Pediatricians need to be aware that mothers commonly use herbal supplements while breastfeeding, despite the lack of regulatory guidelines and rigorous scientific evaluation. Several resources on the safety and efficacy of herbs during breastfeeding can help guide clinical recommendations.

In the United States, herbal products are classified as dietary supplements, a regulatory category created with the introduction of the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA). (1) Under this act, dietary supplements are defined as herbs or other botanicals, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and certain other natural substances. Under DSHEA, herbal medicines are held to different regulatory standards than prescription medications in testing and marketing. Products sold as a dietary supplement, including herbal products, are not permitted to claim that they can treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. Currently in the United States, no existing regulatory guidelines set a standardized risk assessment to determine the safety and...

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