Root and rhizome.
The word 'cohosh' is basically an Algonquin (a North American language spoken in some parts of Canada) term and it needs to be mentioned here that a large number of indigenous American tribes had a great preference for the herb blue cohosh for remedial purposes. To a great extent, blue cohosh was regarded as an herb for use by women to facilitate childbirth, set right an anomalous or delayed menstruation as well as ease profuse hemorrhage and pain during menstruation. The Native American tribes ingested the root of blue cohosh in the form of an oral contraceptive and individuals from both sexes used it to cure genitourinary problems. Early settlers in North America from Europe learnt about the therapeutic worth of blue cohosh from the indigenous American tribes and eventually incorporated this herb in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States and it retained this status till 1905. It may be noted that the contemporary therapeutic utilities of blue cohosh are not fundamentally dissimilar from the traditional uses of this herb. Till today, blue cohosh is regarded as an herb, which is especially appropriate for treating health conditions endured by women and is mainly used in the form of a tonic for the uterus, providing respite from the ovarian and uterine pains and also to facilitate the discharge of menstrual blood. However, here is a word of caution: blue cohosh ought to be never used by pregnant women till the time of labor, as this herb is a uterine stimulant. However, it is extremely helpful during labor as it makes childbirth effortless and easier. In addition, the herb blue cohosh also has the aptitude to lessen inflammation and is occasionally employed to treat arthritis as well as other rheumatic conditions. Blue cohosh is an pungent, bitter and warming herb that acts as a tonic for the uterus, diminishes inflammation, helps to flush out intestinal worms and also possesses diuretic actions. The root of this herb possesses antispasmodic, diuretic, anthelmintic (any substance that helps to expel intestinal worms), oxytocic (facilitating childbirth), diaphoretic (inducing perspiration), and tranquilizing properties. An infusion prepared using the roots of blue cohosh in warm water is generally taken for approximately two weeks prior to the expected birth date with a view to make childbirth easier. In addition, the same infusion may also be employed in the form of an emmenagogue as well as a tonic for the uterus. Therapeutic preparations from blue cohosh are also used internally to treat gout, rheumatism as well as pelvic inflammatory disease. However, this herb should never be recommended for patients enduring high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart ailments. People who use the powdered form of the root may often experience an irritation of the mucous membranes. Hence, it is advisable that this herb should ideally be used under the administration of a qualified and competent physician.
Blue cohosh is found growing in the wild in many parts of eastern North America, ranging from Manitoba to Alabama. This herb has a preference for forestland valleys, slopes inclined to the north and moist banks of water bodies. Usually, the roots of blue cohosh are unearthed during autumn, since they contain the maximum amount of the therapeutic properties during this time of the year. Following harvesting, the roots are dried up and stored for use when necessary. The roots are also harvested during the early part of spring when new growth starts and these roots are used to prepare homeopathic remedy. This homeopathic remedy is particularly used to facilitate childbirth as well as to treat specific types of rheumatism. Blue cohosh may be grown without any difficulty in moist, light woodland soil that has high humus content. This herb has a preference for locations having complete shade. According to one report, blue cohosh grows and thrives best in a peat garden. Blue cohosh plant has the aptitude to endure as low temperatures as -20�C. It is interesting to note that this herb bears just a solitary large leaf every year. The seeds of this herb explode the ovary prior to them becoming optimally ripe and carry on expanding uncovered. The blue cohosh fruits have a vivid blue color when completely ripened. Primarily, blue cohosh is collected from the wild, but it is also possible to cultivate this plant. To cultivate blue cohosh, it needs to be propagated by its seeds, which are sown immediately when they are mature. Alternately, this herb may also be propagated by means of root division, preferably undertaken during autumn. As mentioned above, it is best to sow the seeds soon after they ripen. The seeds need to be sown in a shady portion of a cold frame. In case you are using stored seeds to propagate blue cohosh, they need to be sown immediately when you receive them. The germination of the seeds of this species may often be unreliable/ unpredictable. The seedlings should be pricked out individually when they have grown sufficiently large to be handled and grown in the shady portion of a cold frame or a green house for the minimum period of their first winter of existence. The young plants may be transplanted in their permanent positions outdoors during the following autumn or early part of the next winter. Blue cohosh may be propagated by the root division method ideally undertaken during spring or soon after the flowering season of this species. When propagated by root division, the new plant develops very sluggishly.
Till date, very few scientific researches have been undertaken with blue cohosh and, hence, there is definitely a need for more research on this subject. Blue cohosh enjoys an unfailing repute for being an herb that facilitates childbirth as well as treats several gynecological disorders. These therapeutic properties of the herb are to a certain extent attributed to the presence of steroidal saponins in blue cohosh. It is believed that the steroidal saponins are responsible for invigorating the uterus.
Blue cohosh contains:
The roots and rhizomes of blue cohosh possess several therapeutic properties and they are used in various forms, including infusion, powder, fluid extract, alcoholic tincture and caulophyllin. Powder: The standard dose of using blue cohosh root or rhizome powder is 0.3 gram to 1.0 gram taken thrice every day. This powder may also be taken in the form of decoction. It has been established that the official roots and rhizome results in a therapeutic impact having a mean dosage of 0.5 gram. Alcoholic tincture: The standard dosage of the alcoholic tincture prepared from the roots and rhizomes of blue cohosh in the ratio of 1:5 is taking 0.6 ml to 1.8 ml (about 120 mg to 360 mg) thrice or four times every day. Infusion: The infusion prepared from blue cohosh in the ratio of 1:16 is taking 15 ml to 30 ml (0.95 gram to 1.90 grams) once in every two to four hours. Fluid extract: The fluid extract from the herb's roots and rhizomes diluted in the ratio of 1:1 in 60 per cent alcohol is taken in dosage of 0.3 ml to 0.9 ml (310 mg to 920 mg) thrice every day. Alternately, you may also take the fluid extract (1:1) in 70 per cent alcohol in measures of 0.5 ml to 1.0 ml thrice every day. Caulophyllin: The standard dosage of this is anything between 130 mg and 260 mg.
People using various therapeutic preparations of blue cohosh or planning to use any of them, ought to be aware of the side effects caused by this herb and exercise necessary precautions. For instance, this herb should never be given to a pregnant woman before the start of the labor. In addition, taking preparations of this herb in large doses may result in high blood pressure (hypertension), in addition to other symptoms those are akin to poisoning by nicotine. Excessive dosage of this herb may also result in vomiting, queasiness, inability to have any control over the muscles (in-coordination) as well as constriction of the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart muscles. If you are taking the powdered form of blue cohosh root, it may produce an irritating outcome on the mucous membranes. It is inadvisable to give therapeutic preparations from blue cohosh to people enduring ischemic heart disease (including heart attacks and angina) as well as individuals who have high blood pressure.