Generic: blue cohosh
an herbal product -
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity to blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), any of its constituents, or members of the Berberidaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
One commonly reported effect of blue cohosh is its uterine- stimulating effects, which may be viewed as a desirable effect when used to induce labor, but an adverse effect when used for other purposes during pregnancy.
Other adverse effects of blue cohosh may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cardiotoxic effects on the fetus (when used in pregnant women). Myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure, shock, and myocardial toxicity have also been reported.
Strokes and seizures have been documented in infants whose mother ingested blue cohosh during pregnancy.
Due to nicotinic effects of the constituent N- methylcytisine, blue cohosh could cause dilated pupils, hyperventilation, nystagmus (involuntary, alternating, rapid and slow movements of the eyeballs), thirst, hyperthermia, seizures, hyper- or hypotension (high or low blood pressure), chest pain, tachycardia (fast heart rate), irregular pulse, or coma.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnancy: Although there is conflicting evidence about the use of blue cohosh during pregnancy, it has traditionally been used to induce labor or abortion. The use of blue cohosh to induce abortion has been associated with adverse effects in the mother and/ or fetus. There have been reports of cardiotoxicity in the newborn infants of the mothers who ingested blue cohosh; the resulting adverse effects included congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction (heart attack) or toxicity, stroke, and shock. Use of blue cohosh during pregnancy to stimulate the uterus in order to ease the effects of labor should only be used under medical supervision.
Breastfeeding: Blue cohosh is not recommended in breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.