Blue cohosh
shopping: two varieties
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Wholesale Blue cohosh

Caulophyllum thalictroides
plant overview
brightly berried blue cohosh

Also known as Blueberry Root and Squaw Root, blue cohosh was used by Native Americans of the northeastern U.S. and Canada, where the plant flourishes. The bright blue pea-sized berry is hard to miss, but it’s the root that the plant is known for. What is black cohosh used for? Dried blue cohosh root is used to make a blue cohosh tincture or a blue cohosh tea, while the powdered root is usually encapsulated. Blue cohosh benefits may include helping to alleviate hot flashes, menstrual syndrome and to aid in inducing labor. 

Where can I buy blue cohosh? We sell cut & sifted and powdered blue cohosh by the pound or quarter pound here at Herbco.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.
Blue cohosh

A Bit of Botany

a little botanical information about blue cohosh

Blue cohosh is a flowering plant in the Berberidaceae (barberry) family. It should not be confused with Black cohosh, which is a plant in a different genus.

Blue cohosh is an erect plant with tall blue flower stem. It has a height of up to 3 feet and a width of 1 ½ feet. The flowers are 5 petaled, yellow-green, on the top of tall stalks. The leaves are thin, bluish green, oval shape with lobes from 1-4 inches long. It blooms from June to August.

The fruit is blue-black and ⅓ inch in diameter. The rhizome is knotty, branched, brownish gray with white inside. They taste bitter and acrid.

From the single stalk rising from the ground, there is a single, large, three-branched leaf plus a fruiting stalk. The bluish-green leaflets are tulip-shaped, entire at the base, but serrate at the tip. This plant's three-lobed, veined leaves are dark purple when they emerge and later turn green.

Greenish brown or yellowish brown flowers appear in mid and late spring, turning into waxy blue berries that dangle beneath the leaves. Berries split open to reveal berry-like seeds that turn from green to blue. Very slow to increase in size.

common names & nomenclature
The name Cohosh is an Algonquin name and was given to both blue and black because of their similarity in looks (roots) and actions. Blue refers to the bluish stem and berries. The name Caulophyllum describes the leaf habit. The species name, thalictroides, comes from the similarity between the large highly divided; multiple-compound leaves of Meadow-rue (Thalictrum) and those of Blue Cohosh.

Also known as:
papoose root, squaw root, beechdrops, blueberry root, blue ginseng, yellow ginseng

Blue Cohosh, the blueberry root

Where in the World

habitat and range for blue cohosh

Blue cohosh is found in hardwood forests of the eastern United States. It grows in eastern North America, from Manitoba and Oklahoma east to the Atlantic Ocean.

Cultivation & Harvesting

considerations for growing and harvesting blue cohosh

Blue cohosh prefers to grow in hardwood forests, moist coves and hillsides, generally in shady locations.

Grows best in moist acidic soil that is rich in organic matter.

Divide Blue Cohosh plants in spring while dormant or after blooming. Grow by seed that has been stratified for 4 weeks, germination is within 2-4 weeks. It can also be propagated by root division. The seeds can be planted in midsummer as soon as the fruits ripen. Space 1 ½ to 2 feet apart in fairly rich, moist soil.

Plants grown from seed will have to be in the ground for up to five years before the root can be harvested. Harvest the rhizomes in late fall.

Dry the harvested rhizome until completely dried all the way through. The rhizome can then be cut into small pieces or powdered. Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

In summer, the plant produces small yellowish flowers and dark blue berries, which are poisonous and potentially fatal to children. Make sure children do not eat the berries.

The Rest of the Story

additional information

A natural compound, (caulosaponin) discovered in blue cohosh provokes strong uterine contractions. Caulosaponin, however, also narrows the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Blue cohosh has produced heart damage in laboratory animals and it is possible that excessive intake could be harmful for humans.

Blue cohosh appears to have effects similar to Pitocin, a medication commonly used to induce labor. Pitocin requires constant professional monitoring.

Blue cohosh is not a garden herb, but it's easy to recognize in early spring in forests from the Appalachians to the Mississippi. Before other forest-floor plants have shown signs of new life, blue cohosh's blue-purple stem and single large leaf have risen 2 to 3 feet. As spring turns to summer, blue cohosh produces three branches with three compound leaves each.

Keep blue cohosh berries away from children as they are poisonous and potentially fatal to children.

How to make Blue Cohosh tea

Making this tea is fairly simple. Boil 1 teaspoon of black cohosh per cup of water for about 20 minutes. The tea will be dark and bitter and can be sweetened honey to taste.

How to make a Blue Cohosh tincture

  • Add herb to a clean container with a good seal such as a mason jar
  • Pour vodka about 1 inch over the top of the herb
  • Seal and allow to sit in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks
  • When it reaches your preferred intensity, strain out the tincture

Important: Do not use blue cohosh during pregnancy without the guidance of a medical professional experienced in the administration of this herb.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor,
especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.