thank you so much for being a part of this forum. i am frustrated with the spotty information available online about herbs that are safe to take while nursing. i have a cold with a dry cough and tightness in my chest. it is very annoying, and i have been drinking a ton of tea, mostly Gypsy Cold Care and Throat Coat tea by traditional medicinals. i just bought some Breathe Easy tea and i was so excited to try it, and it says "Do not use unless directed by a doctor." then i started reading the other boxes, and they say the same thing. i feel like i can't get any relief from this cough unless i am constantly drinking hot tea and taking cough drops. i read that licorice root can reduce milk production. that is in the throat coat tea, but i haven't had supply issues so far. i am nursing a 20-month-old and he mostly nurses to nap and sleep at night, so not much.
some people say if you are drinking herbs as tea, that's not really a medicinal dose, so it's safe, but if i am drinking 4 cups or more a day, is that a medicinal dose? is it only a milk supply issue or are there other problems associated with the herbs in these teas? can you give any guidelines?
thank you so much in advance!
the ingredients in breathe easy are below. that is the one i am most interested in, because it's the one i want to drink! thanks again.
Medicinal ingredients: Each tea bag (1.5g) contains: Dry aqueous extract (8:1) of biyan pian* 120 mg (equivalent to 960 mg), organic Radix et Rhizoma Glycyrrhizae (Glycyrrhiza glabra) 300 mg, Radix Asclepiadis tuberosae (Asclepias tuberosa) 60 mg.
* Biyan Pian extract (8:1) contains the combined aqueous extractive of: Fructus Xanthii (Xanthium sibiricum), Flos Magnoliae (Magnolia biondii), Radix Saposhnikoviae (Saposhnikovia divaricata), Fructus Forsythiae (Forsythia suspensa), Flos Chrysanthemi Indici (Chrysanthemum indicum), Fructus Schisandrae (Schisandra chinensis), Radix Platycodi (Platycodon grandiflorum), Radix Angelicae Dahuricae (Angelica dahurica), Rhizoma Anemarrhenae (Anemarrhena asphodeloides), Herba Schizonepetae (Nepeta tenuifolia), and Radix et Rhizoma Glycyrrhizae (Glycyrrhiza uralensis).
Non-medicinal ingredients: Organic peppermint leaf (Mentha × piperita), organic eucalyptus leaf (Eucalyptus globulus), organic bitter fennel fruit (Foeniculum vulgare), organic calendula flower (Calendula officinalis), organic ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale).
It is frustrating to want to take care of yourself and not get the information you need, isn't it? The tough part about herbs is that while some have been used by pregnant and nursing mamas for millenia, there are not many formal studies that tell us whether they get into breast milk, at what concentration, and whether they are harmful to baby. Thus, most supplements and teas have a warning, which really doesn't help. I once saw a tea for increasing mama's milk supply that had a warning on the back - Do Not Take While Pregnant or Nursing! Ugh!
The tea you listed is a pretty common one to soothe cough, but I can't tell you that for sure it is safe if you are breastfeeding. Generally I look at the size of the baby/toddler and how often they are nursing throughout the day. If baby is tiny and exclusively nursing, obviously they will get more of an herb in the breast milk than a toddler who is 18 months and nursing a few times per day. A lot of mamas of toddlers decide that they are willing to take or drink the supplements they need, perhaps doing so as far as possible away from nursing their little one. Others decide that they won't risk it, even though the risk is small. Generally, my rule for nursing mamas is to stick to herbs that are used as foods - garlic, ginger, turmeric, curries, mint, cayenne, etc. These are very medicinal, but we know that they have been used as foods and fed to very young children for a very long time.
A recent study found that raw honey (I use Manuka honey) was very effective for cough. Some of my patients make a warm lemonade with Manuka honey, lemon, and even a little cayenne. It does seems to work quite well. Since I am not your physician, I can not diagnose or prescribe specifically for you, but I hope I have given you some good information.
Here is a great website for researching options for various conditions. There are some herbal and nutritive options within the articles, though the focus is more on medications
Jennifer Karon-Flores, ND |
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