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Caulophyllum thalictroides (Berberidaceae)

BLUE COHOSH, SQUAWROOT

 

Herbalists use blue cohosh for womb problems such as painful periods today, as well as for rheumatism.

 

North American Indians have a long tradition of using blue cohosh to ease the pain of childbirth, and it was one of the medicines brought to Europe during the 19th century. Native to North America, it grows wild in moist mountain valleys, and has a tortuous branching rootstock, lobed leaflets, and small, yellow-green, six-petalled flowers in early summer.

 

PARTS USED

Root.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Steroidal saponins, including caulosaponin; alkaloids, including caulophylline.

 

ACTIONS

Anti-inflammatory; a strong expectorant; stimulates menstruation; reduces muscle tension and spasm; increases womb muscle tone.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Prescribed mainly for womb conditions, including painful or absent periods, and pain associated with pelvic inflammatory disease or fibroids. Also used for rheumatism.

 

PREPARATIONS

Decoction, tincture, extract.

 

CAUTION

Avoid in pregnancy until labour has actually started.

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