Medicinal Uses of Blue Cohosh

Hi everyone! This is the script that I wrote up for my video on the medicinal uses of blue cohosh.

Blue cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides is notorious for being a reproductive tonic for women. It has been given the nickname blue ginseng for its deep blue blueberries and as a reference to Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius, reproductive tonics for men.

For women, it can be used to treat uterine inflammation, spasms, and menses pain. It can also help with menopausal pain because of antispasmodic properties from the alkaloid, methyl cytosine, and dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the pelvic region. It can also be used to treat prolonged bleeding, used to treat a weak pelvic, aching abdominal, thigh muscles, breast tenderness, abdominal pain caused by fluid retention (Brett, n.d.). It has soothing steroid- saponins, that are less estrogenic than black cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa (Zak, 1999).

Blue cohosh can increase urine flow, act as a laxative, and has weak diaphoretic properties.

"Cohosh" derives from the Algonquin word meaning "rough," which is referring to the look of the roots (Blue Cohosh n.d.). It’s an herb native to the United States and Canada, and has been used in older remedies for many Native American tribes such as the Iroquois tribes to improve muscle tone in the uterus with blue cohosh’s triterpenoid saponin hederagenin and is said to treat uterine prolapse. It’s used as a uterine stimulant for childbirth and ease labor pain. It was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1882 to 1905 as a labor inducer. Native Americans have also used blue cohosh to treat rheumatism, and this herb is found in small amounts in blends.

Blue cohosh is a powerful muscle relaxant and emmenagogue. It can be used to regulate periods and menstrual cramps, but it may inhibit ovulation. It promotes uterine contractions with its phytochemical, caulosaponin, and is sometimes used during later stages (last weeks) of pregnancy to help prepare the mother for childbirth and to promote easy labor (Gladstar, 2001).

The roots and rhizomes are the parts of blue cohosh that are used. Blue cohosh can be made into a tea, decoction, or tincture. Because the brew is dark and bitter, it may be ideal in capsule form.

Blue cohosh shouldn’t be used during the early stages of pregnancy because it can cause birth defects, miscarriage, or abortion. It’s important to take it under medical supervision because it may cause a stroke, heart failure, and other cardiac reactions during childbirth (Wong, 2019).

The caulosaponin has been tested in an inhumane and controversial study on dying animals (Gladstar, 2001). The researchers found that the caulosaponin narrowed arteries and may contribute to other heart damage. This may be information to consider. Blue cohosh might make diabetes worse because it can raise blood sugar levels. The berries are poisonous. Blue cohosh has strong active properties, so it’s helpful to do research on the plant and on products made with this herb. It’s important to consult your physician so blue cohosh can be taken safely and effectively.


Blue Cohosh. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Brett, J. (n.d.). Blue Cohosh: Herbal Remedies. Retrieved from

Gladstar, R. (2001). Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Wong, C. (2019, July 17). The Health Benefits of Blue Cohosh. Retrieved from

Zak, V. (1999, November). 20,000 Secrets of Tea. New York, NY: Dell Publishing.

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For any questions you have, you can reach me here:

Adrienne Lea, Certified Tarot Reader, Herbalist

Salem, Massachusetts

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