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Warning: Blue cohosh is a toxic herb. Natural and Alternative Treatments (NAT) strongly recommends against using it.
Blue cohosh is a flowering herb native to North America, growing in forested areas from the southeastern United States to Canada. Sometimes known as squaw root or papoose root, the herb may have been used medicinally by native Americans, although this belief is controversial. Other common names for the herb include yellow ginseng and blue ginseng. Blue cohosh should not be confused with the similarly named (but unrelated and much safer) black cohosh . Blue cohosh was used in the 1800s by European settlers and African Americans, primarily for gynecologic conditions. 1 Blue cohosh also has a reputation as an herb that can induce abortions, although concerns regarding its efficacy and safety make this use extremely ill-advised. 2 In addition, it has been used for the treatment of arthritis, cramps, epilepsy, inflammation of the uterus, hiccups, colic, and sore throat.
Blue cohosh is usually used as a tincture. Common dosages range from 5 to 10 drops taken every 2 to 4 hours.
- Review of Natural Products. St. Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons; 1992.
- Irikura B, Kennelly EJ. Blue cohosh: A word of caution. Altern Ther Womens Health. 1999;1:81-83.