The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Blue Cohosh

Scientific Names

Blue Cohosh

  • Caulophyllum thalictroides L.
  • Berberidaceae
  • Barberry family

Common Names

  • Beechdrops
  • Blueberry
  • Blue cohush
  • Blue ginseng
  • Papoose root
  • Squaw root
  • Yellow ginseng
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    Parts Usually Used

    Rootstock
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    Description of Plant(s) and
    Culture

    Blue cohosh is a hardy perennial plant 3 feet in height; the round, simple, erect stem grows from a knotty rootstock and bears a large, sessile, tri-pinnate leaf whose leaflets are oval, petioled, and irregularly lobed. Smooth-stemmed, stem and leaves covered with bluish film. The 6-petaled, yellow-green flowers are borne in a raceme or panicle. April to June before leaves expand. The fruit is a pea-sized, dark blue berry on a fleshy stalk. Blooms in May or June and the berries ripen in August.
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    Where Found

    Found in eastern North America, near running streams, around swamps, and in other moist places. South Carolina to Arkansas, North Dakota to Canada.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Stimulant, sedative, sudorific (produces sweat), tonic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, parturient, emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow), anthelmintic (destroys intestinal worms), demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, oxytocic (stimulates uterine contractions).
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    Biochemical Information

    Calcium, coulosaponin, gum, inositol, iron, leontin, magnesium, methylcystine, phosphoric acid, phosphorus, potassium, salts, silicon, starch, and vitamins B3, B5, B9, and E.
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    Cohosh is a name given the plant by the Algonquins.

    Roots are collected in the fall, when their chemical constituents are richest.

    The aborigines found in this herb their most valuable parturient; an infusion of the root taken as a tea, for a week or two preceding confinement, renders delivery rapid and comparatively painless. They also used the root as a remedy for rheumatism, dropsy, uterine inflammation, and colic. These uses have been proven reliable by all methods of practice since.
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    Uses

    A bitter, mildly toxic herb for menstrual disorders, painful menses, stimulates menstrual flow, cramps, fever, edema, blood tonic, leukorrhea, rheumatism, gout, nervous disorders, gonorrhea, ovarian neuralgia, vaginitis, dropsy, hysteria, palpitations of the heart, colic, and diabetes. Elevates blood pressure and stimulates uterine contractions of childbirth and stimulates the small intestine, and enhances symptoms of hyperglycemia.
    Good for hiccough, whooping cough, spasms, and epilepsy.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Blue cohosh should be used with medical supervision.

    Infusion: use 1 oz. rootstock with 1 pint boiling water; steep for 1/2 hour. Take 2 tbsp. every 2 to 3 hours, in hot water.

    Tincture: take 5-10 drops at a time.
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    Nutrient Content

    Potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, silicon, and phosphorus.
    These minerals help to alkalinize the blood and urine.
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    Warning

    Blue cohosh should not be used during pregnancy until the last 2 to 3 weeks before confinement; it is a uterine stimulant.

    Blue cohosh should be taken for only one week at a time, one to three capsules daily.
    It can be very irritating to mucous surfaces and can cause dermatitis on contact. Children have been poisoned by the berries.

    Do no take blue cohosh if high blood pressure is present. This herb raises blood pressure.
    Blue cohosh should be used with medical supervision.
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    Bibliography

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

    Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

    Buy It! Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 15th Edition, F. A. Davis Company, 1915 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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