What is Goats Rue and how does it impact breastfeeding?

What is Goat's Rue?

Don’t let the name fool you — goat's rue has helped countless women along their breastfeeding journey. But this galactagogue’s name has a story of its own: it is said to come from “the disagreeable odor that is released upon bruising the plant,” according to Gaia Herbs.

Found in our Dairy Diva, Dairy Fairy and Lush Leche, it is an essential component in the carefully selected combination that make up our blends. Will it work for you? The best way to know is to try it for yourself — every blend works different for every woman.

History & Origin
Goat's rue is native to Western Asia and Europe, where the leaves of the plant were first given to livestock to boost their milk supply, reports Very Well. In the plant’s latin name,Galega officinalis, the genus “galega” is derived from the greek word for “milk,” (National Geographic).  It’s a perennial plant with white, blue or purple flowers. While it’s now considered a weed due to its adverse effects when eaten fresh, dried leaves are still encapsulated or used to make liquid extracts and teas.    

Goat's rue falls within the same family as fenugreek and are sometimes paired together to boost their benefits.Also known as “French Lilac”, in addition to its breastmilk benefits, goat's rue is believed to help with blood sugar levels and act as a diuretic. However, it’s no longer widely used for those purposes with more accurate dosing from current diabetes medication.

Uses & Benefits

Goat's rue is believed to specifically target and build the mammary glands within in breast. In turn, it’s best for those with low supply due to this issue — such as those who have undergone breast surgery or have Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT)/hypoplasia — as opposed to solely production issues, writes Very Well.

Additionally, its blood sugar effects have been found helpful for women with polycystic ovary syndrome due to its association with insulin levels. Goat's rue has been called a “precursor to metformin” — a medicine used to manage high blood sugar levels but can also help with PCOS in some women.  

Do not ingest fresh goat's rue, as it may be toxic. Also, with the herb’s reported effects on blood sugar, if you have low levels or are being treated for diabetes, you should consult a healthcare provider prior to using it. Additionally Very Well reports, “avoid this herb if you tend to have an overabundant breast milk supply. Goat's rue could further increase your milk supply and lead to breastfeeding problems such as breast engorgement, plugged milk ducts, and mastitis.”

Goat's rue is a member of the legume family, so those with an allergy to similar foods (such as peanuts, soybean, alfalfa, and fenugreek) must be aware.

Wondering if goat's rue may be a help to your breastfeeding goals? Check out our Where to Start guide to help you decide how to begin.

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