Experts believe black cohosh is a suitable alternative for those women
who would like to take the natural approach to controlling menopause
is suitable alternative for those who do not want to take prescription based hormone
replacement therapy (HRT).
One recent clinical studies show that this herb may not work as was shown in previous clinical studies.
with the lower recommended dose first and increase as needed to control
the symptoms. Stay
within the recommended doses if possible as higher doses may cause
treating prostate cancer, lab and animal studies show promising results
as this supplement was able to kill prostate cancer cells. However,
it's too early to tell if taking this supplement would prevent or treat
any forms of cancer.
flashes / Menopause Symptoms
Many clinical trials confirm that black cohosh is effective in reducing
hot flashes. It is also shown to help reduce anxiety. However, a recent well-designed
clinical trial lasting 12 months showed that taking this herb was not
better than taking placebo. Ironically, the placebo pill
gave women relief from hot flashes more than taking this herb.
Some studies show that combining this herb with St. John's wort
significantly reduces menopause symptoms (such as depression, anxiety
here to get the answer to "How long does menopause last?"
Arthritis / Osteoarthritis
Research studies show that taking this supplement may reduce the
inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
However, the experts suggest you'll get a better effect if it
combined with other herbal supplements such as bark willow.
here for a list of herbs used to treat osteoarthritis.
a study done in 10,121 German women, this herb seems to protect against
certain types of invasive breast cancer. At worst, it did not increase
the risk of breast cancer like prescription hormone replacement therapy
In lab studies and mice, this supplement
slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells. How it works is unknown
as it does not change testosterone levels. (Lowering
testosterone slows down the growth of prostate cancer cells.)
Phytoestrogen (contained in black cohosh) is suspected to be useful in
preventing osteoporosis. Studies done in a lab setting and mice shows
this benefit. Clinical studies will be needed to verify if
this is the case in humans.
There are no clinical studies done to verify if taking this supplement
would induce labor. Midwifes commonly use this herb as part of
their practice to induce labor in women past their due date.
and Traditional Uses
- anti-inflammatory benefits
- anxiety and nervousness
- breast cancer
- depression (mild)
- painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea)
- hot flashes
- induce labor during pregnancy
- menopause symptoms
- migraine (related to menstruation)
- muscle relaxant
- premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- prostate cancer
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
- vaginal dryness
and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What is black cohosh traditionally used to treat?
This herb has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat
ailments such as reproductive problems, gingivitis, headaches and
As well, black cohosh is used extensively for over four decades in
Europe. It is
approved in Germany for use to treat menopause symptoms
from premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Because this herb contains chemicals that have similar
properties to natural
estrogens (phytoestrogens), it can be used instead of prescription
estrogen pills for treating menopause symptoms.
supplement help with hot flashes?
Yes, many clinical trials show that this supplement seems to help with
symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. It is not as effective as
prescription estrogen replacement therapy but was significantly better
than placebo (sugar pills).
supplement be used to induce labor?
There is no clinical study to show whether taking this herb would
help with inducing labor at term. It is a common practice for some
midwifes to use this herb to help induce labor.
There is no study to show that taking this supplement during pregnancy
is safe. However, there are no reports that it is unsafe either.
Blue cohosh has been combined with black cohosh to induce labor. Blue
cohosh contains compounds suspected to cause birth defects and
it may be toxic to the infant. As well, blue cohosh seems to reduce
blood flow to the heart.
Do not use blue cohosh to induce labor.
Is it safe to
use black cohosh if you have breast cancer?
Because this herb shows estrogen-like activities, some researchers
suspect it might promote breast cancer. (Estrogen promotes the growth
of many forms of breast cancer cells.) However, in research studies
done on post-menopausal women, taking this supplement did not
affect estrogen levels in the blood.
Studies done with cancer cells show that this supplement does
not promote cancer cells growth. Studies done in mice show that black
does not affect breast cancer growth. However, in animals with cancer,
this supplement did increase cancer growth.
If you have a history of breast cancer, consult your physician and
discuss with him or her that you intend to take this supplement.
Effects, Toxicity, Warnings and Interactions
supplement does not cause too much unwanted side effects at the
recommended doses. Higher doses will increase the side effects.
effects when taken at higher doses include:
- lowered blood pressure
- a feeling of heaviness in the legs
- weight gain
Overdose may cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lowered heart beat,
sweating and vision problems.
There have been some reported dangers that using this
supplement caused damage
to the liver. However, a recently study completed in June
2009 shows that taking this supplement does not affect any liver
after a year of using it.
However, as a precaution, let your healthcare professional
know that you
intend to take this supplement if you have a history of liver problems.
- Clinical studies have shown black cohosh to be safe to
use. Many of
these studies lasted up to six months (with some studies lasting up to
- Using this herb during pregnancy may be unsafe as it may have
stimulation and estrogen-like effects. Until we know more about the
safety profile of this supplement, avoid using if possible.
to Take It
from 40 to 80 mg twice daily have been used in research studies.
Remifemin is the brand used in the research studies. It contains
20 mg of the extract standardized to contain 1 mg of
Take 1 to 2
grams of the powdered rhizome daily (divided into two or three times
Tea formulation (Decoction)
Use 1.5 to 9
grams of the powdered rhizome.
Dried Root or
of 40 to 200 mg per day (divided into two doses) have been used and
suggested by the British Herbal Compendium. Doses up to 1
gram three times daily have been used historically.
Take 3 to 4 mL
(1:10 in alcohol)
Take 0.4 to 2
mL per day.
References for Black Cohosh
Revised: February 5, 2010