After Childbirth, extra care has to be taken to maintain the nutritional status of the new mommy. The mother’s nutritional status will affect the quality and quantity of the breastmilk. The extra demand for nutrients is required to safeguard the mother’s health. In India, many herbs and seeds are used to increase milk production and help in the digestion of milk to avoid colic pain in the newborn. One such powerful Indian Seed is Aliv/Halim Seeds which acts like galactagogue to increase milk supply. Let us understand how aliv/Halim seeds help in milk production for lactating mothers and how can we include aliv seeds to maintain the overall health of women in various stages of life.
What are Aliv/Halim/Gardencress Seeds?
Aliv/ Halim/ Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is a native plant of Egypt and West Asia, which is now cultivated throughout the world . In India, it is used as an important medicinal plant since the Vedic era. Chandrasoora or Chandrika (Garden-cress seeds) is used as a medicine in the Ayurvedic System of Medicine . Garden cress seed is a real galactagogue food that promotes or increases the flow of a mother’s milk .
What are Galactagogues?
Galactagogues are medications or supplements which assist initiation, maintenance, and augmentation of maternal milk production , , .
How garden cress seeds increase the milk output of Lactating Mothers?
Daily intake of small amounts of Aliv/Halim/ garden cress seeds is effective to increase the milk formation of the lactating women , .
Animal studies indicate that regular intake of Aliv/Halim/ Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) seeds by the nursing mothers causes expansion of their lobes and increases the branching of vesicles.
Garden cress seeds contain many alkaloids and flavonoids, which influence the secretion of hormones by endocrine glands. Regular consumption of Halim seeds considerably increases the LH, FSH, estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin hormone levels of women. A high level of prolactin hormone in the lactating mother leads to the promotion of milk secretion .
A small quantity of Halim seeds in the daily diet of the nursing mother increases their overall nutrition intake and causes improvement in their health .
Why Halim seeds increase the milk secretion of new mothers?
Garden cress seeds have several basic components which play beneficial roles in the initiation and maintenance of lactation , , , .
Halim seeds contain phytosterol. This component mimics the functions of endogenous estrogen and thus stimulates the secretion of LH, FSH, and prolactin hormones.
Garden cress seeds are a good source of protein, supplying several essential amino acids which are essential in hemoglobin synthesis. Halim/Aliv seeds thus help in increasing hemoglobin levels and improve the immunity of the nursing mother
Vitamins and minerals, especially irons:
Garden cress seeds are rich sources of several vitamins and minerals, especially Iron, which enhance the quality of breastmilk for the baby.
Halim seeds are a good source of antioxidants, which play a beneficial role in the maintenance of the general health of the nursing mother. When the mother is in good health, automatically her immunity will be transferred to the baby via breastmilk.
Advantages of taking small amounts of Halim seeds over other galactagogues.
- It is a safe method for increasing milk output.
- It is natural food.
- It is a low-cost method of ensuring the good health of the new mother and the new-born.
- It is easily available in the Indian local markets and on all e-commerce platforms.
What amount of Halim seeds can be taken by the new mother?
10 grams of Halim Seeds/ Aliv seeds/Garden cress seeds are safe for new and lactating mothers for maintaining good lactation and overall good health.
How to include Halim seeds in the daily diet of the lactating mother?
Halim seeds can be taken in several ways-
Roasted Halim seeds
Roast Halim seeds on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes in a tawa without oil. Cool it and store it in an air-tight glass container. You can sprinkle these roasted seeds on dal and curries
Soaked garden cress seeds
Soak 2 teaspoons of seeds (10g) in 2 tablespoons of milk for 2 hours and take it.
Prepare Halim laddu with roasted seeds, dates, and little jaggery. Store them for a week at room temperature. Take a laddu every day. It is a tasteful healthy snack.
Halim coconut barfi
You can prepare this healthy snack using simple ingredients like coconut (grated), groundnut (ground), white til (whole), and jaggery. Take one laddu daily.
Halim seeds halwa
Soak Halim seeds in water for 2 hours. Heat a spoon of ghee, add soaked Halim seeds to it, cook for 2 minutes, add cashew and almond paste and sugar (as required), cook for few minutes at moderate heat. Add cardamom powder, mix well and switch off the flame.
For detailed recipes, click the link below
What is the nutritive value of Halim seeds?
Halim seeds or garden cress seeds are very nutritious plant-based food. It is good food for both – vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Garden cress seeds or Aliv seeds or Halim seeds are high energy, high protein, high fat, high fiber, low carbohydrate food. It is the richest source of iron and a very good source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is an excellent source of niacin and also provides a little amount of thiamine, riboflavin, and carotene.
One serving of Halim seeds (approximately 10g seeds) provides -
- 45.4 Kcal of energy
- 2.53 g of protein
- 2. 45 g of fat
- 0.76 g of fibre
- 3.3 g of carbohydrate
- 10 mg of iron
- 37.7 mg of calcium
- 43 mg of magnesium
- 72.3 mg of phosphorus
- 14.3 mg of Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- 0.061 mg of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- 0.059 mg of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- 2.7 ug of Carotene
What is the antioxidant potential of Halim seeds?
These seeds are a very good source of phenolic antioxidants. Aliv seeds have a high free radical scavenging capacity and thus reduces oxidative stress. For this reason, garden cress seeds help to prevent and treat many diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, dyslipidemia, cancer, etc. and help to maintain good liver and kidney health. They contain natural antioxidants like tocopherols, carotenoids, and ascorbic acid , , .
Table-1: Phytochemical content of 100g Halim seeds 
|Total Phenols||58.8 mg|
Which women should avoid garden cress seeds?
Certain women should avoid taking Halim seeds even during their lactation period. The contraindications for taking Halim seeds and their reasons are mentioned in the table.
Table-2: Who should avoid Halim seeds and why
|Hypothyroidism patients||Aliv seeds should not be taken by those|
suffering from hypothyroidism because intake
of these seeds may aggravate the condition.
Halim seeds contain goitrogenic compounds which prevent iodine absorption from food and their uptake by the thyroid gland and thus decrease thyroid hormone secretions .
|Diabetic patients taking anti-diabetic medicines||Aliv seed is an anti-diabetic food, it reduces blood sugar levels. The medicines used to treat diabetes also reduces blood glucose level. So, the use of anti-diabetic medicines and eating aliv seeds may reduce the blood sugar level of patients lower than the desirable level, leading to hypoglycaemic shock. So, if you are diabetic, then please consult with your doctor before taking aliv seeds .|
|Hypertensive individuals taking BP medicine||BP medicine reduces the blood pressure of those suffering from high pressure. Aliv seeds have an anti-hypertensive property and thus reduce blood pressure. So, simultaneous administration of both BP medicine and aliv seeds may reduce the blood pressure below the desirable limit, leading to hypotension (low blood pressure). So, if you are taking medicine for high blood pressure, please consult with your doctor before taking Aliv seeds , .|
|Expecting Mothers/Pregnant Women|
Intake of aliv seeds may cause abortion of pregnant women. So, expecting mothers should always avoid these seeds in all forms , .
These seeds have many adverse effects on the fetus-
Are there any side effects of taking garden cress seeds?
Garden cress seeds or Halim seeds or aliv seeds have many medicinal properties like hypoglycemic effect (or anti-diabetic property), hypotensive effect (or anti-hypertensive effect), and diuretic effect, so it is beneficial to consume a small quantity of Halim seeds on regular basis but excess intake should be harmful. Maximum 2 to 3 teaspoons of Halim seeds intake is safe for healthy adults .
The beneficial role of garden cress seeds is not limited to its galactagogue property, rather it is extended to prevent and control several diseases in the different phases of women life.
The Beneficial role of garden cress seeds on young women
1. Reduces the risk of breast cancer
The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in India, particularly among young women , .
Breast cancer, being the most common cancer, is a leading cause of death in females in several parts of the world .
Garden cress seeds have anti-inflammatory activity and anti-carcinogenic properties. Due to the presence of various types of natural antioxidants and phytosterols, these seeds play a beneficial role in the prevention of free radical damage to cells .
The compound called glucosinolates, present in garden cress seeds is effective to inhibit the development and proliferation of cancers .
2. Halim seeds improve the hemoglobin level and cure anemia
Mild to moderate anemia is a common health problem of several women, particularly young women, which can be efficiently managed by taking Halim seeds regularly. Garden cress seed is the richest source of iron, providing 100mg of iron per 100g. Since it is vegetarian food, non-heme iron is present in it. Regular intake of a single Halim laddu is effective to improve the hemoglobin level of women and thus prevents anemia. It is better to take a citrous fruit or fruit juice with the garden cress seeds because vitamin-C present in citrous fruits increases the absorption of iron from foods , . Scientific study confirms that intake of daily intake of Halim seeds is effective to increase the hemoglobin level of adolescent girls .
3. Halim seeds are good for hyperthyroidism patients
Hyperthyroidism is a common hormonal disorder of Indian women . Garden cress seeds contain goitrogenic substances, which interfere with iodine absorption by the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism is due to an increase in serum T3 and T4 with lowering of serum TSH, and thus Halim seeds help to treat hyperthyroidism .
The Beneficial role of garden cress seeds on Elderly Women
1. Halim seeds are effective to heal bone fractures.
For the long back, Halim seeds are used to heal fractures and accidental injuries. The seed powder is mixed with little water to make a paste, which is then applied to the affected areas. It is also consumed with water or warm milk to heal the fractures internally. Scientific studies also confirm that Halim seeds can heal bone fractures within 6 to 12 weeks .
2. Halim seeds are very effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic bone disease, characterized by the deterioration of cartilages in joints which results in bones rubbing together and creating stiffness, pain, and impaired movement. The disease most commonly affects the joints in the knees, hands, feet, and spine . Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability in older adults worldwide. In India osteoarthritis is more common in women than men .
In our country, Halim seeds are traditionally used to cure osteoarthritis. Scientific studies also support the use of these seeds in osteoarthritis. Intake of Halim seeds provides very good effective relief of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, like joint pain, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and difficulty in movement. So, this traditional medicinal herb should be utilized properly to alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis , .
3. Halim Seeds are good for Cardiac Health
Halim seed is good food for those suffering from abnormal lipid profiles, high cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis, obesity, and/ or cardiac diseases. , , , , 
Regular intake of a small quantity of garden cress seeds–
- Reduces the total lipid content of the blood.
- Decreases serum triglyceride level
- Lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level
- Increases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level
So, a daily intake of 10g of Halim seeds is beneficial for those who are overweight, who have high cholesterol levels or suffering from any type of heart disease.
4. Role of halim seeds in the diet of diabetes patients
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) due to total or partial deficiencies in insulin secretion or function. This disease cause morbidity and mortality of millions of people throughout the world, particularly in developing countries. Garden cress seed has a potent anti-diabetic activity and thus it is an effective, natural remedy to reduce blood glucose level within less than one month , , .
Daily intake of garden cress is beneficial for diabetes patients because these seeds-
- Reduce the blood glucose level 
- Reduces the blood cholesterol level .
- Improve blood lipid metabolism .
- Improves the activity of antioxidant defense enzymes .
- Prevent the complications of diabetes mellitus .
- Increase the kidney function and reduces the creatinine level .
- Daily intake of 10g of Halim seeds is effective to reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus and its related complications .
5. Antimicrobial activity of garden cress seeds
Garden cress seeds have antimicrobial properties against many bacteria and fungi. So, the daily intake of small amounts of tiny seeds has an enormous impact to make us healthy , , , .
6. Garden cress seeds are useful to maintain Renal/Kidney health.
Regular intake of a teaspoon of Halim seeds is beneficial to prevent renal diseases. These seeds protect our kidneys from toxic ingredients , , .
7. Halim seeds help to reduce asthma symptoms
Garden cress seeds have a broncho-dilator property. These seeds help to expands the bronchial and help to relieve from common cough and cold to asthma . Daily intake of 1g of Halim seeds, 3 times in a day, reduces the severity of asthma within 4 weeks .
8. Garden cress seed is good for constipation patients.
Due to high fiber content, Halim seeds have a good laxative effect. It also has a good water holding capacity which increases the fecal volume and thus ensures regular elimination. This natural laxative should be taken regularly by those suffering from mild to moderate constipation , .
Garden cress seeds are a well-known medicinal food, used extensively in traditional medicine. It is a very good source of phytoestrogen which mimics the roles of the human estrogen hormone and plays a beneficial role in the initiation and maintenance of the good lactation process. Aliv seeds/Halim seeds/ Garden cress seeds increases the milk secretion without affecting the composition and quality of the milk.
It is a safe and natural method of increasing the milk output of new mothers. Halim seeds are very good sources of several nutrients like good quality protein, fat, antioxidants, and dietary fibre. So daily intake of these tiny seeds improves the general health of individuals as well as increases immunity. Aliv seeds/Halim seeds/Garden Cress seeds is useful to prevent several chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, renal problems, and liver ailments. Aliv Seeds are not only powerful galactagogue but it helps to maintain over all health of women in various stages of life. So, now you know the potent health benefits of Aliv Seeds,do include them in your diet in moderation (2-3 teaspoon/15mg).
Nutritive Value of Indian Foods by C. Gopalan, B.V. Rama Sastri, S.C. Balasubramanian