Black cohosh is an herb. The root is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh was first used for medicinal purposes by Native American Indians, who introduced it to European colonists. Black cohosh became a popular treatment for women's health issues in Europe in the mid-1950s.
Since that time, black cohosh has commonly been used to treat symptoms of menopause, and also conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful menstruation, weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis), and many others. However, there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Black cohosh also goes by the name "bugbane" because it was once used as an insect repellent. It is no longer used for this purpose. Frontiersmen had said that black cohosh was useful for rattlesnake bites, but no modern researchers have tested this.
Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. These are unrelated plants. The blue and white cohosh plants do not have the same effects as black cohosh, and may not be safe.
Is a Form of:
Symptoms of menopause
Also Known As:
Actaea macrotys, Actaea racemosa, Actée à Grappes, Actée à Grappes Noires
How Does It Work?
The root of black cohosh is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh root contains several chemicals that might have effects in the body. Some of these chemicals work on the immune system and might affect the body’s defenses against diseases. Some might help the body to reduce inflammation. Other chemicals in black cohosh root might work in nerves and in the brain. These chemicals might work similar to another chemical in the brain called serotonin. Scientists call this type of chemical a neurotransmitter because it helps the brain send messages to other parts of the body.
Black cohosh root also seems to have some effects similar to the female hormone, estrogen. In some parts of the body, black cohosh might increase the effects of estrogen. In other parts of the body, black cohosh might decrease the effects of estrogen. Estrogen itself has various effects in different parts of the body. Estrogen also has different effects in people at different stages of life. Black cohosh should not be thought of as an “herbal estrogen” or a substitute for estrogen. It is more accurate to think of it as an herb that acts similar to estrogen in some people.
Symptoms of menopause. Research shows that some black cohosh extracts can reduce some symptoms of menopause when taken by mouth. Most of this research is for a specific commercial black cohosh product, Remifemin. Research shows that the effects of Remifemin on menopausal symptoms are comparable to hormone therapy. The benefits may not occur with all products that contain black cohosh. Research using black cohosh products other than Remifemin has not always shown benefits for menopausal symptoms. Some studies show that other black cohosh products do not reduce hot flashes or menopausal symptoms any better than a sugar pill ("placebo"). In some studies, products containing black cohosh and other ingredients have been investigated. Products containing black cohosh plus St. John's wort seem to reduce menopausal symptoms. Similar results have been observed for products containing black cohosh, Panax ginseng, soy, and green tea extract or black cohosh, kava, hops, and valerian extract. However, a homeopathic product containing black cohosh doesn't seem to be effective at reducing overall menopausal symptoms, although it may reduce hot flashes.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- Symptoms of menopause: 20-80 mg of black cohosh extract once or twice daily for up to 6 months. Also black cohosh extract equivalent to 40-127 mg of black cohosh rootstock has been taken in one or two divided doses per day for 12 weeks. Specific products used in research include CR BNO 1055 (Bionorica), Remifemin (Schaper & Brümmer GmbH & Co.), and Remixin (Mikro-Gen).
Black Cohosh Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
What are the side effects of black cohosh?
Black cohosh can cause some mild side effects, such as stomach upset, cramping, headache, rash, a feeling of heaviness, vaginal spotting or bleeding, and weight gain.
What are the benefits of black cohosh?
Black cohosh is most often used to control the symptoms of menopause, such as:
- Hot flashes.
- Mood changes.
- Sleep problems.
- Heart palpitations.
- Night sweats.
- Vaginal dryness.
How long does it take for black cohosh to work?
How long does black cohosh take to work? Women who claim taking black cohosh works usually report improvements within a few weeks of taking the substance. As so little is known about its effects long-term, it is not recommended to take it for more than one year.
Does black cohosh increase estrogen?
Black cohosh root also seems to have some effects similar to the female hormone, estrogen. In some parts of the body, black cohosh might increase the effects of estrogen. In other parts of the body, black cohosh might decrease the effects of estrogen. Estrogen itself has various effects in different parts of the body.
Who should not take black cohosh?
The U.S. Pharmacopeia advises that individuals with liver disorders should also avoid black cohosh . It adds that users who develop symptoms of liver trouble, such as abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice, while taking the supplement should discontinue use and contact their doctor.
Does black cohosh make you gain weight?
