Blue Cohosh

Papoose root is a traditional herb of many North American Indian tribes and was used extensively by them to facilitate child birth[207]. Modern herbalists still consider it to be a woman's herb and it is commonly used to treat various gynaecological conditions[254]. An acrid, bitter, warming herb, it stimulates the uterus, reduces inflammation, expels intestinal worms and has diuretic effects[238]. The root is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, oxytocic and sedative[4, 21, 46, 165, 207]. An infusion of the root in warm water is taken for about 2 weeks before the expected birth date in order to ease the birth[207, 213]. This infusion can also be used as an emmenagogue and a uterine stimulant[213]. Papoose root should therefore be used with some caution by women who are in an earlier stage of pregnancy since it can induce a miscarriage or early delivery[222]. The plant is also taken internally in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, rheumatism and gout[238]. It should not be prescribed for people with hypertension and heart diseases[238]. The powdered root can have an irritant action on the mucous membranes, therefore any use of this plant is best under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238, 268]. The roots are normally harvested in the autumn, because they are at their richest at this time[213], and are dried for later use. The root is harvested in early spring as new growth is beginning and is used to make a homeopathic remedy[232]. It is used especially in childbirth and in some forms of rheumatism[232].