Blue Cohosh

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What other names is Blue Cohosh known by?

Actée à Grappes Bleu, Blue Ginseng, Caulophylle, Caulophylle Faux-Pigamon, Caulophyllum, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Cohosh Azul, Cohosh Bleu, Graines à Chapelet, Léontice Faux-Pigamon, Papoose Root, Cohosh Azul, Squaw Root, Yellow Ginseng.

What is Blue Cohosh?

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.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of blue cohosh for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Blue Cohosh work?

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.

Are there safety concerns?

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.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take blue cohosh by mouth during pregnancy. Some of the chemicals in blue cohosh can cause birth defects. When taken by the mother late in pregnancy, blue cohosh can cause severe heart problems in the newborn baby, and can also be toxic to the mother.

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.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

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.



Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

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.



Nicotine
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Blue cohosh contains chemicals that work similarly to nicotine. Taking blue cohosh with nicotine might increase the effects and side effects of nicotine.

Dosing considerations for Blue Cohosh.

The appropriate dose of blue cohosh depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for blue cohosh. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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