Black Cohosh or Cimicifuga racemosa is a famous alternative medicine for women especially those who are suffering from pre-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. This herb is a member of the buttercup family and is native to the eastern and central part of North America. Traditionally, it has been used by Native Americans to relieve symptoms of several ailments. It is said to help in conditions like indigestion, sore throat, acute muscle pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, fever, and insomnia. The plant’s extract was also an effective insect repellant and is applied to snake bites. These days, Black cohosh supplements are prescribed for women experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, menstrual cramps, and bloating.
The medicinal value of Black cohosh is basically derived from its fresh or dried roots and its rhizomes or underground stems. These Black cohosh plants are now commercially available in drug stores and are active ingredients to several teas, capsules, pills, and liquid extracts sold in the internet. Aside from its ability to relieve symptoms of different ailments, Black Cohosh also contains vitamins and minerals essential for a well being. Vitamin B complex, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron are among the nutrients found in this perennial plant. It is also abundant in beta-carotene, phytosterols, salicylic acid, and tannin which are phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. The Formononetin component of Black cohosh acts like the hormone estrogen in the body and is the one responsible for its ability to relieve discomforts in women.
Black Cohosh Benefits
- Black Cohosh can give efficient relief to menopausal symptoms like mood swings, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, headache, and night sweats.
- Black cohosh treats Pre-Menstrual symptoms like menstrual crampings and bloating.
- With its Estrogen like activity, Black cohosh is a cheaper and safer alternative for Hormone Replacement Therapy. It can prevent the loss of the hormone estrogen in women.
- Black Cohosh promotes a healthy cardiovascular system. It can also prevent high blood pressure and can lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Black cohosh helps in reducing inflammation and joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Black cohosh side effects
Because of its hormone-like action, Black cohosh can cause serious side effects to people with certain conditions. Pregnant and lactating women are contraindicated to use this herb. Black cohosh has the ability to stimulate uterine contractions and may cause miscarriage. It is also not advised to be taken by people with respiratory problems and full-blown measles.
There have been reports that large doses of Black cohosh can cause indigestion, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, hypotension, weight gain, feeling of heaviness in the legs, and excessive sweating.
Black cohosh interactions with other Drugs
Black cohosh may interfere with hormone replacements and oral contraceptives. It may also affect the efficacy of cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic drug.