As a nursing mother you must be careful about your diet and the supplements you take, as food or medicine may contain substances that enter breast milk through the bloodstream. So, it is important that you learn about the foods, medicines, herbs, and other substances that interfere with breastfeeding. When nursing mothers suffer from common ailments like a cold, doctors, usually prescribe medicines, which may affect breast milk supply. And, it’s probably why many women opt for herbal options like Echinacea. And, here we’ve compiled some information on Echinacea and how it can benefit or harm you when you are nursing your child.
What Is Echinacea?
Echinacea is an antimicrobial herb mostly found in Midwestern North America. It bears large purple to pink flowers, depending on the species. The bulky and large spiky cone seed head is dark brown to red. Out of its many species, three are used as herbal medicines, namely Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallid, and Echinacea purpurea. It contains numerous chemicals that have therapeutic effects. The chemicals present in the root are different from that present in the upper part of the plant. The combination of these chemicals contributes to the benefits offered by the plant.
[ Read: How Licorice Affects Breastfeeding ]
How Does It Work?
Echinacea is believed to trigger certain chemicals in the body that reduce inflammation and helps ease cold and flu symptoms. It also contains certain active chemicals that directly attack yeast and other types of fungi.
Benefits Of Echinacea:
Native Americans have been using Echinacea for over hundreds of years as a remedy for infections and wounds. Echinacea helps fight the common cold, respiratory infections, and the flu. Herbalists normally recommend Echinacea to help enhance the immunity system, ease pain and reduce inflammation. It is effective against infections such as urinary tract infection, vaginal yeast infection, herpes, typhoid, malaria, ear infection, swine flu, and warts. When applied externally to helps treat skin diseases, burns, and wounds. Furthermore, it used in cases of bee stings, snake and mosquito bites, and hemorrhoids.
Side-Effects Of Echinacea:
Echinacea may have been in use for centuries, but the chemicals present in the plant are also known to trigger certain undesirable effects. It is why people are generally advised to seek professional advice before starting any herbal treatment. People suffering from diseases such as diabetes, connective tissue disorders, or any autoimmune diseases should avoid Echinacea as it can negatively impact the effectiveness of medications that contain the immune system. In some cases, people have complained of allergic reaction following the use of Echinacea. It is also known to have minor side-effects such as nausea, dizziness, stomach ache, and dry eyes.
[ Read: Alfalfa During Breastfeeding ]
Is It Safe To Take Echinacea While Breastfeeding?
Despite several health hazards, Echinacea has not been termed toxic for mothers because there is hardly any research on the effects of Echinacea on nursing mothers. However, breastfeeding women are generally advised to avoid Echinacea products because of a lack of information about its overall effects. Echinacea contains chemicals that boost T-cell activity, which is not a good thing for women suffering from autoimmune disorders. Moreover, there have been cases of allergic reactions and asthma attacks following the use of Echinacea. You should consider seeking medical advice about herbal supplements before consuming it.
[ Read: Herbs For Breastfeeding Moms ]
Over the years, several herbs have effectively boosted nursing mother’s milk supply for the baby. However, the effects of herbs when in contact with other herbs or medication cannot be fully known to you. Many times certain herbal preparations are found to contain little or none of the active ingredient actively present in the herb. So, it is important that you purchase herbal products only from reputable companies.
Did you use Echinacea while you were breastfeeding? Tell us here.
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