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Anti-Lactogenix – Herbs, Meds, Vitamins, and Foods that can undermine milk production

Anti-Lactogenix – Herbs, Meds, Vitamins, and Foods that can undermine milk production

Register for Autumn ’22 classes for mothers, IBCLCs and postpartum caregivers here.

Anti-Lactogenix – Herbs, Meds, Vitamins, and Foods that can undermine milk production

This blogpost is an excerpt from a work-in-progress. It also serves as background information for a class I currently give for mothers, IBCLCs, and postpartum caregivers. Register for classes here.

Let’s start by looking at the foods, herbs, supplements, and medications that can interfere with milk production.

Herbs that can Reduce Milk Supply:

We do not know why these herbs have the reputation of reducing milk supply. However, reports are common enough that lactation consultants now advise mothers to avoid the following herbs, especially they are having a difficult phase with milk production. 

Avoid these as extracts and flavorings in candy, breath mints, toothpaste, medicine, foods and beverages.

Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, peppermint, spearmint, walnut shell, yarrow.

  • Each mother’s sensitivity will differ. We are each unique individuals, after all.

 Warning: The essential oil of oregano leaf is a popular antibacterial, antifungal, and antivirus medicinal treatment. It can be effective against hard-to-treat infections such as flues and urinary tract infections. However, oregano oil is often observed to decrease milk production. Use with caution.

When to Alternate Herbs

  • Some mothers find they have to alternate any combination of herbs every few days to avoid their effects wearing off.
  • Fennel Seed: Begins by increasing milk supply and milk flow, but continuous can have a drying effect and reduce supply.

NOTE: When taking the same supplements every day, pausing one day a week can prevent the body from becoming desensitized to the supplements. The same holds true for lactogenic foods and herbs. 

Common Medications that Reduce Milk Supply

  • Many cold, sinus, and allergy medications (such as Sudafed, Advil Cold, Sinus, or Claritin-D) have a drying effect on the mucus membranes. They contain pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that can dry up your milk supply. 
  • Birth control pills and injections and hormone-based IUDs often reduce supply.
  • Wellbutrin and Zyban (both a form of bupropion) are known to reduce milk supply.

Dopamine Enhancers

Dopamine is a chemical that conducts signals between nerves. Dopamine also acts as a hormone and is involved in metabolic processes in the kidneys and spleen.

Normal levels of dopamine are lactation-friendly, but higher levels of dopamine suppress the pituitary’s production of prolactin which in turn decreases milk supply.

–Not all women have a sensitive reaction to dopamine-enhancers, yet it is wise to be aware of their potential to reduce milk production.

The two main dopamine enhancers are described below: B6 and Aspartame.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme in the synthesis of dopamine.

Too much vitamin B6 will increase dopamine and lower prolactin. In fact, decades ago, B6 was used like bromocriptine today, to suppress lactation after childbirth.

While vitamin B6 is crucially important for nerve health, continually taking too much (more than 200 mg a day) can lead to nerve damage.

A high dose of B6 is sometimes recommended for Reynaud’s (when the nipple painfully blanches white). According to Dr. Newman, 200 mg of vitamin B6 per day is an upper limit for Reynauds. However, if a mother is dealing with supply issues, it may be wise to keep that dose lower, to 150 mg a day.

B6 can be found in breakfast cereals, protein bars, sports drinks, and also in supplements of other nutrients. If you have milk supply problems, examine the ingredients of the foods, beverages and supplements that you use or eat frequently. You might discover that you are over-dosing on B6.


Aspartame, a zero-calorie sweetener, is in NutraSweet, Equal, Candarel, Pal Sweet Diet, and AminoSweet.

Aspartame is found in sugarless sodas, candies, chewing gum, mints, cereal, jellies, deserts, and sweeteners, and it is also used as a flavoring in medication.

Aspartame is metabolized into an amino acid called phenylalanine, which is a precursor to dopamine. High dopamine reduces prolactin and can impact milk supply.

Aspartame interacts with neurochemistry, gut integrity, and cortisol.

It is not unusual for people to consume aspartame in various foods and beverages every day, and, when trying to stop, to go through withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.

Aspartame should be avoided during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, as it is believed to trigger seizures in some people.

