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Black Cohosh

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)


Native to North America, the black cohosh is found in rich woodland areas. It is quite a fan of moist hillsides, and it shares a home with some top class medicinal plants; the likes of ginseng and goldenseal. It is one, on a long list of buttercup family members, and has been known to treat a variety of diseases. The herbage does not contain a particularly strong odor, and is grown commercially in parts of Europe. It also has certain application as an insect repellent, although it is better known for its medicinal properties. 

Medicinal uses

The estrogenic properties of black cohosh have been evident for well over half a century. Based on extensive clinical research, black cohosh is now considered a viable replacement for hormone therapy, although it is still advisable to consult your physician before you choose to rely on this herb entirely, or delaying conventional forms of treatment. That said, black cohosh is still substantially effective in the treatment of unwanted menopausal symptoms. It reduces the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, as well as reduces mood swings and anger spats. These are, however, subjective advantages, and are sometimes lacking in some women.

Black cohosh improves depression moods, is an effective remedy for arthritis and muscle pain, and has been used to remedy night sweats and vaginal dryness, all symptoms of menopause. The list goes on, with black cohosh also gaining points as treatment for diaphoresis and palpitations. The evidence is still a bit mixed, but this herb has been known to improve menopausal symptoms for up to half a year. Long term use of black cohosh; up to and beyond 8 weeks, has been seen to result in a substantial reduction in nervousness, irritability, and tinnitus. These effects were dramatic, although the guarantees on safety past the 6 month period was, and still is a bit of a gray area.

Although there are some side effects, they are not serious enough to discontinue the treatment, under the principle that the benefits outweigh the limitations. Research also compared black cohosh treatments to various hormone replacement placebos, and found that it documented the safest and most efficacious results, which placed it firmly on the business end of estrogen replacement. The overall conclusion, one that is still viable to date, is that where conventional hormone therapy is contraindicated, then black cohosh is usually the recommended treatment. 

Dosage and Administration

The attribution of these medicinal qualities to one specific component of black cohosh has been an elusive prospect. They are usually spread out over not less than three constituent aspects. Most research has been based on a concentrated extract of the herb, administering 8 milligrams. This is based on a dosage of 4 mg, twice a day.

Parts used

The dried rhizome and roots are used.



Black cohosh has been used for decades to reduce and reverse the unpleasant effects of menopause. Its safety has been confirmed, although it does have some variant side effects that differ on a case by case basis. It reduces menstrual discomfort, and is still considered a viable replacement therapy for estrogen and is fast becoming a woman’s best friend. It has about a dozen constituent components that are positive contributors to female reproduction, causing a subsequent reduction in both premenopausal and menopausal symptoms. It benefits from rigorous research, and is now giving women a way to replace hormone therapy and the adverse side effects that come attached.

Side effects

The dosage has a very large role to play when determining the severity of the side effects. It is important to ensure that you moderate the doses. The side effects may be anything from nausea, stomach upset, vomiting, headache, to the occasional rash. Taking it in very high doses may result in tremors, dizziness, slow heart rate, uterine cramps, and joint pains. Black cohosh is not recommended to people with pre-existing liver problems, although there has been no conclusive research on any adverse effect to liver function on healthy women.

Black cohosh has also been tagged as making cancer drugs less effective. Some doctors claim that using it may reduce the efficacy of certain chemotherapy drugs, while having the opposite effect on other drugs. There is always the chance of allergic reactions, although rare. 


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