should be avoided while nursing because they have been known to decrease milk supply. The amounts of these herbs normally used in
cooking are unlikely to be of concern; it’s mainly the larger amounts that might be used therapeutically that could pose a problem. However, some moms have noticed a decrease in supply after eating things
like dressing with lots of sage, sage tea (often recommended when moms are weaning), lots of strong peppermint candies or menthol cough drops, or other foods/teas with large amounts of the particular herb. These herbs are sometimes used by nursing mothers to treat oversupply, or when weaning.

  • Black Walnut
  • Chickweed
  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol
  • Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

This is the season of candy canes, peppermint lattes, menthol cough drops, and sage filled stuffing! So you may want to double check before taking second helpings of any of these lovely tasty treats now and through out the year!

Copyright© 2011 Danielle Gauss – JustBreastFeeding.com. All Rights Reserved.

17 Responses to “Peppermint and other Herbs that can decrease breast milk supply”

  1. Nicole says:

    Thanks so much! This was extremely helpful! I knew to stay away from natural peppermint but didnt know the candy and flavoring would affect my milk so much but explains why my supplies been low.

  2. Catharine says:

    Thanks for the information. I think I took too much vicks lozenges while breastfeeding and today my milk supply has tremendously dropped (I was not that great with the supply to start with and was slowly increasing). Is there anyway you can get rid of the too much menthol or reverse the effect? I am feeding a 6 week old and would much appreciate any information.

    • Admin says:

      Yes you can absolutely help reverse the effects. Drink plenty of fluids, and begin pumping. Remember your breasts work by supply and demand, the more they are stimulated, the more milk you will make. So, after you feed your baby, give your breasts a 10 min. break, then double pump, meaning both breasts at the same time, for 10-15 min. It is okay if you don’t see very much milk express, it is all about stimulation and sending those messages to your brain to produce more. Do this for about 2 days. On top of that I would go to a health food store and get some More Milk Plus capsules and begin taking 2 capsules 2x a day. If you are allergic to peanuts or are diabetic, then you need to NOT take a capsule that contains fenugreek. It will take about 3 days to see a significant increase. Eat oatmeal, barley, oats, etc… For more information, visit the “Increasing Milk” section of the website. Good luck!

  3. shannon says:

    Is it just if peppermint is ingested? What about using peppermint oil topically? I typically make my own “vapor rub”, and use peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil and camphor oil in it. A friend also has a facial scrub with peppermint oil in it that she’s been avoiding using.

    • Admin says:

      It is generally more of an issue if the peppermint is ingested, however there have been reports of some problems with the peppermint oil causing some decrease in supply topically. You can always try it and see if it causes a temporary drop. If it does, you will know what it was that caused it, and can quickly retrieve your milk supply by increasing stimulation and or adding in a an herbal galacagogue.

  4. Amy says:

    I am EBF my 2 week old son. Is peppermint gum not even good to use? I popped a piece in my mouth the other day and remembered ahh this isnt good! So I was wondering if one piece of gum will hurt my supply, or gum here in there?

    • Admin says:

      Gum is generally fine, there usually isn’t enough peppermint in the gum to effect supply, simply because it isn’t true peppermint extract like what is found in Altoids. If a drop in supply is noticed, my guess is that it would be due to a different underlying reason. Hope this helps!

  5. alma says:

    Do I boil some water and than put the oregano or boil both n than drink it without sugar?

    • Admin says:

      Oregano will lower milk supply in large quantities. Are you trying to lower your supply? If so I would recommend sage or peppermint vs. oregano. I recommend reading my article on weaning for further steps on how to dry up your milk supply. Best of luck!

      • sadee says:

        im trying to stop my breastmilk on the second day of cold turkey. but have no money to go out and buy sage but i do have oregano how would i use it

        • Admin says:

          I would follow the instructions in my article about weaning for instructions on what to do to help dry your milk up. I recommend peppermint oil capsules to eat, and wearing crushed green cabbage leaves in your bra to help reduce your supply. Oregano you can just mix in your food and it will help lower your supply, but it is not as effective as peppermint and sage. If you get engorged cold compresses will help. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you.

  6. lesley says:

    Just wantd to say a big thank you for this information it well help my daughter reduce her milk supply.

  7. Shannon foldy says:

    I have mitrovalve valve prolapse. Are peppermint altoids Ok to use? I’ve heard peppermint is not good for people with mitrovalve prolapse.

    • Admin says:

      I would consult with your cardiologist before trying anything new. Altoids are probably fine, but since you have a specific case, I would want you to run it by your doctor first.

  8. Emily says:

    Hi! I diffuse peppermint oil with others for sinus issues. While that affect my supply?

    • Admin says:

      It can. It is more of an issue if the oil is ingested or rubbed on the skin. If you are only smelling it, and using it as aroma therapy then it may not effect your supply as drastically. However, anything with menthol or peppermint that you are touching can lower a supply.

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