When trying to stop a food habit that involves aspartame, be prepared for withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.

Tip for Healthcare Providers: Help your client identify sources of aspartame, and discuss a gradual reduction.

Too-much Caffeine

Caffeine is found in soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, coffee, mate, black, green, and white tea, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate (but not white chocolate).

When we produce milk, the hormones cortisol, insulin, and estrogen are kept in a specific balance that puts a pause on ovulation and menstruation and supports milk production.

Caffeine elevates the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Too much cortisol impairs insulin, a hormone that regulates milk supply. High cortisol also increases dopamine and reduces prolactin. Clearly, caffeine is a milk-buster if over-used.

Many people who over-consume caffeine have a genuine need to be awake and alert, such as a student studying for a test or a doctor on the night shift. Mothers commonly turn to caffeine to get through the initial exhausting weeks and months of infant care—unaware that this can inhibit milk production. 


Over-eating chocolate, another source of caffeine-like chemicals also increases stress hormones with the potential to reduce supply. Some women have reported better milk flow after they eliminate the last bit of chocolate from their diets. 

On the other hand, high-quality chocolate, eaten moderately, is very lactogenic. Indeed, centuries ago, unprocessed cacao beans (half cacao powder, half cacao fat) were famous across Europe as a galactagogue.

Consider this: the over-use of caffeine actually depletes the body’s energy reserves. First, it uses up your reserves of magnesium, needed for the health of the nerves, for good sleep, and for a calm and steady heart rhythm. Magnesium also relaxes the lungs and reduces the bronchial spasms of asthma.

Caffeine also empties the mitochondria, the energy batteries of cells.

Stress hormones can paralyze the peripheral parts of the nervous system. This reduces blood circulation to the breasts.

Your takeaway: It makes sense that the overuse of caffeine would not be good for milk supply. But if caffeine is enjoyed moderately and the diet is otherwise based on lactogenic ingredients, caffeine is most likely not a problem for the vast majority of mothers.

Anti-Lactogenic: Astringents

The American Heritage online dictionary defines astringents as:

“A substance that draws together or constricts body tissues and is effective in stopping the flow of blood or other secretions.”

You might be familiar with the word “astringent” from face care: astringent lotions are used to tighten and tone the skin and shrink and close the pores.

It appears that some women’s breast tissue responds sensitively to astringent foods, beverages and herbs. The tightening and constricting of mammary tissue would reduce blood circulation, limit the action of hormones, lessen the letdown, constrict the milk ducts and reduce milk flow.

Women who have less developed mammary glandular tissue may be more vulnerable to the effects of astringent foods, but all mothers are best advised to avoid them in the early weeks. 

The structures between the cells of the mammary glandular tissue, the so-called Extracellular Matrix, may be inhibited or constricted by dehydration and astringents. The matrix would be supported through foods that moisten, hydrate, and soften the Extracellular Matrix. This is one was that many lactogenic foods and beverages support mammary development and function. This is the subject of my book-in-progress and also of the class I am currently giving. Register for classes here.

Astringent Foods, Beverages, and Vitamins

  • Astringent foods are mouth-puckering. Think sour and acidic as in pickles and citrus fruit.
  • They can also feel mouth-drying. Think strong black tea.

Astringent foods include acidic foods, such as citrus juice, citric acid, and all fruit juices that contain citric acid; vitamin C (ascorbic acid), sour berries, and fruit.

Some mothers may also need to avoid carbonated beverages. They are made with carbonic acid and are somewhat acidic. Mothers might also use soft drinks to suppress their hunger and reduce their caloric intake, which will also undermine the milk supply.

  • Soft drinks, sports drinks, and carbonated water may also contain caffeine, citric acid, and vitamin B6, all of which reduce supply.
  • Red raspberry leaf tea is rich in tannins—it has that mouth-puckering feel to it.

Your takeaway: think about which sour, mouth-puckering and mouth-drying foods and beverages are part of your diet. Reduce or eliminate them until your milk supply is well established.

I learned about the milk-busting effect of sour and acidic foods and beverages from a German nutritionist. At that time, I was drinking bottles of carbonated “mineral water” each day. When I stopped, my supply finally began to grow.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and Citric Acid

Vitamin C is an acid. In my counseling of mothers with insufficient glandular tissue, we included vitamin C in the list of foods and supplements to avoid because of its constricting effect on the tissue of the breasts.

