Re essential oils for milk production on:

I was sent an image file which appeared on the breast feeding group above suggesting that certain essential oils could help with milk supply.  This is horrific information because there is nothing to validate such a claim and the uses are contraindicated. As I am a herbalist specializing in essential oil safety, I can usually make a good guess as to the origin of such information. It is a corruption of traditional use for the herb which can be completely different to the actions of the essential oil. The multilevel marketers are probably responsible for this dangerous information. They are notorious for providing inadequate training and the FDA has warned them about their illegal claims.

The use of any of these essential oils on the skin is not advisable during breastfeeding. There is a body of knowledge from scientific studies on olfaction where there seems to be a link between a mother’s natural odour and the babies perception of who its mother is. To cover that vital natural smell by using powerful smelling essential oils is inviting trouble because the babies’ sense of smell may become confused. To advise its use as a massage from the armpits upwards shows the author has no idea about essential oil safety.  Any hot sweaty areas are a contraindication for the use of essential oils as a skin sensitization (allergic) reaction can be initiated which can be permanent.

Below are the conditions that their file suggests along with my comments:

“Basil oil promotes milk production”. There is no sound evidence for such a claim, and certainly not from skin application.

“Geranium oil promotes milk production” As above.

“Clary Sage promotes initial milk supply” No evidence for the oil although the herb has been used for uterine problems following a pregnancy.

“Fennel oil promotes initial and continued milk supply”  This is a corruption of chewing fennel seeds. These seeds contain vitamins, minerals (high in calcium which forms part of breastmilk, and other nutritional substances, but the vitamins and minerals do not occur in essential oils.  More on that in my web site articles.

It makes me so sad that a new mother might deter her baby from breast feeding by following such information on these dreadful blog sites.

For more on pregnancy and herbs and breast feeding and oils there are two files on my none commercial web site:

Martin Watt