Common Name: Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga Racemosa)
Indegenious American wildflower. Parts used: roots.
Black Cohosh benefits: Black cohosh is one of my favorite western herbs!
Black Cohosh is an adaptogen with antispasmotic properties that contains phytoestrogens, meaning it can help level out estrogen whether it’s high or low. It helps with everything from menopausal symptoms to dysmenorrhhea (painful, heavy periods), and can even help with spotting between periods. As a 40 year old with a history of extremely painful periods and spotting, this herb has been a life saver. I’ve had issues since I was 17 with periods so painful they’d cause nausea and uncontrollable vomiting – I’ve been in the hospital several times due to a nausea-induced state of shock (needed IV fluids).
Hormonal issues aren’t just a nuisance, they can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening. In my early 30s I found that ibuprofen could stave off the nausea, but I didn’t know that herbs such as Black Cohosh could help the underlying issues that caused these symptoms until I was in my late 30s!
I’ve been taking approximately 800mg daily for 8 months. I remove it from the regimen for about a week on occasion (I do this with every herb I take).
Update April 2023: The benefits of black cohosh never cease to amaze me – I’ve been on my daily herbal regimen for over 4 years, and black cohosh is still a huge help with my hormone issues!
Muscle Spasms: I’m prone to mild muscle spasms – they’re typically not painful, just annoying. That said, deep chronic spasms in my back can be debilitating, and these are also chronic for me. I’ve found ways to help these deep chronic back spasms: yoga and taking care that my biomechanics are decent are the biggest help in this area. I’ve not noticed a huge relief from spasms from black cohosh alone.
Black Cohosh for PMS | Black cohosh for hormones: peppermint tea coupled with 1/8 tsp of goldenseal is amazing for stopping PMS cramps during my period. However, my daily blend for general hormonal health is a mix of rehmannia and black cohosh – these keep me fairly balanced month-long, and keep break-through periods and spot bleeding away. I’ve thoroughly tested my reactions to these herbs and black cohosh plays a huge part in this.
Neurological pain: I’ve had several episodes of neurological pain. Cold weather used to make my hands, face, ears, and scalp so sensitive that they couldn’t be touched (I once thought I’d severely cut my ear when my seatbelt brushed it, and I also once cut my finger with a knife thinking it was neurological pain, but I was actually pushing down on the blade!). These symptoms have abated, but it’s hard to say if black cohosh alone is behind that.
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Black Cohosh Benefits For Horses and Pets:
While I don’t use this herb straight for my horse, I do an herbal mix that contains it for a bit of extra stamina and endurance. The total mix is a huge pick-me-up when my horse needs it, but I can’t say if black cohosh alone has major effects for him.
As always, take care when adding herbal supplements to an animal’s ration – they can’t always tell us when something doesn’t agree with them! If you’d like to learn more about my horse with Polysaccharide Muscle Myopathy, or PSSM, see my Jax’s Story site.
Other Common Uses:
- Hormone issues including: 1, 2
- hot flashes
- encourages estrogen balance
- Arthritic, neurological, and rheumatic pain
- Muscle relaxant and antispasmodic
Black Cohosh is considered safe when taken for up to one year. Be aware of signs or symptoms of jaundice, fatigue, or darkening of the urine, as there is concern that Black Cohosh could be associated with liver damage – though it is unknown if Black Cohosh can cause liver damage. Consult a physician if pregnant or breastfeeding. Occasional gastrointestinal discomfort may occur if taken in large doses.
Care should be taken when using medications for cancer or medications that are hard on the liver. You may want to avoid use during the first eight months of pregnancy.
Where To Purchase:
Note: I earn a commission on some links, at no cost to you. Purchasing through these links is a great way to support this site!
I purchase my black cohosh powder through two sources, both of which are very fine powder and great for mixing in my morning tea (black cohosh tea is super easy to make, you just need your favorite tea and some black cohosh powder):
Bulk Supplements’ Black Cohosh has no sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, or other additives. This is the company I use for pea protein, and bulk herbs in larger amounts, etc. Some of my herbs, like cissus quadrangularis, can be found here when MRH doesn’t carry them.
Research Articles and Sources:
- Contemporary Alternatives to Plant Estrogens for Menopause – Black Cohosh appears to be one of the most effective botanicals for relief of vasomotor symptoms, while St. John’s wort can improve mood disorders related to the menopausal transition. Many other botanicals have limited evidence to demonstrate safety and efficacy for relief of symptoms related to menopause
- Efficacy of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa L.) in treating early symptoms of menopause: a randomized clinical trial – Conclusion: This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa L.) in treating early menopausal symptoms.