Many mothers reported that avoiding vitamin C did in fact improve their ability to naturally increase their milk supply.

We found the same to be true of citric acid, which is found in many beverages and packaged foods. 


Some mothers eliminate even more mouth-puckering foods such as sour tomato, paprika, sour apples, and cucumber. A few mothers have said that it helps.

Avocado is a question mark. You may have noticed that some avocados are sour and mouth puckering. I myself noticed that avocados inhibited rather than supported my supply. That may be more important if you have a condition called IGT (insufficient glandular tissue).

A Special Case: Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are frequently recommended from mother to mother and sometimes also by well-meaning healthcare providers to increase milk supply.

These drinks contain the electrolytes that improve hydration.

Many of us are chronically under-hydrated. We are not eating a mineral-rich diet and may be lacking sufficient electrolytes. Milk production may in fact respond to these beverages.

However, some sports drinks contain anti-lactogenic ingredients: carbonation, citric acid, vitamin C, vitamin B6, or other B vitamins. If several bottles of sports drinks are consumed each day, these ingredients can add up and have an anti-lactogenic effect.

During the early postpartum, traditional societies serve mothers beverages and food that are especially hydrating, and that support the development of the mammary and areola glandular tissues. (These are discusses in my book Mother Food and also in the class I am currently giving.)

Beverages that contain oat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk are a good alternative to sports drinks, for instance: Horchata can be made with one or more of these. 

Some sports drinks contain 7 or more teaspoons of sugar. If a mother drinks a bottle before nursing and had a sudden surge of milk supply, this is a red flag for insulin resistance: the sugar in the beverage, as well as the electrolytes, are helping the signals of insulin reach her breast and signal the production and release of milk.

Drinking a beverage sweetened with honey or eating a high-quality WHITE chocolate bar are two healthy ways to overcome the insulin resistance and turn on the milk making.

I hope you have enjoyed and learned something through this blog post. If you have suggestions to add or questions, please post below.

Copyright (C) is reserved for Hilary Jacobson and MILLC. For permission to use, contact me.

Thank you. Hilary Jacobson

A Historic Study on Lactation and Diet

A Historic Study on Lactation and Diet

A Historic Study on Lactation and Diet

In present-day discourse about the lactogenic diet and galactagogues, studies are blindingly absent. Historically, after the mid-1900s, the idea that scientifically developed formula was better than actual breastmilk took hold of our collective minds, and any interest in the effects of herbs and foods on women’s milk production ceased to exist. However, before that time, MDs did occasionally conduct research studies on women during the first week or two after childbirth.

The study below was special because it spanned 24 days and gleaned information about six different diets and their effect on milk production. A German journal of midwifery published the summarized results in 1903. However, the journal includes various studies and observations “since 1888” so we don’t know the actual date of the study:

260 mothers received six different diets, each kind lasting four days and then moving on to the next. The researchers looked at changes in milk production during each diet: the amount of milk produced and the fat content. The differences were considerable.





Lactogenic Diet Study from 1903

Monthly Magazine for Midwifery and Gynecology, Band XVIII, Berlin 1903

Publisher: Verlag von S. Karger

Reports and Lectures: A Review and Overview from Professor Dr. Stolz-Graz

(The collection describes the literature since the year 1888.)



About the influence of the kind of nutrition upon the milk production, Temesvary studied 216 nursing women 1-2 weeks postpartum with SIX dietary forms, in consecutive 4 day periods. The dietary forms were:

  • normal diet, mixed foods
  • Milk diet
  • mostly plant-based diet
  • mostly meat-based diet
  • an abundant, mixed diet
  • normal diet with 4/5 – 1 Liter of Beer pro day

The quantity of the produced milk was the strongest with the abundant, mixed diet. Here was also the absolute amount of milk-fat the largest.

Pertaining to the varying amounts of fat, the abundant mixed diet was followed by the normal mixed diet. The least amount of fat was seen in the mostly plant-based and mostly meat-based diets.

In the case of the normal diet with additional Beer, the quantity of milk was less, but contained significantly more fat. It follows that we recommend Beer in those cases where the quantity of milk is sufficient, but the quality is lacking due to insufficient amounts of fat.

