In February 2013 launched an new alternative blend, Dairy Diva, to the highly loved Dairy Fairy. For quite some time off and on I would get occasional requests inquiring about a fenugreek free version of Dairy Fairy, this new blend is the answer to it. When creating Dairy Diva, I didn't simply want to remove Fenugreek. I needed to find another suitable galactogoue herb to ensure Dairy Diva would be just as powerful for increasing milk production as Dairy Fairy has been.
Dairy Diva and Dairy Fairy have similar ingredients and proprietary blend. In Dairy Diva, I replaced the Fenugreek with Shatavari root.
Why avoid fenugreek?
Some women can't take Fenugreek because it thins the blood. If you have a blood clotting disorder you should avoid Fenugreek. Fenugreek also lowers blood sugar (1), if you are on medication for Diabetes you might want to avoid Fenugreek. Fenugreek might lower blood sugar slightly (15-100g/day ingested whole seed is used as complementary treatment for diabetes), but galactogoues dose ranges are often smaller (3-5g/day)
Fenugreek is also a member of the chickpea family, if you are allergic to chickpeas you will want to avoid fenugreek.
Also a few women experience indigestion when taking fenugreek, though this isn't very common. Some women also notice an increase in spit up in their babies, which may also lead to a diaper rash with the increase of saliva production.
Shatavari Root is referred to as the "queen of herbs" regarding women's health.
Shatavari is a root that has been used extensively in India for hundreds of years to increase milk production. It seems to be quite effective for many mothers and has actually been scientifically studied and found to compare favorably to metoclopramide (reglan), which means it is possible it may work as well as domperidone for some mothers.
Shatavari is perhaps best known as a female rejuvenation. It is useful for infertility, decreased libido, threatened miscarriage, menopause, and has the ability to balance pH in the cervical area. Dry membranes, such as those on the vaginal wall, are also brought into balance through the herbs demulcent action.
Shatavari root has been reported to increase fertility, just a friendly warning if you aren't trying to get pregnant. Shatavari root is considered a phyto-estrogen. Phyto-estrogens attach themselves to the estrogen receptor sites, where natural estrogen is normally taken in. For those with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, they produce too much estrogen and androgens, therefore they would probably be considered estrogen-sensitive - especially if they are insulin resistant. Women that are estrogen sensitive could gain weight on Shatavari root.
Both Fenugreek and Shatavari root should be avoided during pregnancy due to it's effect on estrogen and lactation. Not enough studies are done at this time to indicate if there is a safe dosage. However, Shatavari has been indicated in decreasing miscarriages, so it has been taken prenatally. I can find little solid research on shatavari during pregnancy at this time. Therefore, if you desire to take Dairy Diva while pregnant and nursing, that is a judgement you will have to make on your own.
If you have been using Dairy Fairy for a while, you may be wondering if Dairy Diva is for you. If you are happy with your results of Dairy Fairy stay with it but if you want to see if Dairy Diva gives you better results there is no harm in trying. Both blends contain goats rue, fennel, marshmallow root, blessed thistle and alfalfa.
Galactagogues work best when combined 2 or more. This is why sometimes fenugreek alone won't be enough to increase supply but when paired with alfalfa or blessed thistle it makes a tremendous difference.
Goats Rue is often recommended for women who see little to no breast increase during pregnancy. Goats rue by it's self can be taken the last few weeks of pregnancy if you have IGT, Insufficient Glandular Tissue, to prepare your breasts to produce milk. It's not necessary but some women do this as a precaution.
Marshmallow is noted as increasing hind milk in breast-milk composition. It increased and enriches breastmilk. It assists with milk flow and let-down ejection reflex when nursing.
Fennel seed, like fenugreek seed, has enjoyed centuries of use as a galactagogue. While its exact mechanism of action is not yet known, we do know that it offers the nursing mother essential nutrients. It contains calcium, magnesium, beta carotene, iron and vitamin C, all of which are important to remaining vital and strong while nursing. Another great thing about fennel is it's great for indigestion and is often used in "gripe water", if a baby has colic like symptoms a mother consuming fennel can help alleviate the colic symptoms.
1.) Medical Herbalism, Introduction to Principles and Practices
2.) Nursing Mother's Herbal, Sheila Humprey
3.) Botanical Medicine for Women's Health, Avivia Romm