Cohosh, Blue

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Cohosh, Blue

Botanical Name: Caulophyllum thalictroides (MICH.)
Family: N.O. Berberidaceae

Synonyms: Pappoose Root. Squawroot. Blueberry Root.
Part Used: Root.
Habitat: United States and Canada.

Description: A handsome perennial plant, growing in low rich, moist, soil in swamps and near running streams, smooth and glaucous, and bears in May and June a panicle of small yellowish green flowers and one or two seeds about the size of a large pea, which ripen in August. These are sometimes roasted and boiled in water, and given as a decoction resembling coffee.

The berries are dry and mawkish; the root is a hard thick, irregular, knotty, contorted caudex, one to several inches long, with long slender radicles up to 8 inches long, externally yellowy brown, internally whitish to yellow, with a central pith running longitudinally; taste, sweetish-bitter, then acrid and pungent, with a slightly (pungent) fragrant odour; yields its properties to alcohol, water or glycerine.

Constituents: Gum, starch, salts, extractive, phosphoric acid, soluble resin, greenish-yellow colouring matter, and a body analogous to Saponin.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Emmenagogue, antispasmodic, diuretic, diaphoretic and anthelmintic. Said to be successfully used in rheumatism, dropsy, epilepsy, hysteria and uterine inflammation, specially for chronic cases. It is sometimes combined with Mitchella repens and Eupatoria aromatica. In use it is preferable to Ergot, expediting delivery, where delay results from debility, fatigue or want of uterine nervous energy.

Doses: Decoction or Infusion. 1 OZ. of root to 1 pint of boiling water, macerated for 1/2 hour. Dose, 2 to 4 fluid ounces three or four times a day.

Tincture: 3 oz. of finely powdered root to 1 pint of alcohol, allowed to soak for two weeks, then well shaken and filtered. Dose, 1/2 fluid drachm to 2 fluid drachms. Fluid extract, 10 to 30 drops. Solid extract, 5 to 10 grains. Caulophyllum, 2 to 5 grains.