May 25, 2016

Blue Cohosh

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How does Blue Cohosh work?

It is thought that blue cohosh might have effects similar to the hormone estrogen. It also may narrow the vessels that carry blood to the heart that can decrease oxygen in the heart.

Are there safety concerns?

Blue cohosh is LIKELY UNSAFE for adults when taken by mouth. It can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, chest pain, increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar, and other severe side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take blue cohosh by mouth during pregnancy. Some of the chemicals in blue cohosh can cause birth defects. When taken by the mother late in pregnancy, blue cohosh can cause severe heart problems in the newborn baby, and can also be toxic to the mother.

Many midwives still use blue cohosh to make childbirth easier, because blue cohosh causes the uterus to contract. But this is a dangerous practice, and it should be avoided.

Heart conditions: There is some concern that blue cohosh might make certain heart conditions such as chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure worse. There is evidence that blue cohosh can cause blood vessels in the heart to become smaller and decrease oxygen flow to the heart. It might also increase blood pressure. Don't use blue cohosh if you have a heart condition.

Diabetes: There is some concern that blue cohosh might make diabetes worse. It can raise blood sugar levels in some people who have diabetes.

Diarrhea: Blue cohosh might make diarrhea symptoms worse.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Blue cohosh might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use blue cohosh.


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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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