“After about the fifth blocked duct I figured out a triple threat therapy that works wonders.”
As a new mom myself, I understand how full your plate can get. If it is not one thing then it is another. So, when I got a plugged duct, and then another, and then another… I was beyond frustrated. It was the LAST thing that I had the energy to deal with, especially when it forced me out of bed in the middle of the night to tend to it by pumping, massaging, alternating hot and cold compresses, taking a hot shower and scraping my breast as hard as I could without crying.
After about the fifth blocked duct I figured out a triple threat therapy that works wonders. It won’t prevent plugged ducts from occurring, but I found a combination of three products that cut my episodes down by hours. Plus, the intensity of the pain is dramatically less when I combine the use of these products with the following dietary and lifestyle modifications. Without further ado…
1. Homeopathic Remedy Phytolacca
As soon as you start to feel tenderness in the breast, take homeopathic remedy Phytolacca 30c. Take two tablets every hour until the symptoms resolve. Additionally, put two pills in your drinking water and let them dissolve. You can find this remedy at most natural food stores, on Amazon, or at Whole Foods.
2. Dr Christopher’s Formula Cayenne Heat Ointment
Take a long, hot shower while rubbing Dr Christopher’s Formula Cayenne Heat Ointment over the breast and massaging as deep and as hard as you can stand. Get all angles of your breast and try to hand pump a bit, even if nothing is coming out, in order to help clear the passageways. Stay in the hot shower for 15-20 minutes. If you can’t stand the shower that long, finish with a hot compress and continue to massage with the cayenne rub. Remember to wipe your nipple clean before nursing out of the breast that has been rubbed with cayenne ointment!
3. Poke Root Herbal Oil
After the Cayenne rub has worn off, follow up by massaging the entire area with Poke, also know as phytolacca oil. Do this multiple times throughout the day, not just once. If you get any on your nipple make sure to wipe it off before nursing, as it has a very unpleasant taste and your baby most likely will not appreciate it! When ordering this oil make sure you find a good company that sources the purest form of this plant. I really love and trust Mountain Rose Herbs.
4. More Self-Massage
Now that you have your triple threat product line up, this next piece of advice has less to do with an actual product and is more about being attentive and aware. Rubbing and massaging your breast regularly while attending to a plugged duct is of the utmost importance. Do this every time you think of it and are in a place where you can do so: in your car driving, taking a bathroom break, out on a solo walk, at home, etcetera—massage, massage, massage. It is the only way to break up the stagnation.
5. Try an Ayurvedic Diet
Finally, a major preventive action I implemented was following a postpartum Ayurvedic recommended diet of oily, fatty foods like avocado, coconut oil, ghee, bone broths, and oatmeal. I also started adding 1-2 tablespoons of lecithin (sunflower lecithin would be my choice) to my morning oatmeal.
6. BONUS: Use a Raw Cabbage Leaf!
Placing a raw cabbage leaf inside your bra and leaving it on for a few hours is an ancient treatment for plugged ducts. However, you do not want to leave the cabbage leaves on all day, as they dry up milk supply. A few hours is completely fine and can sometimes really help. I have left the leaves on over night and never had any problems. If you are already having a hard time producing milk, then opt for a shorter amount of time or skip this option altogether.
I highly recommend that you invest in these products before you are actually in the middle of a plugged duct. That way if you end up with a blockage, you have your arsenal at the ready. There is generally no warning when a blockage will occur and it can get really painful really fast. The real concern with a blocked duct is that it can quickly turn into Mastitis. The more you can do right away, the better chance you have of clearing it before you have a larger issue on your hands.
I hope that you never have to experience the amount of plugged ducts that I did. But if you do, these tips will help significantly reduce the amount of pain and allow you to get back to the important stuff in life more quickly, like enjoying being a mother. And precious sleep! Remember that pumping and nursing at different angles can help as well. What has worked for you, moms? Share your remedies below!★
NOTE: This is not medical advice and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease. Please see a doctor if you feel you have a medical condition. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult a qualified specialist before taking any herb or supplement.
Staraya McKinstry-Robinson (MPH, AHP, ERYT-200, RYT-500) grew up in the small town of Homer, Alaska with loving and hippie-like parents. For her, holistic health was the norm. Upon leaving her hometown, she was shocked at the deficit in preventative healthcare knowledge among most Americans. Her passion to spread wellness led her to earn a Masters in Public Health. She also went on to become a yoga instructor and Ayurvedic practitioner, as well as a wife and new mother. She loves geeking out on natural and alternative ways to prevent or treat common health issues.