I am a breastfeeding mother and i want to know if it is safe to use Withania? Is Withania safe for nursing mother and child? Does Withania extracts into breast milk? Does Withania has any long term or short term side effects on infants? Can Withania influence milk supply or can Withania decrease milk supply in lactating mothers?
Withania (Withania somnifera) roots and berries contain alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins. It is called ashwagandha in ayurvedic medicine where it is sometimes used as a galactogogue. However, no scientifically valid clinical trials support this use. Galactogogues should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors that affect milk production. No data exist on the excretion of any components of Withania into breastmilk or on the safety and efficacy of Withania in nursing mothers or infants. In general, Withania is generally well tolerated in adults with occasional gastrointestinal upset and allergic skin reactions. It should be used cautiously by patients with diabetes or hypertension. Because there is no published experience with Withania during breastfeeding, it should be avoided, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant. 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.
Forty women who complained of an insufficient milk supply at 5 days postpartum were given a combination herbal supplement as 2 capsules of Lactare (Pharma Private Ltd., Madras, India) 3 times daily. Each capsule contained wild asparagus 200 mg, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) 100 mg, fenugreek 50 mg, licorice 50 mg, and garlic 20 mg. By day 4 of therapy, no infants required supplementary feeding. Infants were weighed before and after each feeding on day 5 of maternal therapy to determine the amount of milk ingested. On the day of the test weighing, infants' milk intake averaged 388 mL, and the fluid and caloric intake was considered adequate. This study cannot be considered as valid evidence of a galactogogue effect of these herbs because it lacks randomization, blinding, a placebo control, and maternal instruction in breastfeeding technique. Additionally, infants were breastfed only 6 to 8 times daily, which is insufficient to maximize milk supply.
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