Vegetables and water, reduced meat and other protein-rich foods increase the thinness of the milk and reduce their proportion of fat. Adding in milk, eggs, etc., increases both their relative and absolute percentages of fat content.

Von Oesele finds, that oatmeal, soups made with various flours, or rice, lentils, milk, coffee, warmbeer, fennel-tea and also keeping the breasts moderately warm supports milk production, as does fresh, green vegetables, easily digestible carbohydrates and protein derivatives. With this diet, restricting the intake of fats is advised.

An excessive intake of food by wet-nurses in combination with excessive beer and lack of exercise leads, according to Zaleski, to milk that is poor quality, because the excessive and one-sided protein diet increases the amount of fat in the milk and reduces the amount of milk-sugar.


We do not know the methods involved in the study, such as how the percentages of sugars, fats and proteins were evaluated, or how the overall quantity of the milk was measured. However, from the 1860 published book by MD Dr. Charles Routh, we do know that such investigations were taking place, and that comparisons between human and animal milk was expansive.

Still, the idea of the study is intriguing, especially as it is not a high-tech study to conduct and would not be expensive. 

If we were to reproduce this study today, several changes would of course be needed.

First, the study subjects would be mothers producing approximately the same amount of milk after one week so that their “starting point” is the same.

The groups would consist of mothers with similar metabolic types: all with IGT, or all with hypothyroid, or all pre-diabetic, or all with normal metabolism, and so on. The metabolic challenges of the mothers must be similar so that the differences shown would be due to the dietary changes.

We might also study ethnicities separately, as generations of dietary traditions and experience might create unique responses to the diets.

And study mothers with similar work histories, as exposure to toxins in different settings would have an impact.


In recent decades, the world’s population has undergone an explosion of metabolic disturbances that a century ago did not exist. Yes, at the time of this study, diabetes and heart disease were rare. This means that the mothers in this study would not have some common challenges that we have today. Their diets were not high in refined carbohydrates. They did not yet omit eating soups, gruels and broths that naturally supported mammary glandular development. Their environment did not contain exogenous estrogens from chemicals and plastics that interfere with lactation, nor did their bodies contain “forever chemicals” such as PFORs that interfere with mammary development.

Keeping this in mind, repeating this type of study using mothers with similar types and degrees of metabolic problems would be very interesting. We could add in mammary-supportive and hormone-supportive foods, and assess what helps women the most who have these different degrees and kinds of challenges.

Geez – if our “breastfeeding friendly” medical boards really cared about breastfeeding, they would already have been conducting such studies on an on-going basis, noting from decade to decade how changes in diet and lifestyle affected mothers’ ability to build an abundant and reliable milk supply, and also discovering how simple dietary measure can help reverse many of these problems.

The original study is here:

A screenshot of the publication, found in, is below.


Rest in my arms and be safe: a poem of new motherhood

Rest in my arms and be safe: a poem of new motherhood

Rest in my arms and be safe: a poem of new motherhood

Greetings my newborn,

My heart says hello.

You’ve come such a long way

To lie in my arms.

We’ve got such a long way

Together, to go.

So rest in my arms

and take strength.


So many thoughts now

Pass through my mind.

The world is so hard

And I’m frightened for you.

But now I feel trust,

And trust is our bond.

So rest in my arms

And be safe.


This brief time together

Quickens our hearts

So that we can travel

Our long road ahead.

You drink from my breasts,

I drink from your eyes.

We rest in Life’s arms,

And take strength.


by Hilary Jacobson – 2000

“Rest in my Arms” was originally written as lyrics for a song that mothers sing to their newborns. 


Once upon a time…

Once upon a time…

For information on our classes for mothers, IBCLCs, and postpartum caregivers, go HERE.

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time, my 11-year-old daughter begged me to tell her fairytales, just like when she was still little. That got me thinking. The Grimm’s Girls’ stories, aka “Fairytales,” are familiar to us as Cinderella, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, the Frog Princess, Rapunzel, and more. These stories typically feature a conflict between an adolescent girl and an older woman, be it her stepmother, older step-sister, an evil fairy, sorceress or a witch.

