I am a breastfeeding mother and i want to know if it is safe to use Peppermint? Is Peppermint safe for nursing mother and child? Does Peppermint extracts into breast milk? Does Peppermint has any long term or short term side effects on infants? Can Peppermint influence milk supply or can Peppermint decrease milk supply in lactating mothers?
Peppermint lactation summary
DrLact safety Score for Peppermint is 1 out of 8 which is considered Safe as per our analyses.
A safety Score of 1 indicates that usage of Peppermint is mostly safe during lactation for breastfed baby.
Our study of different scientific research also indicates that Peppermint does not cause any serious side effects in breastfeeding mothers.
Most of scientific studies and research papers declaring usage of Peppermint safe in breastfeeding are based on normal dosage and may not hold true for higher 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 Peppermint usage in lactation
Herb which is widely used by many cultures. It has been used even for pain relief during pregnancy and colicky pain in fussy babies (without proved data on this). Since it is non toxic at appropriate dose and a tiny excretion into breast milk of active metabolite Menthol, a moderate consumption is believed compatible while breastfeeding. Dessicated leaves and essential oil of the plant that contains Menthol are used. Properties that have been demonstrated and approved indications are: as spasmolytic for Dyspepsia, Irritable Colon and flatulence. It has been used for the treatment of cracked nipple with best results than placebo or Lanolin. Although with no proven effectiveness, it is traditionally used for cough relief, common cold, pain or itching by local application or inhalation. Overdosing of essential oil may be harmful. Do not expose infants to inhalation of products that contain Menthol (irritation of the air way) In case of use on the nipple, do it after feeding the baby and cleanse thoroughly the surface before the next one.
Answer by DrLact: About Peppermint usage in lactation
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) contains menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate as major ingredients. Minor ingredients include 1,8-cineole, pulegone, bitter substances, caffeic acid, flavonoids, and tannins. Peppermint is a purported galactogogue; however, no scientifically valid clinical trials support this use. Galactogogues should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors that affect milk production. Topical peppermint gel and solutions have been studied for the prevention of pain and cracked nipples and areolas in nursing women. The peppermint preparations were more effective than placebo and expressed breastmilk, and about as effective as lanolin, although a meta-analysis concluded that application of nothing or breastmilk may be superior to lanolin, but good studies are lacking. Menthol is excreted into breastmilk in small quantities; the excretion of other components have not been studied. Peppermint is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) as a food by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Large doses can cause heartburn, nausea and vomiting. Allergic reactions, including headache, have been reported to menthol. If peppermint is used on the nipples, it should be used after nursing and wiped off before the next nursing. 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.
Peppermint Side Effects in Breastfeeding
Nursing mothers who were participating in an experiment on the excretion of 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol) in breastmilk took a 100 mg capsule of 1,8-cineole orally. Although instructed not to, 12 mothers breastfed their infants during the experiment. Mothers reported that none of their infants refused their milk or breastfed less than usual. Two mothers felt that their infants were more agitated a few hours after breastfeeding. A third mother reported that the infant stopped nursing from time to time and "looked puzzled", but resumed nursing. Upon repeating the experiment 6 weeks later, the infant did not react in an unusual way during breastfeeding.
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