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Black Cohosh Benefits

Updated March 23, 2017

Black cohosh (cimicifuga racemosa) is an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments. According to Holistic Online, black cohosh has properties that can benefit menopausal women. In addition, Native Americans used black cohosh to treat various ailments, and in past centuries American doctors also prescribed black cohosh for its healing properties.

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Native Americans used black cohosh to treat ailments from snake bites to gynaecological problems. Nineteenth-century physicians recommended black cohosh to women to ease menstrual cramps and also thought it had value in treating arthritis, fever and insomnia. Today, herbalists and traditional physicians recommend black cohosh to ease menopausal and menstrual disturbances, as well as cardiovascular illnesses.


The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing details black cohosh's phytochemical and nutrient properties. Phytochemicals include the antioxidant beta-carotene, phytosterols, salicylic acid and tannin, while calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and B vitamins are among nutrients in black cohosh. According to Holistic Online, another ingredient, formononetin, "binds to oestrogen receptor sites, inducing an oestrogen-like activity in the body."


Black cohosh's benefits include lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels and promoting a healthy cardiovascular system, as well as relieving symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, and offering relief for menstrual cramps and attendant back pain. Since black cohosh can induce labour, pregnant women must consult their gynecologist before consuming it.

Side Effects

Black cohosh can have severe side effects for individuals with certain conditions or who are taking other medications. Because of its oestrogen-like effect, pregnant women or those who are lactating should not use the herb. According to Holistic Online, large doses of black cohosh can cause "abdominal pain, nausea, headaches and dizziness." Women on oestrogen therapy should talk with their doctor before using black cohosh. Additionally, large doses of the herb may cause "symptoms of poisoning, particularly nausea and dizziness, and can also provoke miscarriage." Never take black cohosh if you have full-blown measles or if you have respiratory problems.

Instructions for Use

Black cohosh is consumed in different forms, including capsules. Dosage depends upon strength. Take 300 to 2,000 milligrams per day in crude, dried root or rhizome forms and 250 milligrams up to three times per day of powdered form. In tincture form, take two to four millilitres per day. Holistic Online advises that black cohosh can be taken for up to six months before discontinuing.

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About the Author

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.

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