When women think of breast enhancement and augmentation, the first thing that comes to mind is surgical augmentation. Because breast augmentation is most often an elective medical procedure, insurance does not cover it; and the prohibitive cost of breast augmentation prevents many women from exploring it as an option.

Herbal supplements are available as a non-surgical option and are significantly less costly than breast augmentation surgery. Before taking any herbal supplement, however, consumers should know the risks and rewards.

An Overview of the Supplement

Mayo Clinic specialist Dr. Sandhya Pruthi explains that researchers haven't published any studies that conclusively link herbal supplements to breast enhancement. She notes that prescription drugs such as birth control pills or hormone replacement pills made of estrogen may enlarge breasts, but the enhancement acts as a side effect, not an intended consequence.

Dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety and effectiveness, and their packaging must contain a disclaimer stating that the claims made by the producer have not been measured by the FDA. These conditions should make consumers cautious about what they put in their bodies, even if the product claims to be 100 percent natural.

Natural breast enhancement supplements are generally a mixture of botanicals such as herbs, berries, and roots like dong quai root, dandelion root, saw palmetto berries, fennel seed and soy. These products contain phytoestrogens that act like human estrogen in the body, which the producers claim to enhance breast growth as the body mimics the stages of puberty. Because of the similarities these substances have with estrogen, many of them are also recommended to women as herbal remedies for treating menopause.

Most supplements require women to continue taking it on a periodic basis in order to maintain the effects.

Rewards Of Natural Breast Enhancement Supplements

  • Dietary supplements are less expensive than surgery
  • Breast enhancement supplements are less invasive than surgery
  • The consumer is free of surgery-specific risks, such as infection
  • Consumers can choose to stop taking the supplements if they do not like the effects; whereas patients must have another surgery if they are unhappy with the results

Risks Of Natural Breast Enhancement Supplements

  • Phytoestrogens, the botanical version of estrogen found in herbal supplements, may increase the consumer’s risk of breast cancer
  • Drug reactions may occur if taken with prescription pills. For instance, mixing red clover supplements with blood thinners may intensify the blood thinner’s effects, putting patients at risk for severe bleeding
  • Many of the drugs like dong quai may interfere with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Because few of these drugs have been sufficiently studied, the side effects to fetuses and children are unknown

Natural or herbal breast enhancement pills and creams may seem like a safe, affordable, and reliable way to increase breast size. The claims, however, have not been measured by any government agency, and little research exists in the medical and pharmacological communities that discusses the efficacy of natural breast enhancement. As with all new substances, it is important to discuss any product with a physician or pharmacist.