Medicinal parts of blue cohosh are the dried rhizome and roots and preparations of the fresh roots. Taste is sweetish, then bitter; almost odorless.

Blue Cohosh as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

Blue cohosh root is used to regulate the menstrual flow. Native Americans used this herb during childbirth to ease the pain and difficulty that accompany birthing, as well as to induce labor. This herb should not be taken during pregnancy, and should be taken in very small amounts in conjunction with other herbs, such as Black Cohosh.

Blue cohoshHistorically, Blue Cohosh was used for bronchial congestion, but some of the ingredients in the recipe used are no longer considered safe for internal use. The recipe consisted of 1 ounce each of Blue Cohosh and Comfrey, 1/2 ounce of Pleurisy root, 1/2 teaspoon of Lobelia and 1/4 ounce Ginger. An infusion was made using 1 quart of boiling water, then steeped, covered, for 20 minutes, then strained. One tablespoon was taken 3 or 4 times daily.

In traditional Chinese medicine Blue Cohosh was used to treat bronchitis, nervous disorders, urinary tract problems, and rheumatism.

This Native American herb, also known as black snakeroot and bugbane, has been a traditional favorite for feminine health issues for centuries.

It works to promote hormonal balance during menstruation and menopause, easing anxiety, discomfort, mood fluctuations, and occasional sleeplessness.

In English and American medicine, the drug has been used since the beginning of the 20th century for worm infestation, dehydration, menstrual ailments, cramps, and mainly to stimulate contractions and act as an antispasmodic during labor.

Culinary Uses of Blue Cohosh

In May and June a panicle of small yellowish green flowers emerge and one or two seeds about the size of a large pea, which ripen in August. These are sometimes roasted and boiled in water, and given as a decoction resembling coffee.


No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. However, blue cohosh should be used only with the supervision of a herbalist or doctor.

May increase blood pressure – not to be used by those with high blood pressure or heart disease.

The drug should not be taken during the first three months of pregnancy due to its estrogenic effect and possible teratogenic action of the anagyrines.

This is a difficult herb to use effectively and is currently limited to use by midwives and naturopaths in inducing labor.

Read More about: Herbs