The bliss and challenges of motherhood: they often come hand-in-hand, like an uninvited plus-one to the party. As you juggle the demands of your new role, you hear about Ashwagandha’s promising relief.
But how far is it true? Can you take Ashwagandha while breastfeeding?
Well, let’s explore together.
Can You Take Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding?
It’s often recommended to avoid Ashwagandha while breastfeeding because there isn’t any information available on its safety during this time. This is especially important if you’re nursing a newborn or premature infant to avoid potential risks or effects on your baby.
However, some sources suggest that ashwagandha may be compatible with breastfeeding. They categorized Ashwagandha as Lactation Category C, which is safe for a nursing mom. But, the study is inconclusive.
So, what does all the research suggest about the Ashwagandha breastfeeding possibility? Let’s find out.
Is Ashwagandha Good For Breastfeeding Mom: What Science Suggests?
There is limited research and no human studies on the effects of ashwagandha on breast milk production. Only animal studies are available on the effects of ashwagandha on lactation, and the results of these studies are inconsistent.
Studies have found that ashwagandha could have beneficial effects on lactation in rats. These effects include an increase in milk production, improvement in milk quality, and stimulation of prolactin secretion.
In the study, 40 women who complained of low milk supply found that a combination herbal supplement containing ashwagandha helped increase milk production. The study did not have enough scientific controls to be valid evidence that these herbs can increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers. The study did not randomly select participants, have a control group taking a placebo, or provide guidance on breastfeeding techniques to the mothers.
On the other hand, some research suggests that ashwagandha can cause issues with breastfeeding. It may lead to less milk production, changes in the milk’s composition, and weight loss in mice babies.
Finally, animal studies on ashwagandha used varying amounts, types, and durations, making decision-making difficult. It can make it challenging to apply their results to humans in a consistent manner.
More research is needed to determine whether it is safe and effective for nursing mothers or babies to take ashwagandha. Current scientific evidence is insufficient and inconsistent, with conflicting results from animal studies.
Ashwagandha Breastfeeding: Benefits And Risks
Let’s check the pros and cons of taking Ashwagandha while breastfeeding.
Benefits Of Ashwagandha For Breastfeeding Mothers
While there is limited scientific research, Ashwagandha could provide advantages for breastfeeding women.
- Rich in iron: For postpartum mothers with iron deficiency, Ashwagandha is beneficial as it contains iron.
- Reduce swelling: Ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory properties that have the potential to alleviate swelling, aches, and pains, which are commonly associated with breastfeeding.
- Endocrine regulation: Ashwagandha may assist with thyroid regulation and adrenal gland balance.
- Stress reduction and energy restoration: Ashwagandha helps new moms combat stress and restore energy postpartum.
- Improved insulin sensitivity and secretion: Research suggests that ashwagandha may help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin function.
Learn the benefits of Ashwagandha for women.
Potential Risk Of Ashwagandha For Breastfeeding Mothers
There are some potential risks associated with taking ashwagandha while breastfeeding. These include:
- Gastrointestinal discomfort: The most common side effect of ashwagandha is gastrointestinal discomfort, including diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to ashwagandha, which can cause symptoms such as itching, rash, or difficulty breathing
- Hormonal imbalances: While ashwagandha may assist with thyroid regulation and adrenal gland balance, it may worsen symptoms of hyperthyroidism and should be avoided by those with this condition.
- Reduced milk supply: While some studies suggest that ashwagandha may help promote lactation in breastfeeding women, the evidence is inconclusive.
Recommended Ways To Consume Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding
Though most recommend avoiding Ashwagandha while breastfeeding, some may suggest you take it. After all, you are unique.
So, here are the recommended ways to consume ashwagandha while breastfeeding:
- Tincture: Take 30-40 drops three times a day
- Capsules: Take 400-500 mg capsule twice a day
- Powder: Take 1 teaspoon in warm milk with ghee at night for a good night’s rest
- Mix with water, ghee (clarified butter), or honey
- Traditionally used in milk and taken at night to help with sleep.
Is Ashwagandha Safe For Babies?
There is insufficient scientific evidence to determine if ashwagandha is safe for babies.
Some sources suggest that ashwagandha may pass into breast milk and affect the baby’s growth, development, or health. Some people believe that ashwagandha can help with breastfeeding and recovery after childbirth, based on traditional medicine practices like Ayurveda. However, there is no solid scientific evidence to support these claims.
So, avoid taking ashwagandha while breastfeeding unless advised by your doctor or a qualified herbalist.
Is Ashwagandha Good For Postpartum?
Ashwagandha is considered beneficial for postpartum women. However, the effectiveness of ashwagandha for postpartum women may differ from person to person.
Here are the benefits that Ashwagandha offers to postpartum women.
- Stress and anxiety relief: Ashwagandha can help reduce stress and anxiousness postpartum due to its adaptogenic properties.
- Energy support: It supports normal energy levels, which can be beneficial for new mothers who may experience fatigue
- Sleep promotion: Ashwagandha may help encourage sleep, which can be particularly helpful for postpartum women struggling with sleep disturbances.
- Mental clarity: Ashwagandha may help reduce brain fog or cloudy thinking postpartum.
- Hormonal balance: Ashwagandha can help balance stress hormones post-childbirth by affecting the HPA axis.
Check out the impact of Ashwagandha on the menstrual cycle.
Alternatives To Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding
There are several natural alternatives to ashwagandha that you can use while breastfeeding to support your health and well-being.
- Chamomile: provides calming and soothing effects, helps you relax, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves sleep quality.
- Lavender: Its scent is soothing and can ease anxiety, depression, and sleep issues.
- Lemon balm: This herb can relieve stress and improve mood, with potential antidepressant effects.
- Ginger: This herb is effective for nausea, vomiting, and digestive issues due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
- Fenugreek: This herb boosts milk production and may aid in regulating blood sugar, cholesterol, and appetite.
- Red raspberry leaf: This herb may aid uterine recovery and hormonal balance after childbirth, thanks to its antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
But always consult a doctor or herbalist before taking any herbs or supplements during pregnancy.
Navigating the ups and downs of breastfeeding can feel like trekking through a maze. Ashwagandha might seem like an appealing shortcut, but it has a fair share of “Do Not Enter” signs.
Fortunately, the path is rich with alternatives— the road signs that point to a less stressful, more joyful journey in motherhood.
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I am a health and wellness enthusiast working in a Pittsburgh-based wellness clinic. My primary role as a consultant is to tailor a balanced lifestyle for my patients, where positive steps and potent supplements play a synergistic role.