Blue Cohosh

(Caulophyllum thalictroides)

Blue cohosh, known also as squaw root, 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.

Native Americans are believed to have used blue cohosh flowers to induce labour and menstruation. Blue cohosh is a traditional remedy for lack of menstruation. It is considered an emmenagogue (agent that stimulates menstrual flow) and a uterine tonic. It has also been used traditionally to treat painful periods (dysmenorrhoea).

What it does

The herb contain several alkaloids which may have various actions, however a compound called caulosaponin is thought to stimulate contractions of the uterus. It is said to be anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, a uterine tonic and to stimulate menstruation.

Potential Uses

Amenorrhoea (absence of periods) Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) Menopausal rheumatism
Vaginal inflammation

Other information

This herb is most commonly found with other herbs in formulas aimed at regulating female hormones. It can help to establish a regular cycle in adolescence and is useful when a woman stops taking the contraceptive pill to re-establish menstruation.


Blue Cohosh should not be used in pregnancy.

High doses may lead to headaches, nausea and high blood pressure.

Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using Blue Cohosh.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with Blue Cohosh.


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