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|DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.|
|!!PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!!|
NOT TO BE USED BY PREGNANT WOMEN!
LARGE QUANTITIES CAN CAUSE TOXIC REACTIONS!
Increases blood pressure - not to be used by those with high blood pressure or heart disease.
Its bitter principles act much like nicotine in constricting peripheral blood vesels.
Children have been POISONED by berries thinking them to be blueberries!
The powdered herb is highly irritating to mucous membranes, so avoid inhaling!
Can cause contact dermatitis!
A perennial Eastern North American plant native to deciduous forests along running streams and moist, rich ground and swamps, growing to a height of 3 feet with a 1½ foot spread and having a bluish-green coloration when mature and a red-purplish cast when young. Round, fleshy STEMS are sheathed at the base. FLOWERS have 5 petals, are yellow-green appearing at the top of the stalks. LEAVES are 1 to 4 inches long, thin, bluish-green, oval and lobed, which is divided into 2 or 3 leaflets which may be further divided. FRUIT is a blue-black poisonous berry about the size of a pea. The RHIZOME is knotty, branched, brownish gray, white inside, bitter and acrid, irritates the tongue when chewed, with a mass of fibrous ROOTS below and cup-shaped scars above; taste is sweet-bitter becoming acrid.The name is said to derive from a number of reasonings: from the dark blue seeds; because of its resemblance to the unrelated black cohosh which has similar effects. What is true is that 'cohosh' is an Algonguin word. Appeared in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1882 to 1905, and in the NF until 1936, but was largely replaced by Black Cohosh beginning around 1915. Astrologically ruled by Pluto. This is a difficult herb to use effectively and is currently limited to use by midwives and naturopaths in inducing labor §
CONTAINS: Sterioidal saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids, mucilaginous compounds, polysaccharides, gum, soluble resin, 89% water when fresh (7% when air dried), 14%starch, salts; caulosaponin, caulophylline, baptifoline, cytisine, laburnine, leontin, hederagenin, methylcytisine (stimulates respiration and peristalsis, raises blood pressure), magnoflorine, phosphoric acid, vitamins B1, B2, A, C, E.
|PROPAGATION||By RIPE FRESH SEED in fall (best, but can be held over and stratified for 4 weeks, then soil temp of 65 to 70ºF.; germinates in 2 to 4 weeks but can be quite irregular, some seeds not germinating for one year), or by DIVISION of the rhizome in fall, by CUTTINGS from rhizome in early fall or spring.|
|NEEDS||Perennial to zone 3. Best as an ornamental in a woodland garden (NOT if you have children!). Space 18 to 24 inches apart in rich, moist, humusy soil (although said to be visually best grown in clumps), pH 5 to 8 in part shade (filtered sun); likes humidity.|
|HARVEST||Rhizome and root in autumn|
|FLOWERS||April to June|
|PART USED||DRIED RHIZOME/ROOTSTOCK with some applications referring to fresh rhizome.|
|FORM||Decoction, infusion, liquid extract, powder, tincture, syrup, and historically as a cordial.|
|RELATED SPECIES||Russian Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum robustum): Used similarly to the American species, but is more irritating.|