How Safe Is Ginseng During Breastfeeding

Ginseng While Breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful things that exist in the nature. It creates a strong emotional bond between new born and mother that will continue to play an important role in baby’s development for years to come.

“A baby nursing at a mother’s breast is an undeniable affirmation of our rootedness in nature- David Suzuki”.

Although breastfeeding is a natural process but it is challenging too, especially for new moms. Many new moms find themselves fatigued and stressed out. Sleep deprivation, lack of physical and mental energy are some common issue faced by nursing mothers. It is often tempting to use herbal medicines for rejuvenation and energy, because these medicines are generally considered as a safe and natural option for alternative treatment. Ginseng is one of them. Is it safe to take ginseng while breastfeeding without consultation? Read the full post to know more about it.


What Is Ginseng?

According to Wikipedia “Ginseng is one of the 11 species of slow-growing perineal plants with fleshy root, belonging to the genus Panax of the family Araliaceae.

There are major three varieties of ginseng, but only two are true or Panax ginseng. The true Panax ginsengs are Chinese Ginseng, Korean Ginseng and North American Ginseng. Both Asian and American ginsengs contain ginsenosides, which are the substances thought to give ginseng its medicinal properties. Ginseng is sometime called an “adaptogen”means an herb that can help our body to deal with physical and mental stress.

1. American Ginseng

It is an herb that mainly grows in North America. It is a light tan, gnarled root that often looks like a human body with stringy shoots for arms and legs. It contains ginsenosides and sometimes called an adaptogen. It is useful to treat headaches, fever, indigestion and infertility.

[ Read: How Licorice Affects Breastfeeding ]

2. Asian Ginseng

Asian ginseng is native to China and Korea. It is also one of the true Ginseng’s and has numerous health benefits. It supports overall health and boost immune system. It is useful in treating erectile dysfunction, diabetes, hypertension and hepatitis-c.

3. Siberian Ginseng

It is not a true Ginseng. It is completely different from American and Asian Ginseng and has different active chemical components. It is more useful for maintaining good health rather than treating ill-health. Its regular use said to improve memory and increase longevity.

Is It Safe To Take Ginseng While Breastfeeding?

Is It Safe To Take Ginseng While Breastfeeding

Image: iStock

Although there is lack of basic knowledge on the indication for use and safety of herbs used by women during lactation? Women who are breastfeeding should take extra caution about certain drugs that might affect their infant and may produce adverse side effects in them. Here are some great sources that can provide us valuable information regarding use of ginseng while breastfeeding.

  • Dr. Hale’s book medications and mother’s milk is a great book that guide us about medication during lactation period. In this book, he has listed ginseng as a herbal drug that should be avoid during pregnancy, though in a separate entry he gives it an L3 (moderately safe).
  • According to KellyMom there is no data on the transfer of ginseng in to human milk and while no paediatric concern reported but caution is urged with the use of ginseng(1).
  • There is one more informational finding about use of ginseng during breastfeeding. The research says that although there is no evidence exists on the safety and efficacy of ginseng in nursing mothers and infants but because of its possible estrogenic activity and lack of information it should be avoided during breastfeeding(2).
  • EMedtv states the adverse effect of ginseng on breast milk. They said that since ginseng has estrogenic like effects, it could theoretically decrease the quality and quantity of breast milk(3).
  • According to Dr. Jay Gordon extreme caution should be taken when using Panax ginseng. There have been reported paediatric cases of tachycardia and hypertension that appears to be in direct correlation between breastfeeding mother’s uses of panax ginseng. The other possible side effects of ginseng while breastfeeding are nervousness, shakiness, insomnia, skin rashes, heightened anxiety and diarrhea. Logic would allow, though Ginseng contain such strong chemical compound (Ginsenosides) it is not wise to expose a baby’s delicate immune systems to such adverse effects. The mother should also be aware that Panax ginsengs could contribute to a low milk supply(4).

[ Read: Is Echinacea Safe While Breastfeeding ]

Best Steps To Take:

As a conclusion if you are a nursing mother,

  • You should follow a healthy life style and take extra care about your diet (healthy, balanced and on time) and daily routine for proper nourishment of baby.
  • Always concern a medical professional before taking any medication.

[ Read: Breastfeeding Diet ]

  • Do not assume herbal medicine 100% safe, just because they are natural. These herbs can be powerful and some are can be potentially dangerous and toxic.
  • Although ginseng is a powerful herb that has great advantages for a normal adult, but because there is no fixed evidence regarding its safety for lactating women, it is best to avoid it during lactation. And try to choose another option for combating mental and physical stress under proper medical supervision.

Moms, do you have any special diet routine while breastfeeding? Or any other supplement that has benefited you? Please do not forget to share with us. Until then, happy parenting!

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