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Physical Methods | Medicinal Methods (Galactagogues)


Fenugreek seeds are an herbal galactagogue that is becoming very well known in the lactation community. It is a food that has been used safely for thousands of years as a common ingredient of curry (a middle-eastern spice). It can cause mothers (and sometimes babies) to smell like maple-syrup when ingested in sufficient quantities (some lactation consultants recommend that mothers take enough that they achieve this effect). In fact, fenugreek is commonly used in the food industry as an artificial maple flavoring.

The benefit of fenugreek is that it is easily found and regarded as quite safe since it is a common food. It has also been quite reliable in its ability to increase milk production for many mothers. It is frequently touted as the first herb to try when mothers are faced with low milk production. However, it is not necessarily as potent as its reputation seems to imply; there are other herbs that may be more effective in increasing milk production, such as goat's rue and shatavari. And it is not necessarily the best galactagogue, herbal or otherwise, for each mother, because low milk production is caused by many different factors. Targeting the directly treatment to the cause is likely to result in more milk than a blanket recommendation.

Still, with this mind, fenugreek is nonetheless a moderately effective galactagogue that may benefit mothers in various low milk production situations, including BFAR.

Biological name: Leguminosae Trigonella foenum-graecum

Other names: Greek hay, foenugreek, fenigreek

  • May inhibits cholesterol absorption and synthesis
  • May lower blood glucose levels
  • Taking more than 100 grams per day may cause intestinal upset and nausea in mother and/or baby (rare)

Dosage: Recommended dose is two full dropperfuls of tincture, 2-3 times per day or 2-4 500mg capsules three times daily with meals. Note that tinctures typically work better than capsules.


Articles About Fenugreek

Fenugreek: One Remedy for Low Milk Production

Purdue Guide to Medicinal and Aromatic Plants — Fenugreek

Breastfeeding.com — All About Fenugreek

Kellymom.com — Fenugreek


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