Last update Oct. 23, 2022


High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

It contains Eugenol, Linalool, 1,8 cineole (eucalyptol) and essential oils composed mostly by Estragole. Traditionally used for dyspepsia and as a diuretic. Essential oils are topically used as anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial treatment ( Based on Commission E of the German Ministry of Health: usage is discouraged due to unproven benefits and possible toxic effects. (Blumenthal 1998)

On last update no relevant published data on breastfeeding were found.

Linalool is excreted in breast milk in small amounts (Zhang 2022, Debong 2021). Eucalyptol is excreted in breast milk in small amounts (Kirsch 2012), although it does not cause problems or cause rejection in infants. (Kirsch 2013)

Estragole has mutagenic, carcinogenic and cytotoxic effects. Eucalyptol is neurotoxic and may induce seizures. (Burkhard 1999)

The prolonged use of infusions and essential oils during pregnancy, lactation and childhood is discouraged.

Fresh basil for culinary purposes has no contraindications but must be thoroughly washed since frequent and severe bacterial contaminations have occurred. (Eckner 2015, Guzman 2013, Milord 2012, Pakalniskiene 2009)

There is no proof on its property as a galactagogue. A best galactagogue effect is mainly obtained by frequent nursing together with an appropriate lactation technique. (ABM 2018)

Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999, Hsu 1995):

  • Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties (Hsu 1995), poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil, and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi. (Anderson 2017)
  • Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of expert phytotherapy professionals. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors if consumed in quantity or for an exaggerated time because they contain phytoestrogens. (Powers 2015, Zava 1998)


We do not have alternatives for Basil.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


Main tradenames from several countries containing Basil in its composition:

  • Citrosystem™. Contains other elements than Basil in its composition
  • Cystera Premium™. Contains other elements than Basil in its composition


  1. Zhang H, Zhang Y, Wang L, Song H, Li Z. Detection of odor difference between human milk and infant formula by sensory-directed analysis. Food Chem. 2022 Jul 15;382:132348. Consulted on Oct. 23, 2022 Abstract
  2. Vanaclocha B, Cañigueral S. 1992 - - Disponible en: Consulted on June 9, 2022 Abstract
  3. Debong MW, N'Diaye K, Owsienko D, Schöberl D, Ammar T, Lang R, Buettner A, Hofmann T, Loos HM. Dietary Linalool is Transferred into the Milk of Nursing Mothers. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2021 Dec;65(23):e2100507. Abstract
  4. ABM: Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of Galactogogues in Initiating or Augmenting Maternal Milk Production, Second Revision 2018. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Jun;13(5):307-314 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  6. Eckner KF, Høgåsen HR, Begum M, Økland M, Cudjoe KS, Johannessen GS. Survival of Salmonella on basil plants and in pesto. J Food Prot. 2015 Abstract
  7. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. Guzman-Herrador BR, Nilsen E, Cudjoe KS, Jensvoll L, Kvamme JM, Lindegård Aanstad A, Lindstedt BA, Nygård K, Severinsen G, Werner-Johansen Ø, Wester AL, Wiklund M, Vold L. A Shigella sonnei outbreak traced to imported basil--the importance of good typing tools and produce traceability systems, Norway, 2011. Euro Surveill. 2013 Abstract
  9. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  10. Kirsch F, Horst K, Rohrig W, et al. Tracing metabolite profiles in human milk: Studies on the odorant 1,8-cineole transferred into breast milk after oral intake. Metabolomics. 2013;3:47–71
  11. Kirsch F, Beauchamp J, Buettner A. Time-dependent aroma changes in breast milk after oral intake of a pharmacological preparation containing 1,8-cineole. Clin Nutr. 2012 Abstract
  12. Mannion C, Mansell D. Breastfeeding self-efficacy and the use of prescription medication: a pilot study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:562704. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  13. Milord F, Lampron-Goulet E, St-Amour M, Levac E, Ramsay D. Cyclospora cayetanensis: a description of clinical aspects of an outbreak in Quebec, Canada. Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Abstract
  14. ABM. Academy Of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of galactogogues in initiating or augmenting the rate of maternal milk secretion (First Revision January 2011). Breastfeed Med. 2011 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  15. ABM. Comité de Protocolos de la Academia Médica de Lactancia Materna. ABM Protocolo Clínico #9: Uso de Galactogogos para Iniciar o aumentar la tasa de secreción de Leche Materna. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  16. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  17. Pakalniskiene J, Falkenhorst G, Lisby M, Madsen SB, Olsen KE, Nielsen EM, Mygh A, Boel J, Mølbak K. A foodborne outbreak of enterotoxigenic E. coli and Salmonella Anatum infection after a high-school dinner in Denmark, November 2006. Epidemiol Infect. 2009 Abstract
  18. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  19. Burkhard PR, Burkhardt K, Haenggeli CA, Landis T. Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem. J Neurol. 1999 Aug;246(8):667-70. Abstract
  20. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  21. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, editors. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Integrative Medicine Com; Boston, MA, USA: 1998
  22. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract

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