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Blue Cohosh

Also indexed as:Caulophyllum thalictroides
Blue Cohosh: Main Image© Steven Foster
Botanical names:
Caulophyllum thalictroides

Parts Used & Where Grown

Blue cohosh grows throughout North America. The roots of this flower are used medicinally. Blue cohosh is not related to black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). However, both herbs are primarily used to treat women’s health problems.

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  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Amenorrhea
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Traditional practitioners consider blue cohosh to be a uterine tonic and an agent that stimulates menstrual blood flow, and it is used as a remedy for lack of menstruation.
Dysmenorrhea
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Blue cohosh has been used traditionally for easing painful menstrual periods. Women of childbearing age using this herb should stop using it as soon as they become pregnant.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Native Americans are believed to have used blue cohosh flowers to induce labor and menstruation.1 Blue cohosh is a traditional remedy for lack of menstruation. It is considered an emmenagogue (agent that stimulates menstrual flow) and a uterine tonic. No clinical trials have validated this traditional use. It has also been used traditionally to treat painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Early 20th century physicians in the United States who treated with natural remedies (known as Eclectic physicians) used blue cohosh for these same purposes and also to treat kidney infections, arthritis, and other ailments.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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