Interestingly, the two herbs pictured here, both of which have special actions on the female reproductive system, love to hang out together in our medicinal herb garden.
The beautiful heart-shaped leaves belong to wild yam, and the plant that has white flowers and leaves with a coarsely toothed margin is black cohosh.
Let’s talk first about black cohosh, which should not be confused with blue cohosh. Black cohosh is a member of the buttercup family, and is often used ornamentally. It has a long history of use by North American Indians for gynecological and kidney disorders, colds, and cough. It is a warming herb which has become a popular treatment for women’s health issues, including hot flashes due to menopause, menstrual cramps, and PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
Wild yam is a cooling herb, often used as a tonic for the female reproductive system, for hormonal deficiency, as an aphrodisiac and anti-spasmodic.
Please note that this information is provided for educational purposes only. It does not take the place of a medical evaluation and recommendations by a qualified health practitioner. These herbs may interact with prescription medications, so they should be used with caution.
By Marisa Laursen, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., Faculty at the California College of Ayurveda