Because no studies have been conducted on ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) and breastfeeding, it is not known whether the supplement passes through breast milk or whether it is safe for women who are breastfeeding. Ginkgo biloba is claimed to stimulate breast milk production, but there is no scientific evidence for this claim. Before taking ginkgo biloba, breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare providers about any potential risks.
An Overview of Ginkgo Biloba and Breastfeeding
It is not known if ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) supplements are safe for use in breastfeeding women. Ginkgo biloba is an herbal remedy often used to enhance memory, although it is sometimes claimed to be useful for other purposes as well. As is the case with most herbal supplements, very little information is available about the use of ginkgo biloba in breastfeeding women.
Can I Take Ginkgo Biloba While Breastfeeding?
It is not known if ginkgo biloba passes through breast milk, and it is not known if ginkgo biloba is safe for breastfeeding women. Although it is sometimes claimed that ginkgo biloba can stimulate breast milk production, there is no real scientific basis for such claims.
Even though ginkgo biloba is a "natural" product, it does not necessarily mean that it is safe for use while breastfeeding. Many women try to avoid medications while breastfeeding and turn to herbal remedies as an alternative, assuming that "natural" automatically means "safe." However, natural products can be quite toxic. For instance, many poisons and toxins are natural products. It just does not make sense to use an herbal supplement for which there is no information available about its safety while breastfeeding.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Ginkgo Biloba and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about ginkgo biloba and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about ginkgo biloba and breastfeeding that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed March 10, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: ginkgo (September 2005). NCCAM Web site. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ginkgo/. Accessed March 10, 2008.
Dugoua JJ, Mills E, Perri D, Koren G. Safety and efficacy of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol 2006;13(3):e277-84.
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