Lactation beer is sort of like root beer—the only difference is that it’s made with herbs that boost milk supply and soothe colic.
Traditional homemade root beer is brewed from an assortment of twigs, leaves, berries, and roots. Licorice and sassafras root give root beer is sweet flavor—and its namesake.
Like root beer, lactation beer isn’t alcoholic. Although it’s uncommon, beer can refer to “a fermented extract of the roots and other parts of various plants.” (source)
This is exactly what lactation beer is! Leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots that have been brewed into a tea and then fermented.
Make Homemade Soda With A Ginger Bug
One of the key ingredients of any beer is the starter—in this case, a ginger bug.
A starter culture is made up of bacteria and yeast that consume sugar and create bubbles. A ginger bug gives both traditional root beer and lactation beer that bubbly, effervescence quality.
Like sauerkraut and kombucha, a ginger bug also contains probiotics that support your overall health.
And it’s exactly what you need to make a natural, homemade soda.
To make your ginger bug, gather:
- A large piece of organic ginger
- Organic cane sugar
- Clean, non-chlorinated water
- A clean 16 oz. jar
Wash your ginger and pat it dry. Leaving its brown, papery skin on, roughly chop the ginger into small squares.
Once you have 2 tablespoons of ginger, add that to your clean jar. Next, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 ½ cups of water.
Seal the jar and store it in dark place where it can ferment for 5 – 8 days. After about a week of fermentation, your ginger bug is ready to make sodas, root beer, and lactation beer.
Note: It’s important to feed your ginger bug every day. For the first 5 days, add 1 tablespoon of ginger and 1 tablespoon of sugar. After 5 days, reduce to 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of cane sugar.
The Herbal Brew That Boosts Milk Production
Each herb in lactation beer serves a purpose—including the ginger in your ginger bug!
Most of the herbs in your brew are either galactagogues—which means they encourage the production of milk—or carminatives. Carminative herbs support digestion, helping to reduce gas in both you and your little.
As it so happens, lactation beer is delicious! The unique combination of herbs tastes earthy, sweet, soft, and floral.
Once your ginger bug is bubbly and fizzes when stirred, it’s time to make some tea.
To make your lactation tea, gather:
½ cup raspberry leaf
¼ cup linden leaf & flower
¼ cup fenugreek
2 tablespoons fennel seed
2 tablespoons marshmallow root
2 tablespoons anise or Chinese star anise
1 tablespoon licorice root
1 cup organic cane sugar
½ cup ginger bug
2 flip-top bottles, like these
Follow these steps to brew your tea and create your first batch of lactation beer:
- Bring 6 cups of clean water to a boil. Add raspberry leaf, linden, fenugreek, fennel, marshmallow root, anise, and licorice. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the herbs by pouring the tea through a fine mesh strainer and into a large pitcher. Add cane sugar and stir. Allow the brew to cool down, until it reaches body temperature.
- Once the tea reaches body temperature, add your ginger bug. Bottle in flip-top bottles, which can withstand building pressure. Leave a 1-inch headspace in each bottle.
- Allow the lactation beer to ferment for 4 days at room temperature. Then move to the refrigerator to age for an additional 3 days. Open slowly and enjoy!
About Megan Garcia: Simple. Safe. And effective. This is my mantra. And it matters most when working with babies. I believe that baby wellness begins before conception and is guided by more than diet. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and through my website, which is dedicated to supporting mothers and their babes.