Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh Plant

Black Cohosh Benefits

In the past, Black cohosh was used for circulatory problems, rheumatism, arthritis and to reduce cholesterol. Now it is most well known for it’s use by women to treat the symptoms of menopause.

Black Cohosh has shown to be very effective in treating PMS, menstrual cramps and the complaints associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and fatigue. Because of it’s estrogenic effect, Black Cohosh has become a popular alternative to hormone replacement therapy.

German researchers have confirmed that Black Cohosh contains phyto-estrogenic compounds that act like estrogen. These compounds connect to estrogen receptors and decrease LH (Luteinizing hormone) in the body. This is what restores the balance of hormones in the body and controls menopausal symptoms.

Black Cohosh is also used to treat high blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory activity as well as bone preserving properties.

Do not confuse Black Cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. They are toxic and should never be taken. Always make sure you are getting Black Cohosh. Even Black Cohosh can be poisonous if taken in large doses. Always follow the dosage instructions on the bottle when taking.

Even though there are many benefits of taking Black Cohosh, there may be significant risks as well. Some researchers believe that this herb causes the immune system to attack the liver, causing inflammation (autoimmune hepatitis). People with this disease can have aching joints, abdominal pain and yellow, itchy skin. Without medical treatment, this illness may cause death.

Some reports suggest that people taking Black Cohosh seem to develop liver disease more often that people not taking it. It is believed to cause other liver trouble as well.

Much more research needs to be done to determine the safety of taking Black Cohosh.

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Black Cohosh Uses

  • Relieve the symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps
  • Increase estrogen production
  • Relieve the problems associated with menopause
  • Reduce hot flashes
  • Reduce vaginal dryness
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Treat high blood pressure
  • Treat osteoporosis
  • As an anti-inflammatory
  • Treat arthritis
  • Preserve bone
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood sugar
  • Treat diabetes
  • Alternative to hormone replacement
  • Prevent Excessive sweating
  • Prevent anxiety and depression

Scientific Name

Cimicifuga racemosa

Common Names

Black snakeroot, bugwort, bugbane, macrotys, squawroot

Where It Grows

This plant is native to Eastern North America

Which Part Of The Plant Is Used

The root

Black Cohosh Root

Black Cohosh Root

How It Works

Black Cohosh contains several compounds in it’s root. These are formononetin, triterpenes and acetein. In the 1940’s, German scientists discovered that these compounds mimic the effects of estrogen, a female hormone. It produces it’s estrogenic effect by suppressing the release of the luteinizing hormone that is produced by the pituitary.

How It’s Used

Black Cohosh roots are dried and ground into powder. This powder is then put into capsules. It can also be mixed in liquid to form a tonic.

Precautions and Side Effects:

Black Cohosh has been used safely for hundreds of years by millions of women. Upset stomach may occur at very high doses. Never take if pregnant or nursing without talking to your doctor first.

Description and History Of Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is a herb with bright white stalks and black twisted roots. One of it’s common names is bugbane due to the fact that insects avoid it.

The roots are black and twisted and very snake like. For hundreds of years, Native Americans used this root to treat gynecological problems, recovery after child birth, rheumatism and snake bite. Black cohosh has become very popular just in the last few decades to treat the symptoms of PMS and menopause. It’s also being studied as a treatment for high blood pressure, tinnitus and asthma.

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BIDMC Black Cohosh report
Office of Dietary Supplements Black Hohosh fact sheet
University of Maryland Black Cohosh review


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