Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

Coleus amboinicusleavesare a traditional galactogogue used in Indonesia called torbangun or bangun-bangun in the local languages.[1] One study of poor quality indicated that it might have some efficacy in mothers who were not instructed in proper technique. Galactogogues should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors that affect milk production.[2] No data exist on the excretion of any components of Coleus amboinicus into breastmilk or on the safety and efficacy of Coleus amboinicus in nursing mothers or infants, although it has been used for hundreds of years in Indonesia with apparent safety. A related plant, Coleus forskohlii, is well tolerated as a supplement.

Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to prove the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does not certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed informationabout dietary supplementsis available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Drug Levels:

Maternal Levels.

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Infant Levels.

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Possible Effects on Lactation:

A study of 67 healthy women who delivered a full-term infant and desired to breastfeed for at least 4 months compared torbangun (Coleus amboinicus), fenugreek, and a control product containing placental extract and vitamin B12 (Molocco+B12) for their effects on breastmilk volume. No mention was made of any breastfeeding support provided to the women. Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of the products for 30 days and followed for another 30 days. A soup was made from 150 grams of Coleus amboinicusleaves6 days per week for 30 days, beginning on the second postpartum day, and it was consumed during the day. Infants were weighed before and after each nursing at 2-week intervals during the study to measure 24-hour milk volume. In the torbangun group, the milk volume on day 28 was statistically greater than on day 14. The increase in milk volume on day 28 was 33% in the torbangun group, compared to a decrease of 15% in the control group and a decrease of 14% in the fenugreek group. However, the baseline production in the torbangun group was 20 to 23% lower than in the other groups and there was no statistical difference in milk volume at any time compared to the initial volume of milk in the control group. Analysis of breastmilk found no decrease in nutritional quality of milk in the torbangun group.[3]


1. Damanik R. Torbangun (Coleus amboinicus lour): a Bataknese traditional cuisine perceived as lactagogue by Bataknese lactating women in Simalungun, North Sumatera, Indonesia. J Hum Lact. 2008;25:64-72. PMID:18984829
2. The 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;6:41-9. PMID:21332371
3. Damanik R, Wahlqvist ML, Wattanapenpaiboon N. Lactagogue effects of Torbangun, a Bataknese traditional cuisine. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15:267-74. PMID:16672214

Substance Identification:

Substance Name:


Scientific Name:

Coleus amboinicus

Drug Class:

  • Complementary Therapies

  • Phytotherapy

  • Plants, Medicinal

  • Administrative Information:

    LactMed Record Number:


    Last Revision Date:

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