Traditional Galactagogue Foods and Their Connection to Human Milk Volume in Thai Breastfeeding Mothers

J Hum Lact. 2017 Aug;33(3):552-559. doi: 10.1177/0890334417709432. Epub 2017 Jun 13.


Background: Thai traditional galactagogue consumption is still observed today. However, there are few scientific studies that describe this practice. Research aim: The aim of this study was to describe the connection between traditional galactagogue consumption and human milk volume.

Methods: Self-reported maternal surveys ( N = 36) were conducted of mothers and their infants who breastfeed exclusively. The mothers were interviewed about traditional galactagogue consumption and intake of protein-rich foods using a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. They were also assessed for energy and nutrient intake using the 24-hr dietary recall method. Their infants were between 1 and 3 months of age and were test weighed for 24 hr to measure their mother's own milk volume. Partial correlation was used to test the relationship between galactagogue consumption and milk volume by controlling the infants' birth weight, weight-for-age, maternal energy, and carbohydrate intake.

Results: The results revealed that consumption of some traditional galactagogues was significantly correlated to human milk volume, including banana flower, lemon basil, Thai basil, bottle gourd, and pumpkin ( p < .05). Furthermore, there were significant correlations between consumption of some kinds of protein and milk volume, including egg tofu, chicken, fish, and seafood ( p < .05). Maternal energy and carbohydrate intake were related to milk volume ( p < .05), but protein intake was not.

Conclusion: Certain kinds of traditional galactagogues and proteins are associated with human milk volume. However, studies related to the active ingredients in these galactagogues are required to secure a recommendation about use of traditional galactagogues among breastfeeding mothers.

Keywords: breastfeeding; galactagogues; human milk; lactation; maternal nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / methods
  • Female
  • Galactogogues / pharmacology*
  • Galactogogues / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Mothers
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thailand


  • Galactogogues