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http://herblore.com/overviews/list-of-galactagogues-herbs-that-increase-breastmilk-production

Fenugreek - one of the best and strongest herbs for increasing milk production. When taken in very large amounts, Fenugreek is also used for lowering blood sugar levels, and is, therefore, not recommended for use by diabetics or those who are on strict insulin regimens to regulate their blood sugar levels. It also works on the digestive system, and in a small percentage of people, it may cause gas in either the mother or baby. Many mothers of adopted babies have successfully used this herb to help establish a breastmilk supply to feed their adopted babies. Fenugreek is not recommended for use during pregnancy as it can cause uterine activity. Fenugreek must be used with consistency for best results, otherwise it can negatively affect or decrease milk production.

Have some researches been done on this claim?

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(Al-Shaikh et al. 1999) examined the "effect of feeding fenugreek seed, as part of a dairy goat ration." They used "twenty-one, 2-3 years old, lactating local goats [that] were divided into three groups (A, B and C), [...] fed on concentrate mixtures containing 0, 25 or 50% fenugreek, respectively. [...] Group A reached peak (1890 ± 130ml) at the third week of the experiment, group B reached peak yield (2890 ± 130ml) at the second week, while in group C the maximum daily milk yield (1740 ± 170ml) was attained at sixth week."

(Gabay 2002) says: "In a clinical practice setting, Huggins describes the anecdotal use of the herb in at least 1200 women. Generally, all the women who consumed fenugreek reported an increase in milk production within 24 to 72 hours after initiation of therapy." (Gabay 2002) also suggests a mechanism related to sweat production (the breasts being modified sweat glands), and mentions a lack of clinical data as of 2002.

In another study on goats, (Alamer et al. 2005) had similar results "initiation of fenugreek feeding produced a clear effect on milk yield from the first week, which continued throughout the treatment period."

In a human study, (Turkyılmaz et al. 2011) found the "mean measured breast milk volume of the mothers who received [herbal tea containing fenugreek every day] tea was significantly higher than the placebo and control groups".

References

Alamer, M. A., & Basiouni, G. F. (2005). Feeding Effects of Fenugreek Seeds {Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) on Lactation Performance, Some Plasma Constituents and Growth Hormone Level in Goats. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 8(11), 1553-1556.

Al-Shaikh, M. A., Al-Mufarrej, S. I., & Mogawer, H. H. (1999). Effect of fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenumgraecum L) on lactational performance of dairy goat. Journal of applied animal research, 16(2), 177-183.

Gabay, M. P. (2002). Galactogogues: medications that induce lactation. Journal of Human Lactation, 18(3), 274-279.

Turkyılmaz, C., Onal, E., Hirfanoglu, I. M., Turan, O., Koç, E., Ergenekon, E., & Atalay, Y. (2011). The effect of galactagogue herbal tea on breast milk production and short-term catch-up of birth weight in the first week of life. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 17(2), 139-142.

  • Wikipedia also references web.archive.org/web/20070628052457/http://www.bfmed.org/… which references 35. Swafford S, Berens P: Effect of fenugreek on breast milk volume. Abstract, 5th International Meeting of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, September 11–13, 2000, Tucson, Ariz. and 36. Co MM, Hernandez EA, Co BG: A comparative study on the efficacy of the different galactogogues among mothers with lactational insufficiency. Abstract, AAP Section on Breastfeeding, 2002 NCE, October 21, 2002. – ChrisW Sep 8 '13 at 15:59
  • @ChrisW Thanks. I'll try to track this down, but I've had no luck so far. It's only an abstract, so probably hard to find the actual material. Likely presented as a poster or talk with no record. – user5582 Sep 8 '13 at 17:22
  • I didn't mean to give you an impossible job; I think you answered the question already. – ChrisW Sep 9 '13 at 8:06

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