Since no studies have been conducted on breastfeeding and ginseng, it is not known whether the supplement passes through breast milk or whether it is safe for nursing women. Ginseng could theoretically decrease the quality and quantity of breast milk, since it may have estrogen-like effects. Before taking ginseng, nursing women should talk to their healthcare providers about any potential risks.
I'm Breastfeeding -- Can I Take Ginseng?
It is not known whether ginseng supplements are safe for use in breastfeeding women. As is the case with most herbal supplements (and many medications), very little information is available about the use of ginseng in nursing women.
This article refers to Panax ginseng (also known as Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, and Korean ginseng). This type of ginseng should not be confused with American ginseng or Siberian ginseng, which are entirely different herbs.
Can I Take Ginseng While Breastfeeding?
It is not known whether ginseng passes through breast milk, and it is not known whether ginseng is safe for breastfeeding women. Theoretically, ginseng could decrease the quantity and quality of breast milk, since it may have estrogen-like effects. Most sources recommend that breastfeeding women should not take ginseng, until more information is available.
Although it is a "natural" product, this does not necessarily mean that ginseng is safe for use while you are nursing. Many women try to avoid medications while breastfeeding and turn to herbal remedies as an alternative, assuming that "natural" automatically means "safe."
However, natural products can be quite toxic. For instance, many poisons and toxins are natural products. It just does not make sense to use an herbal supplement when there is no information available about its safety while breastfeeding.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed March 11, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: Asian ginseng (September 2005). NCCAM Web site. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/asianginseng/. Accessed March 11, 2008.
Kiefer D, Pantuso T. Panax ginseng. Am Fam Physician 2003;68:1539-42.
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