Menopausal women may be at an increased risk of unwanted weight gain, as their estrogen levels naturally decrease. Theoretically, because black cohosh may exhibit estrogenic effects, it may have a small beneficial effect on weight management in menopausal women.
Why is black cohosh bad for you?
It can cause some mild side effects such as stomach upset, cramping, headache, rash, a feeling of heaviness, vaginal spotting or bleeding, and weight gain. There is also some concern that black cohosh may be associated with liver damage. It is not known for sure if black cohosh actually causes liver damage.
Should you take black cohosh in the morning or at night?
For menopausal symptoms, the dose of black cohosh used in studies has been 20-40 milligram tablets of a standardized extract taken twice a day. Directions for taking black cohosh in other forms will vary. Some experts say that no one should take black cohosh for more than six months at a time.
Does black cohosh really work?
Studies on black cohosh have had mixed results. Some studies have shown that black cohosh can relieve menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. But other studies have shown that black cohosh does not relieve symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you take it.
Does black cohosh help you lose weight?
Theoretically, because black cohosh may exhibit estrogenic effects, it may have a small beneficial effect on weight management in menopausal women.
How much black cohosh should I take for menopause?
For menopausal symptoms, the dose of black cohosh used in studies is 20-40 milligram tablets of a standardized extract taken twice a day. More than 900 milligrams a day of black cohosh is considered an overdose.
Does black cohosh help you sleep?
Research shows black cohosh may alleviate night sweats and hot flashes, as well as lowering anxiety, and reducing vaginal dryness. It's also been shown to improve sleep, likely because of its stress and anxiety lowering capabilities.
Does black cohosh balance hormones?
Based on current research, black cohosh is most likely to relieve symptoms related to reductions or imbalances in the hormone estrogen. A 2010 review concluded menopausal women experienced a 26 percent reduction in night sweats and hot flashes when using black cohosh supplements.
How does black cohosh affect hormones?
Black cohosh seems to help decrease menopausal symptoms because it contains phytoestrogens, substances that act a lot like estrogen. When you go through menopause, your estrogen levels drop significantly. This is why many women experience hot flashes. Phytoestrogens also can have anti-estrogen effects.
Can you drink alcohol while taking black cohosh?
Alcohol (Ethanol) ↔ black cohosh
Products containing black cohosh have been reported to cause liver damage in rare cases, and taking it with other medications that can also affect the liver such as ethanol may increase that risk. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications.
Is black cohosh good for anxiety?
CONCLUSIONS: All of the RCT and Clinical Trial demonstrate that Black Cohosh use is effective at reducing anxiety/depression. Black Cohosh seems to be the same effectiveness as Hormonal therapy available for anxiety/depression in postmenopausal women.
Does black cohosh cause water retention?
Black cohosh is one of the most popular herbal therapies for premenstrual discomfort, hot flushes and other climacteric and menopausal symptoms. Therefore, black cohosh-induced fluid retention and coagulation activation should be considered in differential diagnosis, especially if thrombosis has been excluded.
Will black cohosh start my period?
Black cohosh is another herbal supplement that you can buy to help regulate the menstrual cycle. It's said to help tone the uterus and promote the shedding of the uterine lining. Black cohosh is known to interact with many medications. If it's safe for you to take, you can purchase black cohosh online.
How safe is black cohosh?
When taken by mouth: Black cohosh is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken appropriately by adults for up to one year. It can cause some mild side effects such as stomach upset, cramping, headache, rash, a feeling of heaviness, vaginal spotting or bleeding, and weight gain.
Is black cohosh good for high blood pressure?
Some studies have found evidence that black cohosh does help with these symptoms. Black cohosh has also been used to relieve arthritis pain and help lower blood pressure.
Which is better black cohosh or evening primrose?
According to the results of this study, both black cohosh and primrose oil can be used as an effective alternative treatment in relieving of severity of hot flashes and improvement of quality of life in menopausal period, but it seems that black cohosh is more effective than primrose oil because it was able to reduce.
How much black cohosh is too much?
How much black cohosh should you take? For menopausal symptoms, the dose of black cohosh used in studies is 20-40 milligram tablets of a standardized extract taken twice a day. More than 900 milligrams a day of black cohosh is considered an overdose. Directions for taking black cohosh in other forms will vary.
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