Why Not Take Holy Basil in Breastfeeding?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Britt
Posted on: December 19, 2006

I read your answer about pregnancy and that Holy Basil affects your estrogen levels in some way. I have a 22 month old and am still regularly breastfeeding. Will taking the Holy Basil somehow decrease my milk supply and is this due to more estrogen? I weigh about 150 pounds and am currently taking two 450mg capsules/day. How do I know what is a therapeutic dose for me? Is it safe for breastfeeding, and did I guess right about it affecting supply or is there some sort of danger to my child or side effects?

There is no research information on holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), in breastfeeding. Often, herbs are advised against in breastfeeding if the effects are not known. In the case of holy basil, the medicinal actions could have an undesirable effect on the baby. There has been some research that suggests that holy basil lowers blood sugar in diabetics, and lowers blood pressure, as well as its antidepressant, antispasmodic and antibacterial actions.

A therapeutic dose for adults is one printed on the bottle (products have different strengths), recommended by a therapist or written in a scholarly book or article. Michael Tierra, a well known herbalist, sells a product containing an extract of holy basil that is made by using 5 parts of the herb to one part extractant (listed as Holy Basil Extract (5:1), and gives a dosage of one 450 mg capsule daily. He recommends that it not be used in breastfeeding or pregnancy.

Taking small amounts of fresh holy basil herb with meals is not harmful in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

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