I asked myself: just what is this fascination with the “evil mother” all about? And why did my pre-pubescent daughter suddenly demand to hear these stories?

I started researching and re-writing traditional girls’ fairytales. In my re-told stories, rather than girls being oppressed by older, evil women, the girl and her mother come to understand each other better.

The Grimm’s Girls’ fairytales have their origins in Eurasian shamanism, a world-view that existed for tens of thousands of years. It pre-dates all modern religions, yet contains elements of all religions as well. Thinking about this, I decided that the perfect person to narrate these tales would be an elderly shamanic woman, a “Grand Mother,” living thousands of years ago. 

In my re-told Girls’ Stories, we meet the original characters of the Red Riding Hood story: a wise shamanic Grandmother, her young Girl-Apprentice, and their companion, a Half-Wolf named Fahrwa. Together, they ascend a hill. Sitting beneath a tree, they peer into the future in a shared vision quest. As they behold future times and stories, Grandmother shares the meanings of the “Old Songs.”

Each story works on several levels. (For a more in-depth discussion, see this post.) They are first of all literary narratives for adults that are told in a fairytale style. Another level is a simplified arc of European history that is embedded in the stories, and that revolves around the rarely-told suppression of women’s medicine (including herbs for lactation). The stories also represent archetypal situations: passages of life when an individual must either grow in skills and wisdom or flounder and lose their way. Such “skills and wisdom” are the “Initiations” that Grandmother reveals in the “Old Songs.”

A Book Discussion Group for my Newsletter Members

In late August and through September, I’ll hold weekly zoom meetings so that everyone who has read the book and who is a member of my newsletter can meet to talk about the stories. I am looking forward to these meetings and hope you will join!

The kindle sale ($0.99) is this week, July 12 – 16.

If you would like the paperback with black and white illustrations, it is here.

(It’s less expensive than the paperback with color illustrations, here, which costs more to print and therefore has a higher price.)

Several controversial subjects are neatly woven into the stories, so softly and subtly that you may not even notice them. I wonder, will you notice them? We’ll talk about it all in our meetings.

Join my info and course newsletter (below) to get updates on the book-discussion meetings and on classes.

Mother Food, a breastfeeding diet guide with lactogenic food and herbs

Mother's Garden of Galactagogues Cover

A Mother's Garden of Galactagogues: growing and using milk-boosting herbs and foods

Healing Breastfeeding Grief: how mothers feel and heal when breastfeeding does not go as hoped

Red Madder Root, Tales of Initiations: A Novel of Fairytales and Forgotten Histories (color illustrations)

Red Madder Root, Tales of Initiations: A Novel of Fairytales and Forgotten Histories (b&w illustrations)

For discounted bulk sales, contact us at

Beating Candidiasis safely while breastfeeding

Beating Candidiasis safely while breastfeeding

For information on our classes for mothers, IBCLCs, and postpartum caregivers, go HERE.

Beating Candidiasis safely while breastfeeding

An infection, whether from a virus, bacteria, fungus or parasite, presents a challenge to the immune system and leads to fatigue and general malaise, (also called “having the blahs”). Fungal infections in particular can be insidious, meaning, we can have them for a long time without realizing that we have them. We may not realize that they are affecting our health. Doctors might tell you, for instance, that it is normal for a mother to be tired, or that you are simply beginning to feel your age.

It gets complicated when we also have a secondary infection, whether a reactivated virus, a stealth-bacterial disease such as Lyme, a problematic digestive system with an off-kilter biome, a hormonal imbalance or mental health condition. Many “conditions” interact with and exacerbate one another. Knowing how to unravel the entangled interactions between infections, toxins, the microbiome and food allergies is the art of today’s medicine.

Candidia albicans is a common fungus that hunkers down in moist and warm parts of the body such as in the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina. Normally, candida albicans (and similar fungi and bacteria) is not a concern. However, if it dominates and over-grows, it can enter the bloodstream and colonize organs such as the kidney, heart, or brain. Candidiasis is the clinical name for this overgrowth. We can have a mild case and be unaware of the infection, or it can break out and be symptomatic, for instance as vaginal, nipple, or oral thrush.

