I strongly recommend Herb Lore's herbs, especially their Labor Tincture. I have seen it work many times when other things have not, and I can highly recommend it over and above anything else. I also live in the same community as Herb Lore, and I have been to their facility. They use only organic herbs and the best and highest quality. I have been impressed with Pam Caldwell's (Herb Lore's founder, company herbalist and creator of the Herb Lore line) knowledge of herbs and pregnancy and lactation, and have used their products to help with all sorts of problems that women in their childbearing years have. Most midwives know a bit about herbs, but Pam's knowledge is far greater, and because of that, has created a highly effective line of herbal products. I highly recommend using Herb Lore's products and their information as a valuable resource for anyone. I also think anyone who uses their herbs, especially the Labor Tincture, will not go back to any of the alternatives.
Alison Osborn, LM, CPM, Grass Valley, CA
Herb Lore offers Fenugreek in capsule or tincture (liquid extract) form. The capsules are made of all-vegetarian Vegi-Caps, and the liquid extract comes in a regular organic grape alcohol (which extracts more thoroughly) or a non-alcohol vegetable glycerine/distilled water base. Many of our clients prefer the capsules because it is easy, convenient, can be easily regulated (which is of utmost importance with this herb - more on this below), and nothing needs to be prepared by them. It is especially preferable for those who need to take larger amounts of the herb.
The recommended dose is 3 capsules three times a day if you need only a moderate increase, or 5 capsules three times a day if you need more of a significant increase. (Note: One capsule equals one dropperful of tincture.) With Herb Lore Fenugreek, you should see results in 12-24 hours. If this amount is not adequate, you may increase the dose until you find the right amount that works for you. If you find that you've become overly full or engorged, you will want to decrease the amount until you find the right balance for your body.
In some people, Fenugreek can cause gas in the mother and/or baby. If this is a problem for you or your baby, there are a number of options to help counteract the gas.
• Fennel Tincture - the herb Fennel helps to dispel gas while also working to increase breastmilk production.
• Nursing Tea Moringa Blend (or Tincture) - a wonderful tasting tea specifically formulated to help increase breastmilk production. Its main ingredient is Fennel, which, while increasing milk production, helps to dispel and alleviate gas. This tea is also available in a liquid extract version, Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend.
• Tummy Tincture - if gas or indigestion (or colic or reflux) proves to be a significant problem for mom or baby, this product would be the most appropriate. It is specifically designed to alleviate digestive complaints, including gas pain. It again contains Fennel Seed, along with other herbs famous for their effectiveness in relieving tummy complaints. Due to the Fennel Seed, it will also support breastmilk production, but its main purpose is to help soothe digestive upset and to dispel gas.
As Fenugreek, when used in very large doses (several grams at a time), can lower blood sugar levels, insulin-dependent diabetics should use the herb with caution or not at all, as it may affect their blood sugar levels and insulin needs. It is actually a wonderful and helpful herb for diabetics, but for those who are on strict insulin regimens, this can disrupt their blood sugar balance and medication levels. It is also a member of the legume family, so people with sensitivities or allergies should avoid the herb.
One other important note for Fenugreek use: Once Fenugreek consumption is started, consistency with the herb's usage is important. Abruptly stopping the herb or taking it inconsistently can result in a decrease or inconsistency in milk supply. If this happens, simply resume your usual dosage as soon as possible and make sure you stay consistent with it. Your supply should quickly stabilize. Feel free to increase your dosage of Fenugreek if recovery is slow, and if you begin to make too much milk, gradually back off of the Fenugreek until the right balance is achieved.
Many teas contain Fenugreek as an ingredient. Having it as part of a multi-ingredient combination makes it extremely difficult to regulate the amount of Fenugreek one would get in each dose when used in this way. Research has shown that Fenugreek works like a faucet - when the herb is taken, the faucet is on. When the herb is discontinued, or a dose missed, the faucet goes off. Taking a product with an inconsistent amount of Fenugreek per dose (as would be likely in a combination product) would create an up-and-down Fenugreek intake, possibly resulting in an up-and-down milk supply. Again, consistency is important with this herb. Once the milk supply has been established and is stable, one can gradually wean down from the herb until it is eliminated altogether. Doing it slowly should not impact the milk supply. If it does lower the supply, continuation of the Fenugreek is appropriate unless it is negatively impacting you or your baby (with gas or tummy issues). If this is the case, we recommend using one of the other products, such as Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend, at the same time you’re decreasing the Fenugreek, to keep the milk production stable. Long-term use of Fenugreek (or any of the herbs used to increase milk production) is considered safe.
Weaning off of Fenugreek
Once your supply is stable and you’re ready to be done with the Fenugreek, you can slowly wean down from it until you’re off. For example, if you’re taking 6 caps three times a day, you go from 6-6-6 to 6-6-5, the next day to 6-5-5, the next day 5-5-5 until you are down to 0-0-0. Weaning down slowly should not affect or decrease your supply in any way. If you notice a drop in your supply however, you can go back up on the dose until you’re stable again and then try decreasing at an even slower rate. It is just fine though if you find you need or want to continue the Fenugreek the entire time you’re nursing.
Fenugreek should not be used by pregnant women due to its slight uterine stimulating properties. Goat’s Rue, Moringa (after the first trimester), Nursing Tea Moringa Blend or Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend are considered safe for use during pregnancy and are great alternatives.
The vegi-capsules are available in several sizes: a 200 count size in vegi-caps, which will last approximately two weeks; and a large 400 count size (vegi-caps), which will last about a month, a 2 oz. and 4 oz. tincture, which lasts approximately 2 weeks and 4 weeks respectively, depending on the amount used.
How to Increase Your Breastmilk Production - The Expanded & In-Depth Version. In this highly informative article, you will learn:
- What affects milk production?
- What are all of the different herbs, products or techniques to used increase production?
- Why returning to work or starting baby on solids can decrease your supply and how to overcome that.
- Why it can be common for women who’ve had a C-Section to have milk supply problems.
- Should you use herbs to establish a milk supply even before you give birth? Especially if you had a problem with supply with your first baby?
- Is it ok to take antihistamines for allergies while you’re breastfeeding? How will that affect my milk supply?
- What herbs increase milk supply, but should be AVOIDED, and why.
- My period has returned after giving birth and my PMS is worse than its ever been. What can I take that will help with this and that’s ok to use while breastfeeding?
- What you can do if one breast produces more than the other? How can this be corrected?
- Why don’t I get much milk when I pump, but my baby seems to be satisfied.
- How to listen to and understand your baby’s cues.
Products Discussed in this Article
- Nursing Tea Moringa Blend or Nursing Tincture Moringa Blend
- Goat’s Rue
- Tummy Tincture
written by Pam Caldwell
Certified Herbalist --- Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum & Lactation Specialist