Breastfeeding: A Review of Its Physiology and Galactogogue Plants in View of Traditional Persian Medicine

Breastfeed Med. 2017 Sep;12(7):401-409. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2017.0038. Epub 2017 Jul 17.


Introduction: The beneficial effects of breastfeeding for the infant and mother are well recognized. Many natural products are reputed to be galactogogue agents in major Traditional Persian Medicine (TPM) textbooks. The aim of this study is to review those medicinal plants that are reported to be effective in increasing breast milk in TPM and to compare the data from TPM texts with the findings of modern pharmacological and clinical research.

Materials and methods: Data on the medicinal plants used to increase breast milk were obtained from major TPM textbooks. A detailed search in PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science databases was performed to confirm the effects of medicinal plants mentioned in TPM on lactation in view of the identified pharmacological actions.

Results: Foeniculum vulgare, Anethum graveolens, Pimpinella anisum, Nigella sativa, and Vitex agnus-castus are among the most effective galactogogue TPM plants. Many pharmacologically relevant activities have been reported for these herbs.

Conclusion: The use of traditional knowledge can pave the way toward finding effective phytopharmaceuticals for increasing breast milk.

Keywords: Traditional Persian Medicine; breastfeeding; galactagogue plants; milk production.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Female
  • Galactogogues / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lactation / drug effects*
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Milk, Human / drug effects*
  • Persia
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*


  • Galactogogues
  • Plant Preparations