Black cohosh : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Black cohosh : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The plant is native to North America and Canada, and the material used medicinally comes mainly from wild collections in these areas. In herbal medicine, the dried rootstock (rhizome) is collected after the fruit has ripened, and the roots (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizoma) are used.

Characteristics of black cohosh

Black cohosh is a perennial, herbaceous plant up to 2 m high. The large, bi- or tripinnate leaves are mainly found on the upper part of the long, upright stems.

The plant also features small white flowers arranged in a long, narrow raceme. After flowering, they develop follicles with many seeds.


Peculiarities of the drug

The plant’s rootstock is up to 15 cm long and 2 cm thick. Numerous scars and stem remains can be seen on the upper side; below are red-brown, thin, and easily broken roots.

The cut material consists of dark brown, irregularly shaped root and rhizome pieces, revealing the cross section’s dark pith. In addition, there are many small, thin, red-brown root pieces with longitudinal furrows.

smell and taste of the root

Black cohosh rhizome spreads a peculiar, quite unpleasant smell. The taste of the rhizome is pungent, bitter and astringent.

Black cohosh – application

Due to the hormonal changes, around 70% of all women experience psychological symptoms such as mood swings and depression as well as neurovegetative symptoms such as menopause (climacteric): too high heart rate (tachycardia), sleep disorders, weight gain and sexual dysfunction. Long-term consequences can include increased osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.

Black cohosh is suitable for treating such menopausal symptoms, especially if they are of a psychological and neurovegetative nature.

Black cohosh for period pain and PMS

The plant can also effectively treat period pain and premenstrual symptoms. Premenstrual symptoms are complex problems that occur regularly in some women before the start of menstruation and can last from four days to two weeks.

The symptoms that occur are varied and range from Migraines, nausea and fatigue to cravings, cramps and skin changes.


Application in folk medicine

In folk medicine, black cohosh is also used for various female ailments. The plant is also used as a tonic for coughs and to treat rheumatism, dizziness, ear ringing, and chorea (nerve disease in which uncoordinated movements occur; also called St. Vitus’ dance).

Homoeopathic Uses of Black Cohosh

The fresh rootstock and the attached roots are used homeopathically to treat rheumatic and spinal muscle pain as well as cramp-related pain in the heart, the gastrointestinal tract and the gallbladder. Furthermore, in homeopathy, menopausal symptoms, nervous agitation and depressive moods are treated with black cohosh.


Ingredients of black cohosh

The most important ingredients of black cohosh rhizome include various triterpene glycosides such as actein and cimicifugoside. It also contains phenolic carboxylic acids, isoflavones, fukinoleic acid and cimicifugaic acid F.

Black cohosh: indication

Areas of application of black cohosh are:

  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Period pain
  • premenstrual symptoms

Black cohosh – dosage

Black cohosh rhizome can be taken in the form of standardized teas or the dry extract of the plant can also be taken in the form of film-coated tablets or capsules. The tincture is also offered in the form of solutions.

Which dose is the right one?

The average daily dose for extracts with ethanol or isopropanol is around 40 mg of the drug.


Black cohosh: making your own is not advisable

Preparing your own tea from black cohosh is not recommended, as this cannot achieve a quantitatively standardized composition of the ingredients. It is therefore advisable to use preparations that have already been discontinued.


Preparations containing black cohosh should not be used in patients who are or have been treated for an estrogen-dependent tumor (e.g. some breast tumors), as there is no empirical data on this yet.


More information

Due to the lack of long-term studies, the consumption of black cohosh preparations should be limited to 6 months.

The drug should be stored dry and protected from light.

Black cohosh – synonyms

German plant name: black cohosh

German synonyms of the plant: Silver Cohosh, July Silver Cohosh, Lady’s Root, Long-Treated St. Christopher’s Herb, North American Snake Root, Black Snake Root, Bug Herb, American Bug Herb, Grape-like Bug Herb, Black Bug Herb, Cimicifuga

Latin plant name: Cimicifuga racemosa

Lateinische Synonyme der Pflanze: Cimicifuga racemosa L. NUTT., Cimifuga racemosa, Actaea racemosa L., Actaea gyrostachya, Actaea orthostachya, Actaea monogyna, Botrophis acteaoides, Botrophis serpentaria, Cimicifuga serpentaria, Macrotis octroides, Macrotis racemosa, Macrotis serpentaria

German drug name: Black cohosh rhizome

German synonyms of the drug: Black cohosh rootstock, Cimicifuga rhizome, lady’s root, North American snake root, bedbug root

Latin drug name: Cimcifugae rhizoma

Lateinische Synonyme der Droge: Cimicifugae rhizome, Cimicifugae racemosa rhizome, Cimicifugae racemosa root, Actaea racemosa root, (Rhizoma) Actaea racemosa, Christopheriana Americana root, Serpentaria racemosa root

English name: Black cohosh root, Black Snake Root, Snake­root, Rattle Root, Squaw root (Droge); Actaea race­mosa, Black bugbane, Black Cohosh, Bugbane, Macrotys, Rattle­weed (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Ranun­culaceae

Plant family German: Hahnen­fußgewächse


Black cohosh – effect

It is controversial whether the isoflavones and triterpenes contained have an estrogen-like effect and a modulating influence on estrogen receptors without, however, having the chemical structure of estrogens. The resulting replacement of the hormone estrogen produced less and less during menopause, could explain the plant’s positive effect on < i=3>Menopausal symptoms.

Other effects of black cohosh

The active ingredients contained in black cohosh also affect specific areas of the hypothalamus located in the brain, which reduces the regular secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH). As a result, the activity of specific nerve cells responsible for regulating temperature and the cardiovascular system is inhibited, which leads to the suppression of hot flashes and high heart rates.

According to experimental but not yet clinical studies, black cohosh is also said to have a protective effect on bones.


Black cohosh: Possible side effects

In sporadic cases, gastrointestinal complaints, allergic skin reactions, weight gain, feelings of tenderness in the breasts and menstrual-like bleeding may occur. There is also controversy as to whether there is a connection between taking Cimcifuga preparations and the rare occurrence of liver damage.

Interactions with other agents are currently not known.



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *