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J Hum Lact. 2009 Feb;25(1):64-72. doi: 10.1177/0890334408326086. Epub 2008 Nov 4.

Torbangun (Coleus amboinicus Lour): a Bataknese traditional cuisine perceived as lactagogue by Bataknese lactating women in Simalungun, North Sumatera, Indonesia.

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Department of Community Nutrition, Faculty of Human Ecology of IPB University in Bogor, Indonesia.


Torbangun (Coleus amboinicus Lour) has been used as a breast milk stimulant (a lactagogue) by Bataknese people in Indonesia for hundreds of years. However, the traditional use of torbangun is not well documented, and scientific evidence is limited to establish coleus as a lactagogue. This Focus Group Discussion (FGD) study was conducted to gather information regarding the practice and cultural beliefs related to the traditional use of torbangun as a lactagogue. The main findings of this investigation were: (1) torbangun, which is considered nourishing, is usually given to the mother for one month after giving birth in order to restore her state of balance; (2) in the Bataknese culture, torbangun is perceived to serve several purposes which include enhancing breast milk production and acting as a uterine cleansing agent; and (3) the tradition has been practiced for hundreds of years, and its adherence is still strong.

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