Enter "breast enhancement pills" into a search engine and literally hundreds of thousands of results will appear. Google, for example, yielded 629,000 results. With so many sites offering advice, hawking products and discussing the potential mammary gland-impacting properties of various herbs, food extracts, oils and creams, it can be daunting to sift through all of this information. Remember the warning, "buyer beware," and look for scientific references included to substantiate medical claims.
From some of the earliest images of women, such as the Venus of Willendorf, carved approximately 25,000 years ago, women's breasts have clearly been the subject of much interest in human history. According to Breast-Plastic-Surgery.org, Chinese herbalists thousands of years ago began developing custom-blended herbal supplements for women to enhance their breast size. Herbalists continued to build on these ancient traditions, incorporating new herbal traditions from India to North America, leading to blends of ingredients from Chinese herbs to Mexican yams. As today's society continues to be concerned about breast size, renewed interest in breast enlargement supplements has created an explosion of new pharmacological supplements.
Popular ingredients in breast-enhancement supplements include phytoestrogens, which companies marketing the supplements claim chemically stimulate estrogen receptors and result in larger breasts. Ingredient labels will often list one or more of the following herbs and extracts: hops, sesame oil, fenugreek extract, saw palmetto, wild yam extract, Siberian ginseng root, fennel seed, pueraria mirifica, avenal satliva, Chinese red ginseng root, astragalus root, cayenne fruit, echinacea, fo ti root, golden seal root, guarana seed and panax ginseng root and extract. Ingredients such as fennel seed, sesame oil, ginseng, cayenne and yams are common to cooking, are common in other homeopathic treatments and are also commonly found in teas. Guarana is an ingredient often found in diet products because of its high caffeine content.
The ability of any herbal supplement to "increase breast size fast" is a matter for serious debate. Sites such as Top Ten Herbal offer product reviews and list their picks for the best 25 herbal breast enhancement supplements, offering "impartial reviews," stating they present "an honest assessment of what natural breast enhancement pills can do for you." There are no scientific studies, medical professionals or nutrition consultants cited to substantiate the claims of the products presented on its site, however. Without scientific evidence of benefits, sites generally rely on anecdotal evidence in the form of testimonials, such as the collection of product praise on Natural Breast Guide's testimonials page: http://www.natural-breast-guide.com/testimonials.html.
Cathy Wong, ND, CNS, licensed naturopathic doctor and an American College of Nutrition-certified nutrition specialist, warns consumers that ingredients in these supplements can have harmful side effects. For example, "hops can affect the metabolism of prescription drugs in the liver" and "in one study examining pueraria mirifica in perimenopausal women, side effects included anemia." For more examples of serious side effects found in breast enhancement supplements, see her piece at http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/3/a/Herbal_Breast_2.htm. Side effects from guarana can range from mild heartburn to serious allergic reactions causing respiratory distress, according to Drugs.com. Consumers should always consult a doctor before taking any supplement.
The Food & Drug Administration and Council of Better Business Bureaus report, "For decades, millions of dollars have been spent on devices, creams and lotions advertised as breast developers. All wasted. There is no device or system of exercise that will increase the size of the breasts." Consumers are warned, "Be wary if immediate, effortless or guaranteed results are promised. If it sounds too good to be true--it probably is." Cancer Research UK warns that while some studies are beginning to be done in the UK and here in the US, the possible effects of herbal breast enhancement products, including possible links to breast cancer, simply are still a mystery and consumers should approach all products with caution and speak with a doctor.
The FDA refutes the efficacy of these products and the scientific community has not yet determined the risks of all of the ingredients common to these products. Before considering any enhancement plan, women's health advocates urge women to speak with a doctor and consider the motivations behind such a purchase. While a woman's environment, whether images in popular culture or ideals among her peers, can influence her desire to achieve larger breasts, the Mayo Clinic advises women to consider the many factors surrounding a woman's image of herself, including serious issues like body dysmorphic disorder. If a woman suspects she may have BDD, she should consult a women's health professional.