There are a number of blue cohosh benefits as well as contra-indications to its use. Also known as blue ginseng, blue cohosh is available to the consumer in a wide range of formats including powder, capsules, tea, and tincture.
The relatively high number of contra-indications means that it is best administered under the direction of a qualified herbal practitioner.
Several parts of the plant can be used in herbal preparations, including the leaves and the root, although the berries should be avoided.
Black and blue cohosh have often been confused, but the two are completely separate herbs with different uses and effects.
Blue cohosh benefits include:
- Sore throats. The herb has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce infection in the throat.
- Cramps and muscle spasms. It has an anti-spasmodic quality, which can ease these pains and soothe spasms.
- Epilepsy. The spasms in epilepsy may be eased when using blue cohosh, though herbal preparations for this condition will usually have this herb blended with others for maximum effect.
- Asthma. The spasms in the respiratory system which bring on an asthma attack may be reduced when using blue cohosh.
- Menstruation problems. This herb can stimulate blood flow in the uterus and ease the cramps associated with menstruation. It is therefore useful for women who suffer from irregular periods or who have weakness in the uterus.
- Water retention. The herb can be used as a diuretic, encouraging the expulsion of waste from the body.
Using Blue Cohosh
Blue cohosh benefits can be enjoyed by drinking blue cohosh tea. The dried herb is steeped in boiling water for several minutes and strained. The user can consume up to three cups a day.
An alternative method is to use the tincture by taking one or two drops up to three times a day. The dried root can be eaten, though the tea and tincture are more palatable.
There are a number of side effects to blue cohosh which need to be considered before embarking on any course of treatment with it.
It is important not to confuse blue and black cohosh, as they have different benefits and different side effects. The root can be toxic if not prepared and administered correctly.
Users should have their blood pressure and blood sugar levels monitored. Excessive doses can have a similar effect to nicotine poisoning, so care is needed not to exceed the recommended amounts. Pregnant and nursing women should not use this herb at all.
Anybody who is already on prescription medication or another herbal supplement should seek professional advice before beginning a course of treatment with blue cohosh. It can interfere with the effectiveness of other treatments.
A prolonged course of treatment is also not recommended due to the alkaloid content in the herb. The maximum period for using blue cohosh is recommended as six months. Its ability to raise blood pressure means that it is not suitable for long term use, and users who have suffered a stroke or who have been diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease should not use it at all.