Blue Cohoshs

Caulophylum thalictroides

A large perennial 50-1m (1-3ft) in height that when mature spreads multiple stems in a bushy fashion. Purplish lobed leaflets with tripinnate leaves. The flowers purple/brown to yellow/green hang in loose clusters which are followed by bright blue berries.

Family: Berberidaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Blue Cohosh is a key herb in Women

Habit and cultivation: Growing wild across the Eastern North America from Manitoba to Alabama, preferring woodland valleys, north facing slopes and damp banks. Can be propagated from seed or by root division in autumn. The roots and rhizome are collected in autumn at the end of the growing season when they are richest in natural chemicals.

Actions (known for): Anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic (uterine), emmenagogue, partus praeparator, progesterogenic, uterine tonic.


Used as a medical plant by many native American tribes and later by European herbalists and midwives. The seeds have been used as a coffee substitute when roasted and boiled. It has been traditionally used as a natural gynecological aid during childbirth to induce labor, reduce pain or induce a misbirth. Also used traditionally for menstrual irregularities. Blue refers to the blue berries and cohosh is attributed to the Algonquin word for rough (texture of the root).

Parts used:

Root and rhizome.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Caulpphylline, caulosapogenin, cystine (alkaloid), laburnine (alkaloid), magnoflorine.

Nutritional constituents:


Amenorrhoea, dysmenorrohoea, endometriosis, pregnancy and preparation for uterus during labour, rheumatic conditions.


Liquid extract (1:2): 10-20ml per week. Decoction: 1tsp of dried root in a cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10mins, drink 3 x daily. Tincture: 0.5-2ml 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Ammenorrhoea, threatened miscarriage, false labour pains, dysmenorrhoea, rheumatic pains. Specific: Conditions associated with uterine atony.

Cautions for therapeutic doses

Contraindicated during 1st and 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

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