by EBSCO CAM Review Board


Blue cohosh is a plant with yellow flowers that grows in North America. The root has been used to induce labor or menstruation. Blue cohosh has also been used to ease digestion. It has been taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Blue cohosh has also been made into a tea. It is likely not safe to take blue cohosh.


There are no advised doses for blue cohosh.

What Research Shows

There is not enough data to support that blue cohosh is helpful in treating health problems. We will review future studies as they are published.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely not safe to take blue cohosh.2,4,5,7 Blue cohosh may raise blood pressure and blood sugar and cause other health problems. Women who are pregnant should avoid blue cohosh.1,3,6 No studies have been done to say whether it is safe for women who are breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.


REF1 Dugoua JJ, Perri D, et al. Safety and efficacy of blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Winter;15(1):e66-73.

REF2 Pearl PL, Drillings IM, et al. Herbs in epilepsy: evidence for efficacy, toxicity, and interactions. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2011 Sep;18(3):203-208.

REF3 Hall HG, McKenna LG, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine for induction of labour. Women Birth. 2012 Sep;25(3):142-148.

REF4 Jalili J, Askeroglu U, et al. Herbal products that may contribute to hypertension. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 Jan;131(1):168-173.

REF5 Rader JI, Pawar RS. Primary constituents of blue cohosh: quantification in dietary supplements and potential for toxicity. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2013 May;405(13):4409-4417.

REF6 Dante G, Bellei G, et al. Herbal therapies in pregnancy: what works? Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Apr;26(2):83-91.

REF7 Brown AC. Heart Toxicity Related to Herbs and Dietary Supplements: Online Table of Case Reports. Part 4 of 5. J Diet Suppl. 2018 Jul 4;15(4):516-555.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
  • Review Date: 07/2019
  • Update Date: 02/14/2020