How to Use Black Cohosh to Induce Labor


According to the National Institutes of Health, black cohosh is a plant that has been used for many years as an herbal treatment for a variety of female health conditions. Black cohosh is often used by midwives and other health practitioners to induce labor in women who are nearing or have passed their due date. The herb may help regulate and strengthen contractions, while promoting cervical ripening.

Things You'll Need

  • Black cohosh tincture
  • Black cohosh capsules, 500mg
  • Blue cohosh tincture or capsules
  • Speak with a healthcare professional before taking black cohosh during pregnancy. Because black cohosh has been documented to induce labor in some women, taking it before term can be extremely dangerous for both mother and baby. The herb should only be used with medical supervision.

  • Use five drops of black cohosh tincture to promote cervical ripening, regulate contractions and induce labor. Add the drops to a cup of tea or water and drink once or twice daily from 37 weeks gestation.

  • Increase the amount of black cohosh tincture drops to 10 if there is no cervical change after one week. Drink 1 to 2 cups each day. Discontinue using black cohosh if you experience any side effects.

  • Take black cohosh capsules daily beginning in week 38 of your pregnancy. The supplement is most effective when taken in divided doses throughout the day. Take one capsule each morning, another around lunchtime, and a third before bed. This amount can be gradually increased to four to six capsules after several days. Each capsule should contain approximately 500mg of black cohosh root.

  • Place 15 drops of black cohosh tincture under your tongue to rapidly ripen the cervix. Repeat this process every hour, or until cervical changes begin. The American Academy of Family Physicians warns that the effectiveness and safety of using black cohosh in this manner has not be fully evaluated or determined.

  • Combine black cohosh with blue cohosh for increased effectiveness. These two herbs work together to induce labor. While the primary purpose of black cohosh is to regulate contractions, blue cohosh is a potent herb that may significantly strengthen contractions, causing them to become more effective.

Tips & Warnings

  • Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, which means there is no guarantee that a product you purchase will contain the ingredient or dosage listed. Women with breast cancer or liver disorders should not take black cohosh, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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