Caulophyllum is often used to accompany a Natural Labour Induction
Read on to find out more
This article is particularly focused on Caulophyllum as an aid to naturally inducing labour and its efficacy. For most women, homeopathic medicine can help enormously in the time leading up to the birth of a baby and in avoiding or reducing some of the problems associated with labour, as well as in dealing with post-natal symptoms.
Caulophyllum thalictroides Common name: Blue Cohosh
Family: Berberidaceae (Barbery)
Part Used: Rhizome and Root
Constituents: Alkaloids (methycytistine, anagyrine, bapitfoline, magnoflorine), steroidal saponins (caulosaponin, caulophyllosaponin)
Medicinal actions: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, vermifuge, uterine tonic, parturifacient (inducing or easing labor in childbirth labour), emmenagogue (a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow), anti-rheumatic
What is Caulophyllum?
Caulophyllum Caulophyllum thalictroides ((also known as Blue Cohosh), is a herb historically used as a medicine for various female conditions, such as pelvic inflammation, smooth muscle dysfunction, spasms, menstruation and childbirth. It is best known for the latter two uses. It is available as a herbal tincture, homeopathic pillules or as a homeopathic remedy (oral dose). Caulophyllum is said to ‘tone up’ the uterus in late pregnancy (from 39 wks), encouraging onset of labour and establishing effective contractions to lessen the chances of becoming over tired during labour.
While no current widely marketed homeopathic medicines are based on this plant, modern herbalists, homeopaths, naturopaths, midwives and other practitioners of alternative medicine continue to utilise this plant as an effective natural therapy specific to improving efficacy of labour. Research on the medicinal potentials of this plant are ongoing and despite no definitive outcomes either way, it is widely used.
When Caulophyllum is most useful
The homeopathic extract of Caulophyllum thalictroides is proposed to be useful in establishing labor, or when uterine contractions are short and irregular or there is an arrest (stalled) of uterine contractions.
Caulophyllum is a homeopathic remedy with no adverse side effects and is best taken in tandem with other measures, such as Induction Massage, acupuncture, reflexology or acupressure to cultivate a cumulative response. Check with your healthcare provider if required.
How homeopathic Caulophyllum works to naturally induce labour
The homeopathic remedy and the herbal tincture are very different. The homeopathic remedy relies on the ‘energy’ of the substance and not on any active ingredients as in the herbal tincture – therefore in theory you can take homeopathic remedies without any overt side effects; because they are unlikely to produce a physiological response, unless the ‘vibrational energy’ (of the person) matches what your body needs. Women often describe them as ‘sugar pills with a little bit of magic/energy’. Consequently, they will cause no harm to either mother or baby, or taste unpleasant as the herbal tincture does.
Choosing the right remedy
It is important to use the correct homeopathic remedy as a single remedy may not produce the desired result and can in fact, ‘prove’ the opposite. Therefore, it is important to pick the person well offering it to you or if self-procuring, understand yourself well enough to pick correctly the right combination of remedies that you might need.
- Homeopathic remedies are unlike other medicines and are meant to fit both the person’s physical concern and their particular character type.
- Here are other homeopathic remedies that might be used with Caulophyllum: Chamomilla; Cimicifuga; Gelsemium; Pulsatilla;
Why induce your labour
The most common reason to induce labour is ‘going overdue’. There may be medical reasons or health conditions of the mother or baby where an induction is necessary. It is unfortunately not uncommon for women to be pressured with induction at 41 weeks. It might be useful to ask your caregiver, ‘how can I go nine months with a perfectly healthy pregnancy, and NOW all of a sudden I’m high risk?’ At the same time, a woman might prefer to be induced at 39 weeks rather than wait for the uncertainty of labour to start, as long as her caregiver is agreeable.
How long does Caulophyllum take to work?
This will depend on when you start to take it according to your pregnancy status or in early labour. At 39 weeks, you might be taking it to tone your uterus as preparation for labour. Or, if in early labour with contractions being short and intermittent, or even stalled, a few doses (a single dose or several over a few hours) might be perfect to switch your labour into more active.
Caulophyllum Dosage and frequency
(A dose is 5-6 drops)
- Most homeopaths will recommend to their pregnant clients to take Caulophyllum either in the morning from 39 weeks (supported by various midwifery / birthing books) or taken before bed to stimulate labour overnight.
