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Black Cohosh - Uses and Benefits

Scientific Name: Cimicifuga Racemosa and Actaea Racemosa.
Other Names: Black Snake Root, Bugbane, Bugwort, Rattle Root, Richweed, Squaw Root.

Black cohosh comes from the same plant family as buttercup.  It grows in North America and Canada.  Many insects avoid going near this plant. The use of black cohosh in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine.

Uses of Benefits of Black Cohosh

Some of the main Uses of Black Cohosh are described below:

  • The roots and rhizomes are very often used for treating menopausal symptoms and menstrual dysfunction.
  • Benefits found in European clinical trials, but most studies not of high quality.
  • Standardized preparations generally safe and well-tolerated.
  • Black cohosh was originally used by Native American peoples in the treatment of many conditions, especially gynecologic disorders.
  • Black cohosh has a history of use for rheumatism (arthritis and muscle pain), but has been used more recently to treat hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms that can occur during menopause.
  • Black cohosh has also been many a times used for premenstrual syndrome, and to induce labor.
  • Introduced into Germany in the 1950s, it has been actively promoted as an alternative to estrogen, since it is believed to have estrogen-like benefits without the unpleasant or harmful side effects.
  • The herb has also been used traditionally for rheumatism and inflammatory conditions.

How To Prepare

Black Cohosh can be taken in the form of the fresh or dried root, or as a liquid extract. It is also available commercially in capsule and tablet form.

Dosage

Adults (of age 18 years or older)

Tablets: For menopausal symptoms, studies have used 20 milligram or 40 milligram Remifemin tablets (containing 1 or 2 milligrams of 27-deoxyactein) twice daily or 40 drops of a liquid extract. Some clinical studies have used 20 milligrams taken twice daily.

Dried Rhizome (Root): The British Herbal Compendium recommends 40 to 200 milligrams of dried rhizome daily in divided doses, although traditional doses have been as high as 1 gram three times daily.

Tincture/Liquid: The British Herbal Compendium recommends 0.4 to 2 milliliters of a (1:10) 60% ethanol tincture daily.

Children (Younger than 18 years)

There is not enough scientific information to recommend black cohosh in children.

Safety Instructions against Black Cohosh

Before you start taking Black Cohosh (not only Black Cohosh but any other herbal supplement) you must first consult to your health care provider. He will guide you whether this product is good for your health or not.

Sometimes black cohosh does not suits to some people and may their may be signs of liver damage. In such cases you must contact your doctor as soon as possible. Some of the signs that you may see are:

  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
  • Unusually dark urine (and you are not dehydrated).
  • Pain under your ribs on the right side of your tummy (abdomen), with sickness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Lack of Appetite.

Adverse Side Effects of Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is generally well-tolerated. But if it is not taken in proper doses, as written on the product label - it may lead to some side effects. Clinical trials comparing estrogens with black cohosh preparations have shown a low incidence of adverse effects associated with black cohosh.

Some of the Side Effects Caused by Black Cohosh may include:

  • Black cohosh can cause headaches and stomach discomfort.
  • Black cohosh has recently been linked to a few cases of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), but it is not clear whether black cohosh caused the problem.
  • It is not clear if black cohosh is safe for women who have had breast cancer or for pregnant women.
  • Black cohosh should not be confused with blue cohosh, which has many different properties than Black Cohosh. Black cohosh is sometimes used with blue cohosh to stimulate labor, but this therapy may cause some side effects in some people.

In some Cases, Large doses of Black Cohosh have been reported to Cause:

  • Gastric Complaints.
  • Heaviness in the Legs.
  • Nausea.
  • Weight Problems.
  • Dizziness.
  • Seizures.
  • Visual Ddisturbances.
  • Reduced pulse Rate.
  • Increased Sweating.

If any of the above side effects persist or worsen, you must immidiately contact your health care provider. Stop taking black cohosh and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

Drug Interactions

No interactions have been reported between black cohosh and prescription medicines.

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