Labor Tincture

Black Cohosh Root
Blue Cohosh Root
Ginger Root 

This tincture can be used to initiate labor, re-start a stalled labor, in cases of prodromal labor, to soften the cervix, and to expel the placenta. It an also be used to aid in the event of incomplete miscarriage. 

It contains Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, Lobelia and Ginger Root.

The Blue Cohosh encourages the uterus to begin contracting, and increases the force of the contractions.

The Black Cohosh helps the uterus to contract in a coordinated and effective way. Black Cohosh also will help soften and ripen the cervix.

The Ginger Root focuses energy in the pelvic area, and increases the energy available to the uterus and helps to calm nausea. 

Lobelia will help relax and soften the cervix and is a favorite of midwives for eliminating cervical lip or rim.  (For women who are already in active labor and who have a cervical lip or rim, it is advised to use plain Lobelia rather than Labor Tincture, as Labor Tincture has herbs that may intensify or increase the contractions.) 

NOTE:  These herbs have been traditionally used to help stimulate and encourage labor.  It does NOT work like a drug, such as Pitocin, that would force labor to start. Generally speaking, if the baby is not ready to come, the herbs won’t work.  

But if the baby IS ready to come, it does tend to work in a very high percentage of cases (although it may take several days of use – see below).  This is a safeguard, as trying to start labor too early or before the baby is ready could have a negative impact on the baby’s health and well-being.  Important developments are happening the last few weeks of pregnancy – brain and lungs in particular.  If possible, it is best to allow labor to begin naturally, but if a situation arises, the herbs can definitely help with avoiding induction or when the baby is overdue.  It is by far a much gentler (and usually very effective) choice over and above the drugs given for induction. (See Pam’s blog post for further information and resources here.)     

FURTHER NOTE: Black and Blue Cohosh are most effective when used together, such as in this combination.

Recommended use: Take 1/2 dropperful (15 drops) under the tongue every half-hour until contractions begin. Contractions will build slowly; do not discontinue until they become regular.

If this isn’t enough to produce results, you may increase either the dosage or take every 15 minutes, depending on how it’s working for you (i.e. if you’re getting contractions, but they subside quickly, take the tincture more often. If you’re not feeling any contractions at all, you may want to slightly increase the dosage. See how your body reacts, as every body and situation is different, and proceed accordingly.)

Using a breast pump or doing manual nipple stimulation in conjunction with the Labor Tincture will further increase the likelihood of starting contractions and labor. 

If no effect is noticed within 6-8 hours, discontinue and try again tomorrow.

It is recommended that you always start this procedure with sleep and a good meal behind you on the off-chance that it would start labor immediately. Generally, it takes 2-3 days for labor to really begin, although some could go into labor rather quickly, and for others it may take longer than the usual 2-3 days.

The contractions that it produces are gentle, but noticeable – a little stronger than a Braxton-Hicks.

Using Labor Tincture (for most women) is comparable to trying to start a lawn mower – you pull the rope and the engine revs and tries to start, but it usually takes a few pulls before it kicks in completely.  With the herbs, you take a dose and get a few contractions, and then they might fade away after 20 minutes or so.  Then you take another dose, with perhaps the same results, until finally it kicks you over into more regular contractions (active labor).  

At that point, you can discontinue the herbs.  If it is real labor, the contractions will continue without the use of the Labor Tincture. If they were only caused by the herbs, the contractions will stop, and you can then continue to take the herbs as suggested until you are truly in active labor. 

Please also monitor your blood pressure carefully, as Blue Cohosh, in extremely rare cases, can have an effect upon it (it may either raise or lower it). Symptoms would include (but not be limited to) headache, ringing in the ears, lightheadedness or dizziness.

If you experience any of these things, discontinue use and drink lots of water to flush your system. The herbs do not stay in your system for long, (which is why the need for frequent dosing) and your blood pressure should go back to normal quickly. If it does not, contact your health care provider for further instructions. 

This tincture would not be recommended for those with existing high blood pressure.  The Lobelia may cause nausea, but the Ginger would help to counteract it if that does occur.  (Please keep in mind that nausea and vomiting is common during labor and is typically a normal part of the labor process.  Excessive vomiting should be brought to the attention of your health care provider however.)

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