blue cohosh (generic name)

an herbal product -
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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Alkaloid, alpha-isolupanine, anagyrine, aporphine, baptifoline, beechdrops, Berberidaceae (family), blue cohosh root, blue ginseng, blueberry, Caulophyllum, Caulophyllum thalictroides Mich., Leontice thalictroides (L.), lupanine, magnoflorine, Mastodynon, N-methylcytisine, papoose root, quinolizidine alkaloids, saponins, scaulophylline, sparteine, squaw root, taspine, thalictroidine, triterpene saponins, yellow ginseng.

Note: Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) should not be confused with black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an over-the-counter herbal supplement sold as a menopause and menstrual remedy.

Background

Blue cohosh has been used for hundreds of years primarily to help women in the area of childbirth. It was used as a medicinal herb by Native American women to facilitate labor. Today, the herb is most commonly used to stimulate labor and to ease the effects of childbirth.

Modern herbalists often recommend blue cohosh as an emmenagogue to induce menstruation, and as a uterine stimulant and antispasmodic. It is also frequently employed as a diuretic to eliminate excess fluids, as an expectorant to treat congestion, and as a diaphoretic to eliminate toxins by inducing sweating. Traditional herbalists will often combine blue cohosh and black cohosh to effect a more balanced treatment for nerves and to enhance the herbs' antispasmodic effects. Blue cohosh is combined with other herbs to promote their effects in treating bronchitis, nervous disorders, urinary tract ailments, and rheumatism. Blue cohosh is also thought to help pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, erratic menstruation, and retained placenta. In addition, the herb is also believed to relieve ovarian neuralgia (nerve pain).

Although blue cohosh has been indicated for many conditions, all indications lack sufficient scientific data to support their efficacy and safety at this time. More research is needed in these areas before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abortifacient (induces abortion), amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (reduces fever), antispasmodic, arthritis, bronchitis, cervical dysplasia (abnormal, possible pre-cancerous cells), colic in children, contraception, cramps, demulcent (soothes inflammation)t, deobstruent, diaphoretic (induces sweating), diuretic, earache, endometriosis, epilepsy, expectorant (expels phlegm), gastric disorders, genitourinary disorders, hormonal imbalances, inflammatory conditions, labor induction, labor pain, laxative, leukorrhea (vaginal discharge), liver cancer, menstruation irregularities, muscle weakness, nervous disorders, neuralgia (nerve pain), pain (pregnancy), pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy, rheumatic pain, sexually transmitted disease (chlamydia), uterine inflammation, uterine stimulant, vaginitis (inflammation of vagina).

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

Based on available scientific evidence, there is no proven safe or effective dose for blue cohosh. As a decoction, 4 grams twice daily or 1-3 grams every three to four hours has been used. As a fluid extract, 0.5-1.0 milliiliter (1:1 in 70% alcohol) three times daily as a preparation for pregnancy has been used. As an infusion/tea, 2-4 fluid ounces (1oz root to 1 pint boiling water) two to four times daily has been used. Also, 300-1,000 milligrams of the dried whole herb up to three times daily has been used.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is not enough scientific evidence to safely recommend the use of blue cohosh in children.

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