Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Black cohosh has many different names, for example black snakeroot, bugbane and rattleweed. This herb also has a long history of use as a medicinal herb and is used in various herbal remedies. It is a woodland herb native to eastern North America. The plant isn't very big, only growing to a height of 18 inches tall. Tall flower stalks appear in late spring covered with unusual white flowers with a very sweet scent.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Black cohosh is currently used to treat the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms. Historically, this herb has been used to treat rheumatism, arthritis and other muscle pain. It has also long been used to regulate the menstrual cycle and to treat premenstrual syndrome. It has also been a traditional remedy to induce labor in pregnant women.
Black cohosh has also been used to treat other abnormalities in the female reproductive system like inflammation of the ovaries and uterus, infertility, threatened miscarriage and to give pain relief in labor. This herb has also been used for hives, colds, coughs, constipation, backache and to aid lactation.
Externally Not used externally.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Black cohosh is frequently paired with blue cohosh to use in alternating doses to induce labor at the end of pregnancy. This should only be attempted under the guidance of an experienced care giver. It is also combined with bogbean as a treatment for rheumatism.
Roots The root of can be used either fresh or dried to make teas, capsules, extracts or tinctures.
Black cohosh can be the cause of stomachache and headache. Other side effects reported include a feeling of heaviness in the legs and weight problems. Do not confuse black with blue cohosh, which is a different plant entirely with very different effects. Pregnant women should not use this herb unless directed to by their care provider at the end of pregnancy. It should not be used by nursing mothers. There is also concern that women with a history of breast cancer in the family should not take cohosh. Excessive doses induce nausea and vomiting. There are no known drug interactions with this herb.
Preparation and Dosage
Black cohosh is usually taken from commercial preparations. Due to a variance in active compounds depending on the manufacturer, it is very important to follow the dosage instructions on the label very carefully. The typical dose for adults ranges from 40 to 80 mg of per day. For a tincture, that translates to 2 to 4 ml, to be taken three times per day diluted in tea or water.