Last update: Feb. 11, 2019
Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.
Euphorbiaceae is a family of plants found in tropical zones with more than 7,000 different species, with differing composition, properties and traditional uses.
Two of these species, Euphorbia lancifolia or Ixbut in Mayan language, originated in Central America (Botanical 2018, Castle 2014, Rosengarten1982), and Euphorbia hirta or dudhi, native to India (Kumar 2010, Rajith, 2010, Sayed 2007), are traditionally attributed galactogogue effects, which has not been confirmed by any scientific studies.
Ixbut is widely used in Guatemala and several Mesoamerican countries as a galactogogue (Botanical 2018, Castle 2014).
Studies of ixbut in general and of its galactogogue properties are very rare, old and have poor methodology (Castillo 2014).
An experimental study, which was well done but had few cases, showed that although mothers taking ixbut felt they had higher milk production, there were no significant variations in the quantity or composition of the milk produced (Tzapín 2005).
Ixbut is rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron and fibre (Rosengarten1982).
Euphorbia hirta (dudhi) can cause gastrointestinal irritation if consumed in excess (Bhatia 2014).
These plants are widely used in several cultures, even during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Given the lack of toxicity at the right dose, moderate consumption would be compatible with breastfeeding.
The best galactogogue is frequent on demand breastfeeding with correct technique in a mother who is self-confident (ABM 2018 y 2011, Mannion 2012, Forinash 2012).
Precautions when taking plant preparations:
1. Ensure that they are from reliable source: poisoning has occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties, poisonings from heavy metals that are extracted from the soil and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi (Anderson 2017).
2. Do not take too much; follow recommendations from experienced phytotherapy professionals. "Natural" products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which a large part of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause intoxication or act as endocrine disruptors (they contain phytoestrogens: Powers 2015, Zava 1998) if they are taken in exaggerated quantities or over extended time periods.
Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.
Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.
Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.