Fungus has an affinity for moist tissue. You might have experienced vaginal thrush and used an insertable cream to beat back the infection. “Beat back” is key. We do not want to completely eradicate the fungus. It is just one member of a community of bacteria that make up the body’s microbiome.

The varieties of these micro-members, bacteria, viruses, and parasites, have a profound effect on our health. We aim to reduce the fungus and then keep those numbers low over a period of time, so that the microbiome can establish a better balance and the immune system can recover. Otherwise, we might have repeat infections and more complications.

Nipple Thrush

Breastfeeding mothers can experience a painful fungal infection of the nipple called thrush. Again: it occurs when the microbiome is out of balance and unable to prevent fungal overgrowth.

When I lived in Switzerland, I learned that nipple thrush is practically unknown in that country. Why? For starters, Swiss doctors do not over-prescribe antibiotics, many of which degrade the microbiome. The Swiss also typically eat a whole-foods diet including fresh fruit and vegetables. The Swiss also value cleanliness, regularly changing sheets, vacuuming and wiping down surfaces, cleaning the fridge, etc. Importantly, the weather in Switzerland is rarely humid, and humidity increases the growth of fungus. Those of us who live in high-humid parts of the world need to take extra care to maintain the balance of the microbiome and to keep the home clean.

Leaky Gut

Candidiasis (and similar fungi) is a major contributing factor in a condition called leaky gut or permeable intestine. Here, the cells of the intestinal lining are not tightly bound together. Spaces open between them, microscopic “holes” through which tiny food molecules and toxins pass through. See my article on priming the baby during pregnancy for colic and food allergies. 

Candidiasis is opportunistic: it overgrows and invades the body if the immune system is unable to fight it off. People with a compromised immune system such as those with chronic fatigue, chronic inflammatory conditions, or brain fog, frequently also have a systemic candidiasis infection. (Systemic means that it is found in multiple parts, or systems, of the body.)

Resolving a fungal infection can be tricky – but absolutely worth the trouble as it is an essential step toward re-balancing and strengthening the immune system.

The short-term use of an anti-fungal medication called Nystatin is considered generally safe for a breastfeeding mother.

If you develop nipple thrush, first talk with your lactation expert to learn what you can do to resolve the infection. For a long term solution, take the steps listed below in the next section.

Re-balance the microbiome and strengthen the immune system against candidiasis

A successful, long-term approach has three parts:

1) eliminate mold from the home (also eliminate irritating and toxic chemicals);

2) eat a whole-foods diet including gut-healing vegetables and broths; remove all foods made with refined sugar (but some fruit and berries is okay);

3) rotate herbal supplements that have strong anti-fungal properties. We alternate these supplements to prevent the fungus from developing resistance to any one of them. In order to overwhelm the defenses of the fungal infection, hitting it from many sides repeatedly and frequently with different kinds of  anti-fungal herbal supplements is what works.

This long-term approach does not quickly eradicate the fungus, but it does slowly reduce the fungus while allowing your immune system to become stronger and more effective against the fungus, while allowing your intestine and organs to heal.

Scroll down to the end of this article to read about “Die Off,” and learn about the ups and downs of an intense healing protocol.

Why a rotation schedule? And why use several products?

Fungal infections can develop resistance to any one product, even if it consists of several ingredients. To overwhelm the defenses of the fungal infection, hitting it from many sides repeatedly and frequently is needed. See the suggested products, listed below.

Do not use oregano oil

Not all antifungal supplements are suitable for breastfeeding mothers. Oregano oil is a case in point. Although oregano oil is one of our strongest anti-fungals, oregano oil sometimes reduces milk supply.  Keep oregano oil in mind for later, when you have weaned. I like this particular NOW brand because it also contains oils of fennel and ginger, and both are good for intestinal healing.

Grapefruit Seed Extract is a strong antifungal that has a long history of use by breastfeeding mothers. With a liquid product such as this one by NutriBiotic, you can modulate your dosage from just 1 – 2 drops in a cup of water to 5 – 10 drops, taken 3 – 5 times a day.

The ability to experiment and find your best dosage gives you control. This may feel new and uncomfortable for many, as we are used to following dosage recommendations. In the case of clearing infection, and using natural products, it is useful to start with. alow dosage and build up, watching your body’s reaction. You can scale back if you notice increased fatigue or any unwellness, and then gradually increase your dosage again at a later time.

