Question

I am a breastfeeding mother and i want to know if it is safe to use Echinacea? Is Echinacea safe for nursing mother and child? Does Echinacea extracts into breast milk? Does Echinacea has any long term or short term side effects on infants? Can Echinacea influence milk supply or can Echinacea decrease milk supply in lactating mothers?

Echinacea lactation summary

Echinacea usage has low risk in breastfeeding
  • DrLact safety Score for Echinacea is 3 out of 8 which is considered Low Risk as per our analyses.
  • A safety Score of 3 indicates that usage of Echinacea may cause some minor side effects in breastfed baby.
  • Our study of different scientific research indicates that Echinacea may cause moderate to no side effects in lactating mother.
  • Most of scientific studies and research papers declaring usage of Echinacea low risk in breastfeeding are based on normal dosage and may not hold true for higher dosage.
  • While using Echinacea We suggest monitoring child for possible reactions. It is also important to understand that side effects vary largely based on age of breastfed child and time of medication in addition to dosage.
  • Score calculated using the DrLact safety Version 1.2 model, this score ranges from 0 to 8 and measures overall safety of drug in lactation. Scores are primarily calculated using publicly available case studies, research papers, other scientific journals and publically available data.

Answer by Dr. Ru: About Echinacea usage in lactation

Plant that is widely used even during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Because a lack of toxicity with an appropriate dose and moderate consumption it should be compatible with breastfeeding. The roots and aerial summits are used. It contains polysaccharides, essential oil, flavonoids, pyrrolizidine alkaloids among others. Unproven effects: immune stimulant, wound healing, anti-inflammatory. Indications are: common cold, bronchitis, skin lesions.Roots and aerial summits are used. It contains polysaccharides, essential oil, flavonoids, pyrrolizidine alkaloids ... Unproven effects: immune stimulant, wound healing, anti-inflammatory. Indications according to Commission E of German Ministry of Health: common cold, bronchitis, skin lesions. Contrary to the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP), the European Medication Agency does not recommend usage in younger than 12 years (allergy risk). Avoid using for longer than 8 weeks (risk for leukopenia)

Answer by DrLact: About Echinacea usage in lactation

Echinacea species (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida) contain high molecular weight polysaccharides (e.g., heteroxylan, arabinogalactan) and lower molecular weight compounds (e.g., alkylamides, caffeoyl conjugates such as cichoric acid and echinacosides), but no single chemical is known to be responsible for echinacea's biological activity. Some products have been standardized based on echinacoside, and others on cichoric acid. Echinacea has no specific uses during breastfeeding, but is commonly used orally to treat or prevent upper respiratory infections. It is also used topically to treat skin infections. Excretion of some of the purportedly active alkamides was found in breastmilk in one mother. No data exist on the safety and efficacy of echinacea in nursing mothers or infants. In general, echinacea is well tolerated with gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea and constipation, skin rash and rarely allergic reactions reported. It may also alter the metabolism of some dugs metabolized by the P450 enzyme system. Some sources indicate that echinacea is safe in recommended doses,[1] while others recommend avoiding it during breastfeeding because of the lack of published safety data. Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information #about dietary supplements# is available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Alternate Drugs

Rhubarb(Low Risk)
Coriander(Safe)
Calendula(Safe)
Ginkgo(Low Risk)
Sage(Low Risk)
Licorice(Unsafe)
Caraway(Safe)
Chamomile(Safe)
Cumin(Safe)
Hops(Low Risk)
Lecithin(Safe)
Fenugreek(Safe)
Coenzyme Q10(Low Risk)
Lavender(Low Risk)
Basil(Unsafe)
Chasteberry(Unsafe)
Castor(Unsafe)
Nutmeg(Low Risk)
Oregano(Low Risk)
Garlic(Safe)
Ginger(Safe)
Cranberry(Safe)
Alfalfa(Unsafe)
Dong Quai(Low Risk)
Melatonin(Safe)
Aloe(Low Risk)
Echinacea(Low Risk)
Rhubarb(Low Risk)
Coriander(Safe)
Calendula(Safe)
Ginkgo(Low Risk)
Sage(Low Risk)
Licorice(Unsafe)
Caraway(Safe)
Chamomile(Safe)
Cumin(Safe)
Hops(Low Risk)
Lecithin(Safe)
Fenugreek(Safe)
Lavender(Low Risk)
Basil(Unsafe)
Chasteberry(Unsafe)
Castor(Unsafe)
Nutmeg(Low Risk)
Oregano(Low Risk)
Garlic(Safe)
Ginger(Safe)
Cranberry(Safe)
Dong Quai(Low Risk)
Aloe(Low Risk)
Echinacea(Low Risk)
Calendula(Safe)
Ginkgo(Low Risk)
Sage(Low Risk)
Licorice(Unsafe)
Caraway(Safe)
Chamomile(Safe)
Cumin(Safe)
Hops(Low Risk)
Lecithin(Safe)
Fenugreek(Safe)
Lavender(Low Risk)
Basil(Unsafe)
Chasteberry(Unsafe)
Castor(Unsafe)
Nutmeg(Low Risk)
Oregano(Low Risk)
Garlic(Safe)
Ginger(Safe)
Cranberry(Safe)
Dong Quai(Low Risk)
Aloe(Low Risk)
Echinacea(Low Risk)
Rhubarb(Low Risk)
Coriander(Safe)
Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. We do not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.