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.
How it works
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.
Not ProvenStarting labor and menstruationConstipationStomach crampsSore throatHiccupsSeizuresOther conditions
Blue cohosh is LIKELY UNSAFE for adults when taken by mouth. It can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, chest pain, increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar, and other severe side effects.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It isLIKELY UNSAFEto take blue cohosh by mouth duringpregnancy. Some of the chemicals in blue cohosh can cause birth defects. When taken by themotherlate in pregnancy, blue cohosh can cause severe heart problems in the newborn baby, and can also be toxic to the mother.Are there any interactions with medications?
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.
Diabetes: There is some concern that blue cohosh might make diabetes worse. It can raise blood sugar levels in some people who have diabetes.
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.
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.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.Blue cohosh contains chemicals that work similarly to nicotine. Taking blue cohosh with nicotine might increase the effects and side effects of nicotine.