- Other homeopaths will recommend taking it earlier, however it is always best to delay taking anything earlier, as babies require the maximum amount of gestational time in order to be fully developed. Lung maturity and extra fat stores are laid down in the final last weeks of pregnancy and a baby that comes earlier (before 37 weeks) is at risk of developing respiratory complications and other possible risk factors that might require neonatal care for your baby.
- In particular, babies who are medically induced before their due dates are nearly twice as likely to spend time in the neo-natal intensive care unit.
Caulophyllum 30c – Dosage can vary from 30c to 200c (with 200c being a more potent dosage), however frequency will determine a result more than the potency. The homeopathic remedy 30c to induce labour is 5-6 drops under the tongue 3 – 6 times daily (over 24 hrs).
Caulophyllum 200c – The 200c is 5-6 drops 3 times daily.
You would stop the remedy when a change occurs – that is, you go into labour, more regular contractions or it stops! A day off in-between dosage is often recommended if you have the time to wait. Example: Day 1 – yes, Day 2 – no, Day 3 yes, Day 4 no.
The remedy can also be used to regulate contractions if they ease off and to increase dilation.
Post Labour dosage
1-2 doses can be taken to counter strong uterine contractions.
WARNING: All herbal medicines should be taken with a cautionary approach as an individual’s reaction may vary and is best taken under the guidance of professional care.
Caulophyllum Availability at the Healing Practice
At The Healing Practice- we offer homeopathic remedies in 30c oral and 200c pillules for your convenience. We will also be offering Caulophyllum in the herbal tincture form once our naturopath Lia returns from maternity leave with her second child.
Caulophyllum Medicinal use: It is a plant that comes to us from the North American Indians. It is an excellent uterine tonic that may be used in any situation where there is weakness of loss of tone. It increases blood supply to the uterus via vasodilatation (the medical term for when blood vessels in your body widen, allowing more blood to flow through them and lowering your blood pressure), and is indicated in conditions of uterine weakness and loss of tone due to chronic inflammation (ie. cervicitis, chronic PID, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, ovarian pain and/or inflammation, dysmenorrhea, and irregular menses). Because of its antispasmodic action, it will ease false labour pains, however, when labour does ensure, the use of Blue Cohosh just before birth will help ensure an easy delivery. As an emmenagogue, it can be used to bring on a delayed or suppressed menstruation while ensuring that the pain that sometimes accompanies it is relieved. It may be used in cases where an anti-spasmodic is needed such as in colic, asthma or nervous coughs. It has a reputation for easing rheumatic pain.
Toxicity: Nausea, headache, increased blood pressure at doses 3-4 x greater than those listed above. There are 2 cases in the literature of foetal harm (both associated with improper used including overdosing and use for too long a period of time); otherwise non-toxic.
Interactions: None known.
Contraindicated: Early pregnancy
Is Caulophyllum safe to take? Yes it is, preferably with guidance
Caulophyllum thalictroides World Checklist ( Medium Taxonomic Confidence )
MPNS (Medicinal Plant Names Services) labels each plant according to one of three confidence levels:
- High confidence: indicating that the taxonomy and nomenclature presented derive from a taxonomic account of an entire family which has been completed and undergone peer review.
- Medium confidence: indicating that the taxonomic research has been completed and is globally comprehensive as far as we know, but which has yet to undergo peer review.
- Low confidence: indicating that taxonomic research is ongoing, incomplete and that there is a greater likelihood of incomplete synonymy or of future changes.
- ‘Medicinal Plant Names Services Portal, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Version #, accessed on 11/01/2023 https://mpns.science.kew.org/mpns-portal/faq#TaxConfLevel
- Homeopathy for Women, Rose, Dr Barry & Scott-Moncrieff, Dr Christina; pub. Collins & Brown
- Birth, Price, Catherine & Robinson, Sandra; pub. MacMillan, Sydney 2010
Claire Cleaver is a Childbirth Educator, counsellor and bodyworker. She specialises in Pregnancy and Postnatal services.
Contact Claire on 0438 216 351
The Healing Practice is located at Albert Street, Forest Lodge NSW 2037
Updated: January 11, 2023