Yes. Women have used the spice fenugreek since ancient times in the Middle East, North Africa, and India to stimulate milk flow. Research has shown that fenugreek can increase milk production as much as 900 percent, although no one knows exactly how. The oil contained in fenugreek seeds is believed to play a role in boosting milk supply
At my breastfeeding clinic in San Luis Obispo, California, I recommend fenugreek to women who aren’t producing enough milk. Nearly all mothers report an increase in their milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after taking the herb. Most find that they can stop taking the herb once their level of milk production goes up as long as they make sure that both breasts are being completely emptied every two to three hours. Fenugreek will not improve low production when the breasts are not being well drained.
You can buy fenugreek capsules containing ground seeds at most health food stores. The capsules of brands I am aware of contain either 580 or 610 mgs of the spice in each. A bottle of a hundred capsules costs around seven or eight dollars. Although some brands recommend that you take one capsule three times a day, this dosage is too low to adequately improve milk production. In our clinic, we recommend two or three capsules three times a day. You may also drink fenugreek tea, but it has an unpleasant bitter taste and is not considered as potent as taking the herb directly.
Few women have bad reactions to fenugreek, although you will notice a maple syrup-like odor to your urine and sweat. In our experience with hundreds of women, a handful developed diarrhea that quickly subsided when the amount was decreased or they stopped taking the herb. Two asthmatic mothers said it aggravated their condition, an interesting reaction as fenugreek is thought to help asthma by decreasing mucus production (in fact, many natural healers use fenugreek to treat coughs, bronchitis, and sinus problems for this very reason). If you are diabetic, use this herb with caution as it can lower blood glucose levels. And if you are pregnant, you should not take fenugreek since it may stimulate the uterus, causing contractions. There are no apparent side effects in babies whose mothers take the herb.