Breastfeeding has many benefits for mother and baby. Breast milk not only provides good nutrition but also passes on helpful antibodies. It can lead to a lower risk of asthma, eczema, respiratory infections, and more for the baby. Mothers who have breastfed may also have lower rates of certain types of breast and ovarian cancers.

Poor milk flow, inflammation, and pain can prevent or limit breastfeeding. Medical treatments or lifestyle changes may help with some of these problems. Some natural remedies may also help.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

May Not Be Effective

The following natural supplement may not be effective in reducing symptoms:

  • Cabbage leaves used to decrease breast engorgement C1, C2
  • Acupuncture to enhance breast milk production and reduce inflammation A1, A2

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Avoid

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements you are taking. Some may be passed into breast milk and affect your baby.



REFA1 Kvist LJ, Hall-Lord ML, et al. A randomised-controlled trial in Sweden of acupuncture and care interventions for the relief of inflammatory symptoms of the breast during lactation. Midwifery. 2007 Jun;23(2):184-195.

REFA2 Neri I. Allais G, et al. Acupuncture treatment as breastfeeding support: preliminary data. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Feb;17(2):133-137.


REFB1 Sayyah Melli M, Rashidi MR, et al. Effect of peppermint water on prevention of nipple cracks in lactating primiparous women: a randomized controlled trial. Int Breastfeed J. 2007 Apr 19;2:7.

REFB2 Turkilmaz C, Onal E, et al. The effect of galactagogue herbal tea on breast milk production and short-term catch-up of birth weight in the first week of life. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Feb;17(2):139-142.

REFB3 Mortel M, Mehta SD. Systematic review of the efficacy of herbal galactogogues. J Hum Lact. 2013 May;29(2):154-162.

REFB4 Zecca E, Zuppa AA, et al. Efficacy of a galactogogue containing silymarin-phosphatidylserine and galega in mothers of preterm infants: a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Oct;70(10):1151-1154.


REFC1 Saini P, Saini R. Cabbage leaves and breast engorgement. Indian J Public Health. 2014 Oct-Dec;58(4):291-292.

REFC2 Mangesi L, Zakarija-Grkovic I. Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Jun 28;(6):CD006946.

REFC3 Wong BB, Chan YH, et al. Application of cabbage leaves compared to gel packs for mothers with breast engorgement: randomised controlled trial. Int J Nurs Stud. 2017 Nov;76:92-99.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board
  • Review Date: 05/2019
  • Update Date: 06/14/2019