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Can I Use Blue Cohosh to Induce Labor?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2014
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Many women who follow homeopathic medical practices recommend blue cohosh to induce labor, making it a common herb for those working as midwives. Although it has not been scientifically tested or approved, it is believed to induce labor and even make childbirth easier. Like many herbs, a healthcare professional should be consulted before using blue cohosh, particularly since it may lead to other health issues.

Blue cohosh, also called blue ginseng, blueberry root, beech drops, and yellow ginseng, is a plant used in herbal medicine. It is most often taken as a capsule or brewed as a tea. Many people believe that taking it will cause contractions in the uterus that will lead to labor. Some homeopathic practitioners recommend it during the last two weeks of pregnancy to strengthen the uterus, though many medical providers discourage this practice. Among its many side effects, the baby may be born prematurely.

The chemical properties of the herb are what cause blue cohosh to induce labor. Specifically, caulosaponin and an oxytocin-like chemical both cause the uterus to contract. If taken before the end of pregnancy, it can cause the baby to be born prematurely, which can lead to many health problems. Many women wait until their due date is past, then they begin to drink the tea made from blue cohosh. At that time, many practitioners believe that it will not harm the mother or the baby.

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Using blue cohosh to start labor is quite common, but it is also used to treat other medical ailments as well. For example, some practitioners believe that it will treat epilepsy, rheumatism symptoms, throat infections and mild viral illnesses. Others also believe that it will cause a woman to start the blood flow associated with her menstrual cycle and reduce water retention.

There are some precautions that pregnant women should take when using blue cohosh. It is important to make sure the baby will not be born prematurely, leading to respiratory, developmental, and other ailments. In addition, women who have kidney disorders or heart disease should not use any products containing this herb. Also, if a woman has been cautioned by a medical professional to limit her intake of estrogen, she should not use blue cohosh. It has some properties that mimic those found in estrogen, making it dangerous for women with certain cancers and other illnesses.

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