- What other names is Blue Cohosh known by?
- What is Blue Cohosh?
- How does Blue Cohosh work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Blue Cohosh.
Actée à Grappes Bleu, Blue Ginseng, Caulophylle, Caulophylle Faux-Pigamon, Caulophyllum, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Cohosh Azul, Cohosh Bleu, Graines à Chapelet, Léontice Faux-Pigamon, Papoose Root, Cohosh Azul, Squaw Root, Yellow Ginseng.
Blue cohosh is a plant. “Cohosh” is from the Algonquin Indian word meaning "rough," and it refers to the appearance of the roots. The root is used to make medicine.
Blue cohosh is used for stimulating the uterus and starting labor; starting menstruation; stopping muscle spasms; as a laxative; and for treating colic, sore throat, cramps, hiccups, epilepsy, hysterics, inflammation of the uterus, and joint conditions.
In foods, the roasted seeds of blue cohosh are used as a coffee substitute.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Starting labor and menstruation.
- Stomach cramps.
- Sore throat.
- Other conditions.
It is thought that blue cohosh might have effects similar to the hormone estrogen. It also may narrow the vessels that carry blood to the heart that can decrease oxygen in the heart.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take blue cohosh by mouth during pregnancy. Some of the chemicals in blue cohosh can cause birth defects. When taken by the mother late in pregnancy, blue cohosh can cause severe heart problems in the newborn baby, and can also be toxic to the mother.
Many midwives still use blue cohosh to make childbirth easier, because blue cohosh causes the uterus to contract. But this is a dangerous practice, and it should be avoided.
Heart conditions: There is some concern that blue cohosh might make certain heart conditions such as chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure worse. There is evidence that blue cohosh can cause blood vessels in the heart to become smaller and decrease oxygen flow to the heart. It might also increase blood pressure. Don't use blue cohosh if you have a heart condition.
Diarrhea: Blue cohosh might make diarrhea symptoms worse.
Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Blue cohosh might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use blue cohosh.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Blue cohosh might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, blue cohosh might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Blue cohosh seems to increase blood pressure. By increasing blood pressure blue cohosh might decrease the effectiveness of medications for high blood pressure.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
NicotineInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Blue cohosh contains chemicals that work similarly to nicotine. Taking blue cohosh with nicotine might increase the effects and side effects of nicotine.
The appropriate dose of blue cohosh depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for blue cohosh. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Ganzera, M., Dharmaratne, H. R., Nanayakkara, N. P., and Khan, I. A. Determination of saponins and alkaloids in Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh) by high-performance liquid chromatography and evaporative light scattering detection. Phytochem.Anal. 2003;14(1):1-7. View abstract.
Gunn, T. R. and Wright, I. M. The use of black and blue cohosh in labour. N.Z Med J 10-25-1996;109(1032):410-411. View abstract.
Jhoo, J. W., Sang, S., He, K., Cheng, X., Zhu, N., Stark, R. E., Zheng, Q. Y., Rosen, R. T., and Ho, C. T. Characterization of the triterpene saponins of the roots and rhizomes of blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). J.Agric.Food Chem. 2001;49(12):5969-5974. View abstract.
Kennelly, E. J., Flynn, T. J., Mazzola, E. P., Roach, J. A., McCloud, T. G., Danford, D. E., and Betz, J. M. Detecting potential teratogenic alkaloids from blue cohosh rhizomes using an in vitro rat embryo culture. J.Nat.Prod. 1999;62(10):1385-1389. View abstract.
Low, D. T. Blue cohosh and neonatal myocardial toxicity. Journal of the American Herbalists Guild 2001;2(2):9-10.
Rao, R. B. and Hoffman, R. S. Nicotinic toxicity from tincture of blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) used as an abortifacient. Vet.Hum.Toxicol. 2002;44(4):221-222. View abstract.
Scott, C. C. and Chen, K. K. The pharmacological action of N-methylcytisine. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapuetics 1943;79:334-339.
Baillie N, Rasmussen P. Black and blue cohosh in labour. N Z Med J 1997;110:20-1.
Eagon PK, Elm MS, Hunter DS, et al. Medicinal herbs: modulation of estrogen action. Era of Hope Mtg, Dept Defense; Breast Cancer Res Prog, Atlanta, GA 2000;Jun 8-11.
Edmunds J. Blue cohosh and newborn myocardial infarction? Midwifery Today Int Midwife 1999;52:34-5. View abstract.
Fetrow CW, Avila JR. Professional's Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines. 1st ed. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corp., 1999.
Finkel RS, Zarlengo KM. Blue cohosh and perinatal stroke. N Engl J Med 2004;351:302-3. View abstract.
Gunn TR, Wright IM. The use of black and blue cohosh in labour. N Z Med J 1996;109:410-1.
Irikura B, Kennelly E. American Health Consultants. Blue Cohosh: a word of caution. 1999. Available at: http://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/50424-blue-cohosh-a-word-of-caution.
Jones TK, Lawson BM. Profound neonatal congestive heart failure caused by maternal consumption of blue cohosh herbal medication. J Pediatr 1998;132:550-2. View abstract.
Lin LT, Liu LT, Chiang LC, Lin CC. In vitro anti-hepatoma activity of fifteen natural medicines from Canada. Phytother Res 2002;16:440-4. View abstract.
McFarlin BL, Gibson MH, O'Rear J, Harman P. A national survey of herbal preparation use by nurse-midwives for labor stimulation. Review of the literature and recommendations for practice. J Nurse Midwifery 1999;44:205-16. View abstract.
Reichert, R. Neonatal congestive heart failure associated with maternal use of blue cohosh. Quarterly Review of Natural Medicine 1998;Winter:265-267.
Wright IM. Neonatal effects of maternal consumption of blue cohosh. J Pediatr 1999;134:384-5. View abstract.