If the acidity of Grapefruit Seed extract irritates your digestive system, combine the GSE with a half-teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. This will neutralize the acidity.

Cautions: do not combine grapefruit seed extract with domperidone or fluconazole. 

Caprylic Acid is the part of coconut oil that is most strongly antifungal, and it is experienced as being particularly potent and often causing “die-off.” Start slowly, just one capsule a day. If you do not experience a “die-off” (see below), continue increasing the dosage to tolerance.


Acacia Fiber (also called “gum arabic”). Take up to one tablespoon daily in yogurt, juice, or water, or blended into juices and smoothies. Acacia fiber has many benefits. It is antimicrobial both against bacteria and fungus. It “smooths” and “coats” the contents of the bowels, relieving constipation. In a study1 from 2012, a daily snack of acacia fiber in yogurt with Bifidus lactobacilli improved both constipation and diarrhea in persons with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). 


Olive leaf extract is a home-remedy must-have, and Herbpharm is one of my favorite brands. Although olive leaf has not been safety-tested for breastfeeding, it is widely used as an herbal antibiotic by breastfeeding mothers. It is also a powerful antifungal. I would use it at a low dosage along with the other antifungal products, several times a day. 

Turmeric: To fully eradicate a fungal infection, we have to dissolve the biofilms where they hide throughout the body. Some enzymes achieve this, and another way is to use turmeric. It is antifungal, antibacterial, a biofilm-buster, plus it supports lactation.

Turmeric relieves muscle aches and joint pain by acting as an anti-inflammatory. It is protective against brain damage and memory loss. Overall, it is worthwhile to learn how to “stomach” a simple dose of turmeric every day, or as needed.

“Golden milk is a popular way to drink turmeric. This product is made with dates, cardamom, ashwaganda, and other herbs that are both immune supportive and lactogenic.

I personally make for myself the simple, fast, and inexpensive version: a half-teaspoon of turmeric powder, stirred into a cup of water and quickly swallowed down. If you don’t mind the taste, a very small shake of black pepper into the turmeric is believed by many to improves its bioavailability, though I find it highly medicinal without the pepper.

About Fungal Die-Off

Some people go through a phase of feeling tired, foggy-brained, and toxic when using antifungal supplements. This can be due to a large and sudden die-off of the fungi.

“Die-Off” is a period of time in which your body is dealing with a flood of dead cells from the fungi. They are now in your blood and as they pass through your body and organs, you may notice sudden fatigue, brain-fog, or even a flare-up of a rash or arthritic pain.

This is a sign that the supplements are working, but that your detox organs need time to catch up with the extra detox work. Eventually, your liver will neutralize the toxins. Depending on the degree of the infection, and the pace of your liver, the symptoms of Die-Off might last 1 – 3 hours or 1- 3 days.

If this happens to you, back off the supplements, drink a lot of water, and rest. Trust that you will soon feel better.

While “die-off” sounds like bad news, it is actually very good to know about the possibility and to be mentally prepared for it. As you go forward with the treatment, the periods of Die-Off should become less strong and less frequent.

If you have access to a healthcare practitioner or MD with a foundation in “functional medicine,” they are your best bet for clarity and continuity of treatment. Functional MDs are trained to connect the dots and get a handle on these somewhat mysterious health conditions and opportunistic organisms.


  1. Min YW, Park SU, Jang YS, et al. Effect of composite yogurt enriched with acacia fiber and Bifidobacterium lactis. World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18(33):4563-4569. doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i33.4563


For information on our classes for mothers, IBCLCs, and postpartum caregivers, go HERE.

Mother Food, a breastfeeding diet guide with lactogenic food and herbs

Mother's Garden of Galactagogues Cover

A Mother's Garden of Galactagogues: growing and using milk-boosting herbs and foods

Healing Breastfeeding Grief: how mothers feel and heal when breastfeeding does not go as hoped

Red Madder Root, Tales of Initiations: A Novel of Fairytales and Forgotten Histories (color illustrations)

Red Madder Root, Tales of Initiations: A Novel of Fairytales and Forgotten Histories (b&w illustrations)

For discounted bulk sales, contact us at