Black cohosh: A Medical Herb, Benefits, Uses, Side Effects

The perennial plant belongs to North America. Its scientific name is Actaea racemosa. With many native names like rattle weed, macrotys, snakeroot, black bugbane, bugwort, etc. Roots and rhizomes are a vital part of the plant. People cultivated Black cohosh: in the wild for medical uses.

Active ingredients are unknown, yet these are some chemicals find in black cohosh. Triterpene glycosides, (actein, cimicifugoside) resims like cimicifugin, aromatic acid derivates like fucinolic acid, caffeic, isoferulic acid. 

10 Benefits and uses of black cohosh:

For centuries, black cohosh has been used mainly for women. Most of its benefits are related to women’s health and gynecology.

1: Black cohosh as anti-spasmodic:

Beneficial in menstrual cramps. For half century been used as a pain-relieving tonic in Europe for the reproductive health of women. Along with its anti-inflammatory nature, it is an excellent herb for muscle and nerve pain relief.

2: Helpful in hot flashes:

During periods, women experience hot flashes, which is very painful. Cohosh herb helps in dealing with these hot flashes.

3: Use to treat PCOS:

Although there is little evidence, people believe that it helps treat polycystic ovarian syndrome in women. Due to this disease, women fail to conceive. But if you use black cohosh along with Clomid, it helps a lot.

4: Deals with infertility:

Individuals have used Black cohosh to increase fertility and chances of getting pregnant, but there is no solid evidence.

5: Black cohosh as a partus preparator:

Mid-wives have used Black cohosh for assisting during labor and delivery since ancient times.

6: Useful against snake-bites:

The native North Americans have used Black cohosh in severe conditions due to snake bites.

7: Treatment of fibroids:

A study on 244 women having fibroids was done for using black cohosh as treatment. The size of fibroids was decreased by 30% by using 40mg of the herb supplement daily for three months.

8: Treatment of breast cancer:

Many test-tube studies have proved that black cohosh extract helps decrease the spread of cancer cells by showing anti-estrogen activity. 

9: Treatment of other diseases:

In native America, people used black cohosh for centuries for treating fever, cough, and pneumonia.

Nowadays, we use it in the treatment of migraines and arthritis. Some evidence also supports its use for treating osteoporosis.

10: Anti-inflammatory action:

Due to the presence of salicylic acid, black cohosh acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is a suitable replacement for painkillers like aspirin. As an anti-inflammatory herb, it dilates blood vessels, increases the health of the heart, and helpful in high blood pressure.

Availability in different forms:

Roots and rhizomes are the main beneficial parts of the plant. The market comes in dry herb form, liquid extract, dried extracts in pill form.

Dried powder form:

Roots are dried and milled to get a powder form. You can dry the Roots in 85°F to 95°F. The drug producers packed this powder in the form of capsules. The encapsulated powder can be taken by adding in smoothies.

Tincture form:

Liquid from most delicate roots is extracted and mixed with ethanol. It is more effective in tincture form instead of dry form. According to Richo Chech (an author of books related to herbal medicines), the drying process of roots lost many medicinal properties. They used a Tincture form to make the female reproductive system healthy.

Tea form:

You can use Black cohosh in tea form. It tastes like sour dirt and bitter. Women use it to control their mood swings, anxiety, discomfort, and even skin health.

How to preserve the Black cohosh herb?

You can preserve cohosh herb for more than a year 8f roots are dried properly at 80°F to 95°F. Once dried, you store in burlap bags, polythene sacks, and drums.

Harvesting black cohosh:

A site with rich and well-drained soil is best for its cultivation. It grows in full sun but naturally finds it in shady areas. It can be grown in different ways.

  • A shade-grown or artificial shady place

To provide artificial shade, they use polypropylene cloth. It provides 30 to 85% shade. The structure should be 6 to 7 feet tall with open ends so that the wind can pass.

  • Woods cultivated:

 Raised in woods. If you want to cultivate Cohosh herb in woods, then site having mayapple, trillium, ginseng, bloodroot grows.

There are two ways how you can get seeds.

One way is to purchase seeds and sow them in the soil, but it may take two years to germinate. 

Another way is to get seeds naturally. Harvest the seed in the fall and sow in the ground immediately. It is the easiest method. A sign of seeds being ready is a rattling sound. At this stage, seeds are ready to be taken from dried-up capsules. You can cut roots having buds and place them in seedbeds 1 to 2 inches apart. To increase activity and moist of soil, add bark mulch. These seeds will grow into beautiful plants with inflorescence in late spring and mid-summer.

Availability in the market:

Black cohosh is an important medicinal herb that comes in many brands. It is readily available in tincture form or dried powder form on the market. You can also order from Online stores.

Safety precautions:

Black cohosh is known for affecting the liver. Different countries give different labels on herb products. In America, the association of their herbal products issues warning over pregnant women use. While in Australia, the Department of health allows products to sell if it labels precautions for liver harm. 

Recommendation amount to be taken:

There are different brands and forms of black cohosh in the market. The FDA (federal drug authority) has not regulated it.

  • In tincture form, 0.4- 2mm of dose along with 60% ethanol is enough.
  • In dried form, 40-200mg is suitable for the whole day.
  • Traditionally, higher doses are also used.
  • The prescribed dosage for bone density in postmenopausal women is 40mg daily for three months. 
  • To increase mental health in postmenopausal women, they recommend 128mg for one year.
  • Due to the presence of triterpene glycosides, a 5 to 1mg dose is enough because above this, you will feel pain in the frontal lobes.
  • The dosage recommendation of black cohosh for hot flashes is 20mg a day.

 

Side effects of black cohosh: 

Some of the side effects of the herb are:

  • It is not permissible to take black cohosh if you have any liver problems. Because it causes damage to the liver if taken in a high dose.
  • Pregnant women should prevent its use.
  • Some of the doctors say to avoid using black cohosh as it may thicken uterus wall lining. 
  • The side effect if used in high doses is fever and nausea, lousy stomach, and shortness of breath. 

Alternates of black cohosh:

There are few herbs used as an alternative to cohosh herb like

  • Blue cohosh: It is also a North American flowering plant. It has the same use as black cohosh.
  • Evening primrose oil: it is similar to cohosh herb as it soothes women in menstrual cramps.
  • Rhapontic rhubarb: helps in dealing with signs of menopause.

Where to Buy:

You can buy these Herbs and Spices online as well at any grocery store, or at Mountain Rose Herb

Conclusion:

Some things are theoretically proven, and some are proven medically by research. In older times, when there was no concept of tablets and supplements, people used herbs to treat illnesses. People used Black cohosh for centuries as a treatment of women-related diseases, especially menstrual cramps. Still, there is little known evidence of its benefits in scientific research. There is a need for more research to understand its activity and chemicals involved in healing.

 

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