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Black Cohosh Benefits Uses Side Effects and Recommended Dosage | Where to buy Black Cohosh?

Updated on January 24, 2015
Black cohosh flower
Black cohosh flower

Actaea racemosa aka Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is native to the eastern North American forests. It has a long history of use by Native Americans to treat many diseases, including hives, constipation, rheumatism, fatigue, sore throat, colds, cough, back pain, menstrual cramps, menopause and malaria. The gnarled black root is harvested, dried and ground to a powder which is used in various sort of herbal medicines, such as capsules, tablets, tinctures, liquid extracts and teas. It can also be used fresh. This article discusses the medicinal uses of black cohosh, its active ingredients, side effects and recommended dosages.

The Health Benefits of Black Cohosh Root

Black cohosh root contains phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens can mimic estrogens that occur naturally in the body. It also contains glycosides that have been shown to be useful in suppressing a hormone responsible for causing decreased levels of estrogen in the female body during midlife. Taken as a supplement during pre-menopause and menopause, black cohosh root causes an estrogenic effect, which may help relieve menopausal symptoms during this phase of life. It does not affect blood levels of follicle stimulating hormone. The current hormone replacement therapies cause a reduction in follicle stimulating hormone, which is connected to a high risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Also black cohosh root contains alkaloids and salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a basic building block of aspirin.

Black Cohosh Root
Black Cohosh Root

Treatment for menopausal symptoms, premenopausal and Menstrual irregularities.

As a daily supplement to the diet, the root of the black cohosh has been proven to relieve symptoms such as abdominal cramps and pain associated with menstruation. It is also effective in relieving night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, sleep disorders, headaches, heart palpitations, and vaginal dryness associated with menopause and pre-menopause.

Powerful anti-oxidant

Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals. The free radicals are responsible for causing oxidation which leads to tissue inflammation. Inflammation is a precursor of many cases of serious illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.

Prevention of Osteoporosis

Some studies have shown that black cohosh root has a antiosteoporotic effect, which means it can help prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis condition. A laboratory study in rats that were fed black cohosh root, they found that it facilitates the formation of bone. Menopausal women are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis due to hormonal changes.

Anti-Cancer & Anti-Inflammatory

Currently, the root of the black cohosh is being studied for its cancer-preventing properties. Early studies show that it may be useful in preventing the growth of cancer cells, in particular for the prevention of prostate cancer. It has also been shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells in men who have been diagnosed with this disease.

Black cohosh root has been found to be effective in relief of symptoms associated with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It helps to reduce inflammation in the joints and relieve pain and swelling associated with these diseases.

Side Effects of Black Cohosh root

Black Cohosh root supplements may cause gastrointestinal disturbances, including nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort and stomach pain. It can also cause headaches and dizziness in some people. Pregnant women should not take black cohosh root, it can cause miscarriage. It is also not recommended that women who have a personal or family history of breast cancer taking this supplement. Some studies have shown it can increase the risk of breast cancer. There is little evidence that this supplement interacts with other medications, except tamoxifen, a common drug used for the treatment of ovarian and breast cancer. It can also cause an allergic reaction in some sensitive people, especially if you are allergic to any plants in buttercup family.

Black Cohosh Extract
Black Cohosh Extract

Recommended Dosage

The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that adults can consume 40 to 80 milligrams daily. Alternatively, you can also take 2-4 ml liquid extract daily. You can also drink a cup of herbal tea made of this. Black Cohosh root should never be given to children. Due to very few scientific studies, it is not recommended to take this supplement for more than six months. There are very few data available regarding the long-term side effects of Black Cohosh root.

In conclusion, Black Cohosh root can be a blessing for many women suffering from pre-menopause and menopause symptoms. This supplement is an herbal alternative to hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen replacement therapy has been associated with ovarian and breast cancer and, therefore, their use is now controversial. If you are thinking of taking black cohosh root supplement, talk to your doctor who can advise you whether it would be effective for you and discuss dosages and side effects. Not all herbal supplements are appropriate for everyone.


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Thank you for the information on this root. It seems it is very useful for many things.