Kokum butter for sore nipples


eMediNexus    03 May 2018

Nearly 80-90% of breastfeeding women seem to experience nipple soreness on account of nipple trauma and infection.1 Poor breastfeeding technique, breast engorgement, use of a feeding bottle, have been found to be linked with the occurrence of cracked nipples.2 Tight clothes and abrasions during feeding can often lead to sore nipples. Cracks in the skin increase the odds of nipple infection.3

Herbal oils are an effective and safe choice for the management of dry, sore and cracked nipples during breastfeeding. Kokum, or Garcinia indica, contains anthocyanin pigments, tannins, pectin, omega oils, hydroxycitric acid, garcinol, citric acid, oxalic acid and ascorbic acid. Kokum infusion can be directly applied to skin rashes, burns and dry skin on account of its cooling effects. Kokum butter has soothing properties and is an astringent. It is often used in ointments to treat fissures and cracked skin.4 Kokum has anti-hyaluronidase and anti-elastase activities which have a role in skin care. It is commonly used for the treatment of burns, scalds and chaffed skin.5 Besides being used as an application for ulcerations, fissures of lips, hands, and chapped skin, kokum butter is also used to treat wounds and sores associated with inflammation.6 Kokum butter has excellent emollient properties and high oxidative stability, which supports emulsion integrity. Owing to its emollient property, it is used as a natural moisturizer to keep skin supple and silky smooth and is effective for treatment for severely dry skin, ulceration and fissures.7

Considering its potential benefits in skin care, kokum butter seems a wise choice as a topical application for sore, cracked nipples during breastfeeding.


  1. Saeidi R, Robatsangi MG, Tafazol M. Effect of aloe vera gel on nipple sores. Iranian Journal of Neonatology 2010;1(1):13-4.
  2. da Silva Santos KJ, Santana GS, de Oliveira Vieira T, et al. Prevalence and factors associated with cracked nipples in the first month postpartum. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016; 16: 209.
  3. Khan T. Common Breastfeeding Problems, Part 3 of 3: Nipple Pain + Infection. Available from: http://www.familydocs.org/f/14.CME_.Spotlight.JAN_.Breastfeeding.pdf. Accessed on April 30, 2018.
  4. In: Healing Spices: 50 Wonderful Spices, and How to Use Them in Health-giving Foods and Drinks. Hartvig K (ed.)
  5. Jagtap P, Bhise K, Prakya V. A Phytopharmacological Review on Garcinia indica. International Journal of Herbal Medicine 2015;3(4):2-7.
  6. In: Dr. K. M. Nadkarnis Indian Materia Volume 1.
  7. Swami SB, Thakor NJ, Patil SC. Kokum (Garcinia Indica) and its Many Functional Components as Related to the Human Health: A Review. Journal of Food Research and Technology 2014;2(4):130-42.

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