Other Name(s):

Algodón, Algodón Americano, Algodón Cimarrón, Algodonero, Coton, Cotonnier, Cotton Plant, Cotton Root, Cotton Seed, Cotton Seed Oil, Cottonier, Cottonseed Oil, Gossypium herbaceum, Gossypium hirsutum, Graine de Coton, Huile de Graine de Coton, Karpasa, Mian Hua Gen, Racine de Coton.


Cotton is a plant. People use the bark of the root to make medicine. Don't confuse cotton with cottonseed extract (gossypol).

Cotton is used for nausea, fever, headache, diarrhea, dysentery, nerve pain, and bleeding.

Women use cotton for menstrual disorders and symptoms of menopause. They also use it to bring on labor and childbirth, as well as to expel the afterbirth. Some women use cotton to improve breast milk production.

Despite safety concerns, men sometimes use cotton for birth control. Cotton is also included in some birth control products that are applied vaginally.

How does it work?

Cotton root bark might help stimulate menstrual flow, induce labor and delivery, and act as a male contraceptive.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Malaria. Early research suggests that taking a specific preparation (AM-1) containing cotton, Barbados nut, angular winter cherry, and Royal Poinciana by mouth for up to 7 days helps eliminate malaria parasites in people with malaria.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Menopausal symptoms.
  • Nausea.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Bringing on labor and childbirth.
  • Male birth control.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cotton for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Cotton is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth as a medicine or when cotton root bark preparations are taken in amounts found in foods.

However, men using cotton for birth control should understand that it might cause irreversible sterility.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to use cotton if you are pregnant. It might cause the uterus to contract, and this might cause a miscarriage.

Not enough is known about the safety of using cotton during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Kidney problems: Don't use cotton if you have a kidney condition.

Reproductive system condition: Don't use cotton if you have a problem with your reproductive system.


The appropriate dose of cotton depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cotton. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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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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