Cotton is a plant. People use the bark of the root and seed to make medicine. Don't confuse cotton with cottonseed extract (gossypol).

People use cotton for conditions such as menstrual disorders and menopause symptoms, as well as to induce childbirth, and for birth control in men, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
When taken by mouth: Cotton is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken in amounts found in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if cotton is safe when taken by mouth in the amounts found in medicine or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if cotton is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to use cotton if you are pregnant. It might cause the uterus to contract, and this might cause a miscarriage.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if cotton is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Kidney problems: Don't use cotton if you have a kidney condition.

Reproductive system condition: Don't use cotton if you have a problem with your reproductive system.


Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Malaria. Early research suggests that taking a specific preparation (AM-1) containing cotton and other ingredients by mouth for up to 7 days helps eliminate malaria parasites in people with malaria.
  • Bringing on labor and childbirth.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Male birth control.
  • Menopausal symptoms.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Nausea.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cotton for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate dose of cotton depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cotton. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Cotton interacts with any medicines. Before taking Cotton, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.


Cotton root bark might help stimulate menstrual flow, induce labor and delivery, and act as a male contraceptive.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 19/05/2021 18:36:13 and last updated on 09/12/2014 18:24:33. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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