Galactagogues [ ga·lac·ta·gogue ]

Galactagogues are medications or substances that can induce or enhance breast milk production.

These medications or herbs are sometimes used for inadequate milk supply or induced lactation,as in the case of breastfeeding an adopted baby, and relactation.

Herbal Galactagogues

Many mothers have succeeded giving their breastmilk production a boost using herbs.

The most successful and commonly used herbal galactagogues are fenugreek and blessed thistle. Others include milk thistle, alfalfa, anise, astragalus root, brewer's yeast, burdock, goat's rue, nettles, fennel, and vervain.

Brewer's Yeast

The common capsule dosage is 3-5 tablets, taken three times daily.

This natural milk booster is a rich source of B vitamins, protein and essential amino acids, minerals, and iron.

A good thing about brewer's yeast is that it does not usually cause gassiness or side effects in breastfed babies of mothers using it.

Women who suffer from frequent thrush and yeast infections may want to avoid introducing additional yeast into their systems.

Fennel Seed

(Foeniculum vulgare) Fennel is a bitter traditionally used to increase milk supply and also also to dispell gas.

Goat's Rue

(Galega officinalis) Dried Goat's Rue leaves otherwise known as, French Lilac, are used to make a tea-like infusion. 1 tsp of dried leaves are infused in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes twice per day.

This herb can increase milk production and flow.

Other side effects are reduced blood sugar levels, sweating, and urine output.


(Humulus lupulus) Hops are usually used as a sedative for insomnia. Hops work to stimulate milk production by helping to regulate hormonal production.

Mothers Milk Tea

The seeds should be ground up so that water can come in contact with the inner parts when brewed inyo tea. Pour boiling water over the herbs and cover and steep for about 15 minutes. The common dosage is about 1 ounce of herb per pint of water.

2 parts Fennel

1 part Nettle

1 part Blessed Thistle

1 part Fenugreek

1/2 part Hops

Nettle Leaf

(Urtica urens) Nettles is known to be a female tonic herb. It is rich in trace minerals and vitamins and is accepted as a milk production enhancer. This herb is an excellent source of digestible iron.

Medications that can increase breastmilk supply are also available by prescription.

Galactagogue Drugs


Domperidone - Motilium, increases prolactin and breastmilk supply. This is the only galactagogue proven effective through a small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. It has fewer side effects in the mother, and no side effects have been reported in infants.


The most extensively studied galactagogue, proven to be safe and effective, is metoclopramide known by its commercial name, Reglan. Metoclopramide also stimulates prolactin release. Potential side effects include fatigue, anxiety, dizziness, diarrhea, and gastric cramping. There have been no documented reactions in infants exposed to metoclopramide in breastmilk.


Chlorpromazine is sometimes used as an alternative to or in conjunction with metoclopramide. On occasions, when unsuccessful, methyldopa may be added.


Oxytocin, taken orally or with a nasal spray, has been used in women with inadequate milk supply and is involved in causing milk letdown or milk ejection reflex.

Herbal galactagogues - Fenugreek