What is Blue Cohosh: Uses, Side Effects, Dosage, Precautions, Interactions

Nature swarms with a wide variety of plants, trees, and herbs with medicinal properties useful for treating different medical conditions. Blue cohosh is one of such herbs with medicinal properties. Blue cohosh is a perennial plant with yellowish-green flowers that blossom in early spring and mature into bright blue seeds. It is necessary to know the uses, side effects, dosage, precautions and interactions of blue cohosh.

What is Blue Cohosh?

What is Blue Cohosh?

Blue cohosh is found in the woodlands of Midwestern and eastern United States. The rough-roots of this herb contain medicinal properties and are used extensively for making medicines and supplements. The supplements and medicines prepared from the roots of this natural herb are widely used for treating different conditions. Let us look at blue cohosh in detail, with its uses, side effects, dosage, precautions and interactions.

What Are The Medicinal Uses Of Blue Cohosh?

The herbal supplements or medicines made from blue cohosh aid in stimulating the uterus and inducing labor in pregnant women. The medicines help to cause menstrual period in non-pregnant women. The herb also effectively eliminates muscle spasms and treats colic, cramps, sore throats, hiccups, hysterics, and inflammation in the uterus, overgrowth of uterine tissue, and infections in female organs. These are the main uses of blue cohosh, hence is popular in treatment of menstrual irregularities and disorders of the uterus.

What are the Side Effects of Blue Cohosh?

Alongside the medical benefits, consuming the herbal supplements of blue cohosh may cause some discomfort too. Some of the commonest side effects of blue cohosh include stomach cramps, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, chest pain, increased blood sugar, etc.

Taking the herbal supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unsafe. The chemicals in the herbal supplement may cause congenital disabilities if taken by the mother during pregnancy. The newborn baby may also develop severe heart problems if the mother takes the supplement during late pregnancy and it also may prove to be toxic for the mother. As these side effects of blue cohosh can be serious, it is necessary to seek medical advice before using the herb.

What Precautions Are Needed When Taking Blue Cohosh?

People suffering from certain conditions need to take precautions when using blue cohosh. Blue cohosh may worsen conditions of high blood pressure and chest pain. The chemicals in the herb cause contraction of the blood vessels which results in decreases the oxygen flow to the heart. Such a reaction will increase blood pressure.

Diabetic patients must stay away from blue cohosh as it may raise the blood sugar levels. Similarly, the medicinal herb may also worsen the symptoms of diarrhea. Thus, patients with such symptoms must avoid taking the supplements.

Blue Cohosh may act like estrogen which will worsen hormone-sensitive conditions like uterine cancer, breast cancer, and endometriosis, ovarian and uterine fibroids.

Exposure to estrogen can exacerbate such conditions, in which case the patients must avoid taking blue cohosh supplements.

What Is The Right Dosage Of Blue Cohosh?

The vital point is to take the supplements in the correct dosage! The appropriate dosage depends on the user’s age, health conditions including other conditions. Though the use of blue cohosh is widespread, there are no clinical trials suggesting the right dosage of blue cohosh supplements.

Though it is a natural product, one needs to make sure to follow the dosage directions on the product labels. It is better to consult a physician or a healthcare professional before using the product. Consulting a trained practitioner with experience in using herbal health supplements is a good idea. The dosage quantity must be as directed by the pharmacist or healthcare provider or doctor.

Is There Any Interaction Of Blue Cohosh With Other Medicines?

Blue cohosh has interactions with diabetes and blood pressure lowering medicines. Diabetic persons must avoid taking blue cohosh supplements as the properties of the herb may increase the blood sugar level and decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medicines. People taking high blood pressure medication must avoid consuming the herbal supplement as it increases the blood pressure and also decreases the effectiveness of the medicines for controlling the condition.

Blue cohosh contains chemicals with similar features of nicotine and has interaction with nicotine. Hence, if people consuming nicotine take blue cohosh, it can raise the blood levels and increase the risk of nicotine side effects. Several other drugs may also interact with the medicinal properties of blue cohosh causing side effects, hence caution is necessary.


Though blue cohosh possesses medicinal properties and has various uses for menstrual problems, taking the herbal supplement may not be safe for everyone. Consider the side effects and precautions along with interactions with food or medicine before using blue cohosh. Consulting your doctor before consuming the products will be beneficial, regarding its safe usage and appropriate dosage. Make sure to follow the directions on the product and follow medical advice.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 8, 2019

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