The recommended diet for human infants within the first 6 months of life is breast milk. No other natural or artificial formulation has been able to match up to this gold standard. Mothers who have attempted to pursue exclusive breastfeeding can, however, attest to numerous nutritional and non-nutritional challenges mainly resulting in insufficient milk production (hypogalactia) or the absence of milk production (agalactia). There are very few and officially recommended orthodox drugs to increase lactation. The most widely used galactagogues being chlorpromazine, sulpiride, metoclopramide and domperidone are associated with very high incidences of unpleasant side effects including their extra-pyramidal effects in both mother and infant. There is therefore a need to keep searching for more acceptable galactagogues. This section reviews current literature on medicinal plants used within the local Ghanaian community to enhance lactation. Various electronic databases such as PubMed, Science Direct, SciFinder and Google Scholar as well as published books on Ghanaian medicinal plants were searched. A total of 22 plants belonging to 13 families were reviewed with regards to their medicinal values, information on lactation and toxicity.
Part of the book: Pharmacognosy