Are ayurvedic tonics safe during Breastfeeding?

Baby Alcohol Ayurveda medicine

While breastfeeding, we take utmost care to avoid alcohol, but in spite of all the efforts, what if we are exposed to it and don’t even know? I previously have discussed the link between alcohol and breastfeeding and its importance for the new mother and the baby. However, after writing it, one of the thoughts that kept haunting my mind was what if the new moms are consuming alcohol unknowingly?

While discussing the thought of unknowing alcohol consumption by new mums with my dear sister, who is an Ayurvedic doctor, we realized that some of the Ayurvedic tonics (Kadhas, Asavas and Arishtas) do have a considerable amount of alcohol. So, we decided to look deeper into it. 

Ayurvedic preparations are an integral part of our daily life. If you are feeling a little under the weather, you will get a lot of advice from your friends, relatives, next-door neighbours, and most of them are homemade ‘Kadhas’ or some ‘Churna’ or some Ayurvedic over-the-counter medications. We don’t even think much before buying these as they are ‘tried and tested’ for generations, mostly considered safe, and free of any side effects.

Where does the alcohol come from?

Some of the Ayurvedic Kadhas or Asavas or Arishtas contain alcohol. Mostly, in such preparations, herbs are boiled in water or infused in water. Fermenting agents, spices, jaggery or honey are added and then the mixture is allowed to ferment for a specified period of time at a particular temperature. This is a very generalized version of the procedure. Each ‘Asava’ or ‘Arishta’ has its own ingredients and time-temperature combination.

During fermentation, sugars from honey or jaggery get converted into alcohol. So, although alcohol is not intentionally added in these tonics, it becomes a part of it during the process. Self-generated alcohol acts as a preservative. Many active substances from herbs get dissolved in alcohol. 

Most commonly consumed Ayurvedic tonics post delivery

Many Kadhas or Asavas or Arishtas are advised after the delivery. Usually, these are suggested by the older generation or the next-door neighbours and are consumed without much apprehension. Most of the pharmacies or ayurvedic shops have these tonics. These are mostly used for rapid post-delivery recovery, to regain strength, to normalize uterus size, to fight post-partum depression, and so on.

So, here is the list of tonics commonly taken after delivery with their benefits, alcohol contents and dosages. 

Most commonly consumed Ayurvedic tonics post delivery

What are the concerns?

  1. If we consider the percentage of alcohol (I have taken a percentage which is on the higher side, 11%) and dosage (20ml), then a mom consumes at least 2.2 ml of absolute alcohol at a time, which is almost ¼ of a standard drink! A standard drink in India contains 10ml of absolute alcohol.
  2. Alcohol is freely transferred from plasma to breastmilk. Since tonics are taken daily, there is a chance that the baby might be getting exposed to low levels of alcohol on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there is not much information available on the effect of alcohol in low doses on babies.
  3. Ayurvedic Kadhas, such as ‘Balantkadha’, are taken for the first 2-months after delivery. During this phase, baby’s organs are still not fully developed. Their enzyme systems are yet to be fully functional. So, enzymes required to metabolize alcohol are secreted in very low amounts.

Thus, altogether, a chance of daily alcohol exposure to baby’s immature organ systems certainly creates uneasiness in the mind.

Creating a working guideline

Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine system which is very popular and practiced in almost every Indian household. Most of the time, people buy Ayurvedic tonics without even consulting a doctor!

Since there are no guidelines available regarding the use of ayurvedic tonics during breastfeeding, I have created a working guideline. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises waiting for at least 2 hours after having a standard drink to breastfeed the baby. An American standard drink contains 14g of alcohol. So, let’s calculate, if one has to wait for 60 minutes after having 14g (which is 17.8ml) of alcohol, then after having 2.2 ml of alcohol, one needs to wait for at least 10 minutes…

What can you do?

Here are some helpful suggestions, so you can enjoy the wonderful benefits of the Kadhas or Asavas without worrying about their alcohol content.

  1. Do not immediately breastfeed the baby after taking any Ayurvedic tonic. Wait for at least 10–15 minutes before you breastfeed your baby.
  2. As a precaution, you may consume the tonic ‘after’ feeding the baby so that there is a sufficient window between the tonic consumption and the next feeding.
  3. The list given above may not be complete. There are many more ayurvedic medications or preparations containing alcohol. You must always look at the packaging for any alcohol warning or ask your Ayurvedic practitioner regarding the medicine/ tonic’s alcohol content. 
  4. Some of the ayurvedic medications might have other non-alcoholic alternatives such as ‘capsules’ or ‘Churna’; ask your Ayurvedic doctor about it. 
  5. ayurvedic kaadhaFresh ‘Kadhas’ can be made at home. This eliminates the fermentation step, so alcohol doesn’t get generated. Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner for the procedure.

 

So, it is always helpful if we practice the above guidelines to prevent regular alcohol exposure to your little one. Let me know in the comments below if you know of any other Ayurvedic tonics or medications given post the delivery which might contain alcohol.

