(Excerpt from Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year pages 60 - 61)
The herbs used to initiate labor are listed here in order of increasing strength. With the exception of Castor oil (and there is some disagreement on that), these herbs will not
be effective unless the cervix is ripe. CAUTION: Do not try to initiate labor unless the fetus is at least 37 weeks gestational age.
* Get the uterus to begin contracting by "imagining" that it is. Don't try to force or push the feeling, just let it arise by itself. If your mind worries or focuses on the problem,
gently return yourself to the solution by affirming that labor has begun and that you will feel it very soon. As with all visualizations, this one works well with any of the other
* Homeopathic Caulophyllum 200x, is reported as a good labor initiator. The dose can be repeated every half-hour for two hours.
* Labor can be initiated by stimulating the uterus. Rub the belly softly and persistently, with or without oil. Make an infusion of Blue Cohosh and use it as an enema. Have an
orgasm. Rub and gently pinch the nipples. All are safe and effective ways to encourage uterine contractions.
* Castor oil, a favorite herbal remedy of Edgar Cayce, is used internally and externally to stimulate the uterus, soften the cervix, and help initiate labor.
Rub Castor oil on the belly and cover with a warm towel if the cervix is ripe and labor seems near. Or use Castor oil as a stimulating purgative. The dosage and procedure for starting labor with Castor oil varies considerably from midwife to midwife, but
everyone uses some form of this treatment. Two ounces of Castor oil, two ounces of vodka, and two or more ounces of orange juice is the usual dose.
This is often followed with a hot shower. After an hour, the dose is repeated and an enema is given. The dose is repeated a third time one hour later and
another hot shower enjoyed. labor will begin 3-5 hours after the last dose if all is well.
* Blue Cohosh tincture, 3-8 drops in a glass of warm water or tea, is very effective in starting labor. Repeat every half-hour for several hours until contractions are
regular. If labor is not underway in four hours, use a dropperful of the tincture under the tongue every hour for up to four more hours or until contractions are strong
* Homemade or commercial herbal labor tinctures, based on Blue Cohosh and supporting herbs, are commonly used as a safe and reliable way to initiate labor.
Follow the directions on the tincture bottle or take 10 drops every hour until contractions begin. One midwife uses labor tincture hourly and homeopathic Caulophyllum 200x every half-hour. She says this establishes a smooth labor within five hours. Contractions build slowly when a labor tincture is used; do not discontinue until they become regular. See Appendix II -labor Tincture.