Black Cohosh is a perennial herb which is part of the family Ranunculaceae, or Actaea racemosa (also known as Cimicifuga racemosa). It is also known as black snakeroot, bugbane, macrotys, rattletop, rattleweed and “fairy candle.” This flowering plant is native to North America, growing in a variety of woodland habitats.
Generally, fresh or dried root of Black Cohosh is used for medicinal purposes, while the foliage is used as an insect repellent. It belongs to the buttercup plant family, and contains triterpene glycosides such as cimicifugoside and acetein, resins, caffeic acid, fukinolic acid, and isoferulic acid. This makes it a great remedy for a variety of health issues. Also, due to its estrogenic activity, Black Cohosh has also been used by women facing menopausal and menstrual problems.
Uses of Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh has been used by Native Americans for centuries to treat many health conditions. It is known to be used in the treatment of ailments related to women such as menopause, PMS, hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness (associated with menopause), menstrual abnormalities etc…
It is even known to help induce labor and lactation, and is also often used to treat other minor to severe health issues, such as sore throat, colds, hives, arthritis, constipation, backache, depression, and hypertension.
Although it has been traditionally popular as health remedy to many ailments, recent studies however, are now confirming the effectiveness of Black Cohosh in the treatment of these health conditions.
Benefits of Black Cohosh
Provides a Safe Alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
HRT is a risky therapy to choose for menopause relief, because women on estrogen replacement drugs have been proven to be 24% more likely to develop breast cancer than their counterparts that are not on hormone therapy medications.
The side effects of menopause is often debilitating, and women loathes it, however, it is no better news to treat this drop in estrogen with drugs that are likely to cause even more health problems.
There are several safe, natural remedies for menopause relief, and black cohosh has risen to become an important item on that list. Recent clinical studies have are trying to use black cohosh as menopause treatments to replace HRT, including the use of its supplementation.
Headaches and Migraines
Black Cohosh has a mild sedative property that can help in the treatment of headaches or migraines caused by anxiety, stress and depression. A capsule of its supplement or one cup of Black Cohosh tea before the onset of severe headache or migraine can help treat such occurrences.
Research has shown that, a woman’s body does not produce a balanced amount of progesterone and estrogen hormones during menopause.
Studies has also found that the estrogenic activity of Black Cohosh may reduce the symptoms of menopause by balancing the pituitary hormones as well as progesterone production.
A study conducted in Germany showed that 80% of women participants had, reduced menopausal symptoms after using Black Cohosh remedy. Black cohosh may minimize hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, headache and depression associated with menopause.
Reduces Hot Flashes
Some studies have been done on the effect of black cohosh on hot flashes, as a menopause symptoms. Though some of these research is inconclusive, however, there is little doubt that black cohosh is an effective treatment for hot flashes and a natural remedy for menopause relief in general.
Taking it regularly greatly reduces the number and severity of hot flashes, while decreasing the negative symptoms and effects that hot flashes brings.
Furthermore, Menopausal women aren’t the only ones who suffer hot flashes, as breast cancer survivors who have completed treatment have been known to experience hot flashes too.
However such women have also shown a decrease in hot flashes and sweating when using black cohosh. As it stands, a current study is also examining the management of hot flashes in men who have had treatment for prostate cancer.
Black cohosh possesses anti-inflammatory, decongestant, astringent, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. This helps with respiratory tract infections, asthma, bronchitis, nasal congestion, colds and flu. Drinking a cup of Black Cohosh tea twice daily may help relieve the symptoms of respiratory health conditions.
As mentioned earlier, black Cohosh has anti-rheumatic activity that may help relieve the pains and aches caused by rheumatoid arthritis. One capsule of Black Cohosh supplement or a cup of Black Cohosh tea, taken twice daily can act as a simple remedy for arthritis.
Treats Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are alien growths of the uterus. This usually appears during years when a woman’s fertility is at its peak. In 2014, a study found that the extract of Actaea racemosa (black cohosh) was actually more appropriate than the synthetic alternative, in the treatment of uterine fibroids.
Black Cohosh is an anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic herb which can help in the treatment of menstrual cramps, PMS and other symptoms associated with it by reducing inflammation and severe contractions and spasms. Menstrual Cramps are caused by the contraction and inflammation of the uterine muscles, and drinking a cup of Black Cohosh tea a day before the onset of the menstrual period and continued drinking at least once daily can help the symptoms fade away faster.
Sleep disturbance is one factor that worsens other symptoms of menopause. Sleep is important to balancing hormones naturally, and lack of sleep affects hormone production and management.
A recent medical study for postmenopausal women who suffer sleep problem found out that supplementing the diet of these women with black cohosh effectively improved sleep, thus can be a safe measure in managing menopausal sleep disturbance.
To sleep best, hormone experts suggest sleeping at least 7–8 hours a night. They further advise that you should try and ensure that four of those hours fall between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., in order to ensure the most effective and hormonally balanced sleep.
Side Effects of Black Cohosh
Long-term continuous use of black cohosh can lead to liver damage.
It is also common for Black Cohosh to interact with other herbs and medications, and an overdose of Black Cohosh may result in nausea, vomiting, indigestion, headache, low blood pressure, and irregular perspiration.
- It is highly recommended that Black Cohosh be taken under the guidance of your doctor.
- Also, since Black Cohosh is regulated by the FDA only as a food and not as a drug, it is recommended to buy it from well reputed distributors.
- Black Cohosh is not recommended for people who have hormone sensitive conditions, are going through chemotherapy or any hormonal treatment. Likewise, it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those taking oral contraceptives.
- To make a cup of Black Cohosh tea, simply steeping one tea bag for five minutes into a boiling cup of water.