Know about the gap you need to maintain between having a drink and breastfeeding here!

Recommended Posts

  • Anitha Narayanamurthy
  • 119 read
How to Stay Healthy ...

I often come across clients asking me "Do you think it's a...

Read Article
  • Kshemina Mhaskar
  • 480 read
Alcohol Free Breastmilk – ...

I have come up with a calculator, with support from my team,...

Read Article
  • Monia Caramma
  • 231 read
Gut Nutrition for a ...

A healthy gut is key for breaking down the food we eat...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 164 read
6 Interesting Facts About ...

The importance of gut health is often neglected. Your gut does so...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 340 read
Why Good Sleep is ...

We all have some sense of the relationship between our sleep and...

Read Article
  • Anitha Narayanamurthy
  • 474 read
10 Ways To Sleep ...

A few years back after the birth of my second child, I...

Read Article
  • Skip Stein
  • 336 read
The End of Meat ...

“The problem is that humans have victimized animals to such a degree...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 400 read
The Importance of Hormonal ...

An imbalance of hormones in your body can affect its normal functioning....

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 14 read
5 Simple Diet Tips ...

Losing pounds doesn't have to be torturous. Often, people believe that crash...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 314 read
Coffee – A health ...

Coffee is world's favourite beverage. The health effects of consuming coffee is...

Read Article
  • Harshita Dilawri Sachdeva
  • 292 read
How to make Midnight ...

It’s midnight… and are you craving for food? Do you feel like...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 328 read
Intermittent Fasting for Weight ...

According to the ancient Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, people should mend...

Read Article
  • Skip Stein
  • 395 read
How Plant-Based Diet Helped ...

Almost 10 years ago, we went ‘cold turkey’, adopting a plant-based lifestyle....

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 360 read
Artificial Sweeteners: Are They ...

The notion is artificial sweeteners are "sugar-free" and a must-have for diabetics....

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 307 read
Circadian Rhythm: Your Body’s ...

Have you ever wondered why you feel sleepy or energetic or with...

Read Article
  • Aastha Jessica
  • 224 read
Keto Diet and Weight ...

Metabolic diseases and obesity have become the world's biggest health issues. According...

Read Article
  • Charu Agarwal
  • 208 read
How to develop a ...

Body image is the perception of a person about his/her physical body...

Read Article
  • Vikraman V
  • 201 read
What is Visceral Fat ...

Body fat can be of several types, each with their own unique...

Read Article
  • Aastha Jessica
  • 199 read
Menopause Side Effects, Causes ...

Menopause is a natural decline in the reproductive hormones when a woman...

Read Article
  • Tirthankar Sen
  • 422 read
3 Reasons Why Your ...

Ketogenic diets or keto diets have been popularized by celebrities over the...

Read Article
  • Kshemina Mhaskar
  • 454 read
Alcohol and Breastfeeding: All ...

“Is it safe to drink when pregnant? Are you serious? You are...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 167 read
Understanding the Concept of ...

Rather than blindly following any of the fad diets for a short...

Read Article
  • Skip Stein
  • 357 read
Fad Diets – Why ...

Every day there seems to be a new ‘miracle diet’ that will...

Read Article
  • Skip Stein
  • 250 read
Money in the Bank ...

How many successful people, the rich and famous, the leaders of Nations,...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 385 read
7 Dietary Tips To ...

Our gut is a house to millions of microbes. The gut microbiome...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 154 read
Ketogenic Diet For Indian ...

Maybe you’ve heard the term “keto diet” a lot from health freaks...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 290 read
Importance of Healthy Gut ...

Our gut is responsible for putting our body into working order as...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 153 read
Busting the Myth around ...

Tune in to Integrative Nutrition Coach Rohit Singh Panwar clearing the misconceptions...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 223 read
Air Purifying Plants – ...

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution causes 7million deaths...

Read Article
  • Kanupriya Khanna
  • 154 read
Importance Of Nutrition In ...

We live in a time when our children face tremendous academic pressure....

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 183 read
Is Sitting the New ...

A sedentary lifestyle is currently being associated with the risk of diseases....

Read Article
  • Tirthankar Sen
  • 178 read
Paleo Diet: How It ...

The food humans have subsisted on for most of our history is...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 308 read
Air Pollution and You: ...

We are all familiar with the term pollution and always hear about...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 293 read
Understanding and managing Lactose ...

There's no cure for lactose intolerance but the usual prescription is limiting...

Read Article
  • Monia Caramma
  • 379 read
Improve Digestion Naturally – ...

We all face some sort of digestive issues every now and then....

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 1044 read
BLUE ZONE diet: The ...

Do you want to live longer, healthier and happier? Is this possible?...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 301 read
Fennel seeds: The Healthy ...

Have you ever wondered why many restaurants serve fennel seeds at the...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 305 read
Is A2 milk really ...

