Chula Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, has released the results of their research on “Wang Nam Yen” herbal tea formula to stimulate lactation in mothers after childbirth, especially those who have had a cesarean delivery, to solve their problem of scarce breast milk. The herbal tea yielded as good results as modern medicine. The team aims at expanding to commercial production and export.
Nowadays, modern mothers are more willing to breastfeed their babies because breast milk is rich in nutrients that are important for their babies’ growth and development, such as antioxidants, and vitamins that their babies needs, and also helps to strengthen their immunity.
The Thai Ministry of Public Health also has a breastfeeding advocacy and support program according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization that recommends breastfeeding from the child’s birth to 6 months old and should continue until the child is 2 years old or longer along with age-appropriate food.
Despite wanting to breastfeed, modern mothers are plagued with the problem of having too little or no breast milk. This problem is more likely to happen in mothers who had given birth by cesarean section than those who gave birth naturally. This is due to many factors, such as the baby starting suckling too late because the mother or the baby is sick, causing them to be separated at an early stage, or the baby not suckling properly or often enough resulting in the mother not lactating.
“In modern medicine, most obstetricians give Domperidone to stimulate lactation. This medicine is usually used as an antiemetic drug, but research in foreign countries has shown that it can be used off-label to stimulate lactation as well. However, some countries, such as the United States, do not allow it to treat vomiting or stimulate lactation because of the side effects of causing abnormal electrocardiogram,” says Associate Professor Krit Pongpirul, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University.
‘Wang Nam Yen’ herbal tea induces breast milk after childbirth
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krit recounted the origin of “Wang Nam Yen” herbal tea that came from the research of Mr. Pinit Chinsoi, a pharmacist who had collected herbal formulas in traditional Thai medicine since ancient times and compared the safety to that of modern medicine. Then, five herbs were selected to be included in the formula namely bael, sappanwood (fang), ginger, licorice, and jewel vine, and named “Wang Nam Yen” in honor of Wang Nam Yen Hospital, Sa Kaeo Province, at which Mr. Pinit was stationed as a pharmacist at that time.
This herbal formula is aimed for mothers after childbirth. According to Thai medicine principles, postnatal women often experience fatigue, blood loss, muscle pain, low breast milk, and dizziness. Therefore, traditional Thai medicine practitioners often choose these five herbs with the following tastes and therapeutic properties to cure the symptoms:
“Mr. Pinit blended these five herbs into tea and then brewed them for mothers after giving birth in Wang Nam Yen Hospital. According to preliminary data, this herbal tea can increase the amount of milk compared to the group that did not drink it,” said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krit. “Looking at the benefits of this herbal tea, we can see that the herbs not only stimulate lactation but also relieve and treat other postpartum symptoms.”
Thai herbal tea or modern medicine? Which can better induce milk?
From the collection of herbal recipes by pharmacist Pinit, a research team from Chulalongkorn University and the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine has developed an experimental study to test and compare the effectiveness of postpartum breast milk stimulation between “Wang Nam Yen” Thai herbal tea and modern medicine.
The study participants were 120 mothers who had a cesarean birth and received nursing care at Sansitphrasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchathani Province, from February-September 2017 under the supervision of Doctor Koollachart Saejueng, M.D., a resident obstetrician at the hospital then.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krit explained the research process where the participants were divided into 3 groups: an experimental group and a control group with 40 participants in each group. The first group received the tea and placebo pills, group 2 received placebo tea (no herbs) and real pills, while group 3 received both placebo tea and pills.
The participants did not know which group they belonged to. For the measurement, the results were measured by the amount of breast milk pumped out in cc or ml from the collection of milk during 3 periods: 24 hours after giving birth, 48 hours after giving birth, and 72 hours after giving birth.
“The results suggest that herbal teas can stimulate milk during all three periods. The mothers who received herbal tea produced more milk than other groups 24 hours after birth. They produced a similar amount of milk to the group who received modern medicine 48, and 72 hours after birth and performed better than the group that received placebos,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krit said.
Thai herbs, household goodies to the world market
According to the research results that indicate the effectiveness of Thai herbs in stimulating breast milk after childbirth on par with modern medicine, the research team is planning to launch this herbal tea as a product under the brand “Wang Nam Yen” for domestic distribution and export.
“If we want Thai herbs to thrive, we should not stop at doing research only to prove the herbs’ efficacy, but there should be further studies in humans to confirm that Thai herbs are effective and practical. This work requires the cooperation of many fields of study, including pharmaceutical science, science, and medicine, to become a product so that the Thai herbs market could grow and reach the global market.”
For the Thai public, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krit said, “The research team did not conceal the formula of this herbal tea, because we want Thai people to know about the good things in Thailand. People can grow the herbs and make the tea for themselves in their own homes.”
The findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Koollachart Saejueng et al, Efficacy of Wang Nam Yen herbal tea on human milk production: A randomized controlled trial, PLOS ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0247637
‘Wang Nam Yen’ Thai herbal tea can stimulate lactation in mothers after childbirth, similar to modern medicine: Study (2023, July 21)
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