Guest Author - Nicki Heskin
Mother's Milk Tea, by Traditional Medicinals, is a common drink of nursing moms wanting to maintain a healthy milk supply. The tea relies on the herbs fennel, aniseed, and coriander, believed to increase milk production. I like that Traditional Medicinals uses organic, vegan, non-GMO, pharmacopoeial-grade herbs (at least in the organic version of the tea, which is the only one that I have seen sold for some time now).
To use the tea properly, it needs to be steeped, which can be a minor inconvenience, but necessary to get the full effect. The teabag should be added to 8 oz. of boiled water and steeped covered for 10 minutes. If you plan to drink a lot of medicinal teas like this, it's probably worth investing in a teacup with a cover – otherwise, covering the cup with a flat coaster, plate or saucer works just fine. Once uncovered, it will probably take between 5 and 20 minutes before it's cool enough to drink.
I think the tea is really delicious, with the caveat, that in order to enjoy it, you must like the flavor of black licorice due to the aniseed. If you don't *like* licorice, you need to at least be able to tolerate it, or you'll never get this tea down! I drink it with nothing added, but it could also be lightly sweetened with some honey or agave nectar if it's too bitter for you.
So the big question is…does it work? As with anything medicinal or herbal, in the western or eastern tradition, some things will work for some and not for others. I can tell you that I personally do see a direct effect from this tea. At the beginning, I would drink a cup and quickly notice the increase. As nursing has gone on, the effect is more subtle, but definitely noticeable. I drink one cup a night simply because I believe this is a healthy herbal preparation to support milk supply, and it supports my supply through night nursing. I usually increase that to two a day while menstruating, because my supply drops slightly during that time. When my baby is sick or going through some other increased nursing period, or if I cave in to an illness and take a decongestant, I will increase it to three or more.
If you are having (or think you might be having) true milk supply issues, though, this tea alone will probably not have enough of an effect to correct the problem. Check out my articles on "Do I Need to Increase My Milk Supply?" and "Increasing Low Milk Supply?" for more information and ideas on these topics.
Cost can vary on this tea from $5 or more for a single box of 16 bags in smaller health food stores to less than $3.50 a box through Amazon's subscribe-and-save program as of the writing of this article. (Subscribe-and-save is a clever little program that offers a 15% discount off of their already disconted price on their bulk orders of certain items (in this case six boxes of the tea, approx. three months at one bag a day). It also gives you the free shipping even if the item doesn't reach Amazon's normal $25 threshold, which this one doesn't. Delivery tends to be pretty fast in my experience.)
Buy Mother's Milk Tea at Amazon.com
Something that makes it a lot easier to keep up with my regimen, especially since I have a gas stove that takes forever to boil water, is a hot water dispenser/tea maker. Here's the one I have, and I *love* it!
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