Low milk supply according to Chinese Medicine

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Low milk supply can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like low milk supply here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here low milk supply is often associated with insomnia, palpitations and dizziness in the pattern “Heart Yin Deficiency”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of low milk supply we’ve identified three herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat low milk supply.

Heart Yin Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause low milk supply

In Chinese Medicine low milk supply is a symptom for the pattern "Heart Yin Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

The Heart is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Heart in Chinese Medicine

Heart Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Fine (Xi), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

This pattern developed from Heart Blood Deficiency. It shares similar symptoms as the latter one, such as insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, easily to be scared, poor memory and anxiety, but it also has additional empty Heat symptoms. It can be caused by Kidney Yin Deficiency or other factors such as bad diet, overwork or long term exposure to stress or hot environment.

In addition to low milk supply, other symptoms associated with Heart Yin Deficiency include insomnia, palpitations and dizziness.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heart Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation or Postpartum Depression.

Heart Yin Deficiency is often treated with Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, a herbal formula made of 14 herbs (including Unprepared Rehmannia - Di Huang - as a key herb). Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish the heart and calm the mind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nutritive tonic: Nourishes Yin, Blood and Vital Essence of the Heart and Kidney".

Read more about Heart Yin Deficiency here

Three herbal formulas that might help with low milk supply

Milk Boost Tea

Number of ingredients: 13 herbs

Key actions: Promotes healthy breast milk production*

Rating: from 127 customer reviews

Why might Milk Boost Tea help with low milk supply?

Designed by Me & Qi's expert practitioners to tackle some of the patterns that can cause low milk supply, Milk Boost Tea is a 100% natural and vegan product composed solely of the 13 herbs listed in its ingredients.

Read more about Milk Boost Tea here

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang help with low milk supply?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Yin Deficiency' of which low milk supply is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heart Yin Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Postpartum Depression.

Read more about Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang here

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Source date: 16th century

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic: Nourishes Yin, Blood and Vital Essence of the Heart and Kidney. Clears away pathogenic Heat, clears Deficient Heat. Sedative.

Why might Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan help with low milk supply?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Yin Deficiency' of which low milk supply is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heart Yin Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Postpartum Depression.

Read more about Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat low milk supply

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with low milk supply?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low milk supply as a symptom, like Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang or Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with low milk supply?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low milk supply as a symptom, like Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang or Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might Dwarf Lilyturf Root (Mai Dong) help with low milk supply?

Because Dwarf Lilyturf Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low milk supply as a symptom, like Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan or Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang for instance.

Dwarf Lilyturf Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.

Read more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots here

Why might Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with low milk supply?

Because it is a key herb in Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Heart Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with low milk supply as a symptom)

Unprepared Rehmannia is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes.

Read more about Unprepared Rehmannia here

Why might Tetrapanax Pith (Tong Cao) help with low milk supply?

Because it is a herb specifically indicated to treat low milk supply as can be seen on Tetrapanax Pith's page.

Tetrapanax Piths is a Cool herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Removes heat, induces urination and stimulates lactation

Read more about Tetrapanax Piths here

Me & Qi product associated with low milk supply

Conditions associated with low milk supply

Postpartum depression