Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) seed contains a volatileoilthat contains cuminaldehyde and other aldehydes; the seeds also contain numerous flavonoids and terpenes. Cumin has been used as a galactogogue in India;[1][2] however, no scientifically valid clinical trials support this use. Galactogogues should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors that affect milk production.[3] No data exist on the excretion of any components of cumin into breastmilk or on the safety and efficacy of cumin in nursing mothers or infants. Cumin is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) as a spice and flavoring by the US Food and Drug Administration. Cumin is generally well tolerated, but occasional phototoxic skin reactions have been reported after contact with theoil. Those allergic to cumin or related herbs should avoid cumin.

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:

Women who were between 14 and 90 days postpartum and reported lactation failure were given instructions on breastfeeding technique and encouraged to exclusively breastfeed. If their infant had gained less than 15 grams in 1 week, they were randomized to receive either two tablespoonfuls of a mixture containing wild asparagus or an identical placebo for 4 weeks. In each 100 grams, the mixture contained Asparagus racemosus 15 grams, Anethum soiva 1 gram, Ipomea digitata 1 gram, Glycyrrhiza glabra 1 gram, Spinacia oleracea 2.5 grams, Cuminum cyminum 0.5 gram, and Panchatrinamol 1 gram. Of the 64 women randomized, 11 did not complete the trial. Serum prolactin measurements were made before a morning nursing before treatment, and after 4 weeks of treatment. Infant weight gains and the number of supplemental feedings were recorded initially and after 4 weeks of therapy. No differences were found in the changes in serum prolactin, infant weight gain or amount of supplementation between the treatment and placebo groups after 4 weeks of therapy. No side effects or changes in liver function tests occurred during the study.[4]


1. Sayed NZ, Deo R, Mukundan U. Herbal remedies used by Warlis of Dahanu to induce lactation in nursing mothers. Indian J Tradit Knowl. 2007;6:602-5.
2. Agrawala IP, Achar MV, Boradkar RV, Roy N. Galactagogue action of Cuminum cyminum and Nigella sativa. Indian J Med Res. 1968;56:841-4. PMID:5693882
3. 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
4. Sharma S, Ramji S, Kumari S, Bapna JS. Randomized controlled trial of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) as a lactogogue in lactational inadequacy. Indian Pediatr. 1996;33:675-7. PMID:8979551

Substance Identification:

Substance Name:


Scientific Name:

Cuminum cyminum

Drug Class:

  • Complementary Therapies

  • Phytotherapy

  • Plants, Medicinal

  • Administrative Information:

    LactMed Record Number:


    Last Revision Date:

    Disclaimer:Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.