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Positive outcomes of herbal medicine use among breastfeeding mothers


Researchers from the University of Sierra Leone and University of Technology Sydney examined the prevalence and beneficial effects of herbal medicine use during breastfeeding. The team published their findings in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • The use of medications, including herbal medicine, is always a concern among breastfeeding women.
  • The researchers conducted a cross-sectional study among 378 breastfeeding mothers visiting public healthcare facilities within the western area of Sierra Leone.
  • They used descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis for data analysis.
  • Out of all the participants, 140 of them used herbal medicines during breastfeeding.
  • However, only three of them used herbal medicine to improve breastfeeding.
  • Dietary changes were the most common method used to increase breast milk supply.
  • Cassava leaves sauce and tubers were the most common dietary addition.
  • Mothers with children over six months old were more likely to use herbal medicines than those with younger children.
  • This could be associated with several factors, such as the mothers’ concern that younger infants are more likely to experience an overdose or adverse events from indirect ingestion of herbal medicine.
  • As for those who used herbal medicine, the researchers speculated that they might have used it to treat their own conditions and maintaining their own health and wellbeing.
  • Among herbal medicine users, only 16 of them disclosed their herbal medicine use to their conventional healthcare providers as most of them thought that it was not necessary information.

Overall, the findings suggested that some breastfeeding mothers take herbal medicines although not for increasing the production and supply of breast milk.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

Read more studies on the use of herbal medicines of women at WomensHealth.news.

Journal Reference:

James PB, Kaikai AI, Bah AJ, Steel A, Wardle J. HERBAL MEDICINE USE DURING BREASTFEEDING: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY AMONG MOTHERS VISITING PUBLIC HEALTH FACILITIES IN THE WESTERN AREA OF SIERRA LEONE. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 15 March 2019; 19(66). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-019-2479-7



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