An emmenagogue is an herb or compound that has a regulating effect on menstrual flow. Emmenagogues are administered when menstruation is delayed or absent for a reason other than pregnancy, such as hormonal imbalance, stress, anxiety, poor diet or health conditions such as oligomenorrhea (infrequent or light menses). They work by stimulating blood flow in the pelvic area. Black cohosh is a sedative emmenagogue, in that it promotes menses when uterine cramps and congestion hinder menstrual flow. In addition to relaxing the uterus black cohosh is also believed to improve muscle tone as well. These herbs must be avoided during pregnancy as they can induce contractions.


  • Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
  • Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
  • Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

In this video, herbalist Phyllis Light discusses the herb black cohosh, including its phyto-estrogenic classification and its use for menstrual problems, fertility and hot flashes.

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