These days A2 milk is being marketed as a healthier alternative to...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 254 read
Prostate Health: How can ...

Do you worry about your prostate health? Are you at a higher...

Read Article
  • James Corden-Lloyd
  • 248 read
Is Redox Signalling The ...

We have always believed that our health and wellbeing is a result...

Read Article
  • Dr. Swapan Banerjee
  • 200 read
Want To Reduce Lethargy? ...

Do you feel tired all day round? Do the simplest of tasks...

Read Article
  • Gagandeep Singh Mithoo
  • 758 read
Exercise, Diet and Balancing ...

Without pain, there is no gain. The road to success and accomplishment...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 374 read
5 Healthy Herbal Teas ...

Herbal teas are gaining immense popularity in India for its different array...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 770 read
Obesity and Insulin Resistance: ...

As per WHO, in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years...

Read Article
  • YS Content Team
  • 379 read
Glycemic Index: A Valuable ...

Different foods affect our blood sugar levels differently. Some foods increase our...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 464 read
Caffeine vs. Decaf – ...

Importance of Coffee, often identified as caffeine, can hardly be understated. How...

Read Article
  • Kanupriya Khanna
  • 452 read
Healthy Foods for Breastfeeding ...

After childbirth, most mothers can produce a healthy supply of breast milk...

Read Article
  • Charu Agarwal
  • 435 read
How To Deal With ...

Stress is bad and stress reduction should be among your top priorities...

Read Article
  • Charu Agarwal
  • 436 read
Understanding Stress for its ...

STRESS is such a trendy word used these days, isn't it!   ...

Read Article
  • Tirthankar Sen
  • 217 read
Is Coconut Oil Pure ...

Coconut oil had been touted as a "health-food" all across the world...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 595 read
A Vegetarian’s Guide to ...

A protein-rich diet is often considered to be a diet loaded with animal proteins...

Read Article
  • Prof.V.G.K. Murthy
  • 642 read
Moringa: Nature’s Ultimate Superfood ...

Moringa leaf is a nutrient powerhouse packed with more than 90 nutrients...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 945 read
Improved Gut Health: A ...

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates Hippocrates emphasized on gut...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 739 read
EAT PLAY SLEEP REPEAT: ...

Ever wondered how can we simplify and describe health and wellbeing in...

Read Article
  • Rohit Singh Panwar
  • 1352 read
Prebiotics and Probiotics – ...

"If there's one thing to know about the human body; it's this: the...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 427 read
5 Foods that Help ...

Do you feel drowsy the entire day but you just cannot seem...

Read Article
  • Tirthankar Sen
  • 479 read
Ketogenic Diet: Is it ...

Towards the fall of 2016, popular stand-up comedian and AIB cofounder Tanmay...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 442 read
Single Cell Protein: A ...

In developing countries like ours, food scarcity is one of the major...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 375 read
10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You ...

Inflammation is the immune system’s natural response to stress, toxins, injuries and...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 451 read
8 Foods You Should ...

A staggering number of people across the globe experience hair loss. Hair...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 407 read
To juice or not ...

As a kid, I always cringed at the thought of eating fruits...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 532 read
How does the sumptuous ...

Love Indian food? Yes, so do we! But, is your diet meeting...

Read Article
  • Barsha Dey
  • 479 read
Whey Protein: Is it ...

Whey protein is one of the most widely used protein supplements available...

Read Article

4 comments

  • Shriram Savrikar
    Reply March 11, 2019 4:30 am

    Congratulations for raising a very important issue. Few would have thought about the problem You have also thought about the solution by giving appropriate guidelines.
    Basically none of the drug you have mentioned in the article is a tonic. All of them need to be prescribed for either Shodhan i. e. cleansing of body or Shaman i.e. pacification of Doshas. Considering the action the time of administration particularly frequency prescribed by the mfrers on the label is not correct.
    Balant Kadha, and Ashokarishta are cleansing agents. They need to be taken only once in the morning at the time of sunrise. Whereas Ashvagandharishta and Dashamoolarishta are Shaman i.e. pacifier drugs. They need to be administered in the evening. All these drugs are to be administered on empty stomach. Feeding of baby needs to be avoided at least half an hour after consumption of drug.
    All these drugs particularly Dashamoolarishta or any Arishta or alcohol containing drug must be taken only after appropriate medical advice and control.

    • Kshemina Mhaskar
      Reply March 12, 2019 9:42 am

      Thank you so much for your insightful reply. I completely agree with you. I think there are two problems we need to address. Firstly, We need to stop self-prescription. Many people take Ayurvedic drugs without consulting the vaidya. And Secondly, Ayurvedic OTC products should be monitored or regulated more strictly. Thanks Again, Kshemina

  • Rashida
    Reply March 11, 2019 8:05 am

    Very informative article

    • Kshemina Mhaskar
      Reply March 12, 2019 9:42 am

      Thank you so much. Glad you liked it!

Post your Comments

NAME *
EMAIL *