Black Cohosh Benefits

Black Cohosh
Latin Name

Cimicifuga racemosa

Also Known As

Black snakeroot, squawroot


North America

Parts Used

Rhizomes and roots

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Black Cohosh is excellent for PMS, menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms.
The compounds in the plant to which Black Cohosh owes its medicinal properties are estrogenic. The herb suppresses the secretion of LH luteinizing hormone produced by the pituitary gland and this has an estrogenic effect.
Therefore Black Cohosh works to balance female reproductive hormones and for this reason can be useful in giving relief from PMS, menstrual cramps, and uterine contractions in labour. It is used in its homeopathic form during labour.
It is also effective in bringing relief to menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, irritability and tiredness. It can be used as a natural alternative to HRT as it boosts oestrogen levels naturally.
It has also been known for its capacity to reduce inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and neuralgia. It is an emminagogue, anti-spasmodic, alterative and sedative in action.

Typical Use

Take 2-4ml up to three times a day
or as directed by a herbal practitioner.

Black cohosh should not be used for more than 6 months at a time at normal doses.

Folklore and History

Native American Indians valued black cohosh and boiled it's gnarled roots in water and drank the decoction for many conditions, ranging from fatigue, sore throat, arthritis to rattlesnake bites. However Black cohosh's main use was for gynecological problems and recovery from childbirth, thus its name squaw root. Some nineteenth- century American Eclectic physicians, fore runners of today's naturopaths, used black cohosh for problems such as fever, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and insomnia.

Black Cohosh

The chief constituent of Black cohosh root is the amorphous resinous substance known as Cimicifugin, or Macrotin, but the bitter taste is due to a crystalline principle named Racemosin. The drug also contains two resins, together with fat, wax starch, gum, sugar and an astringent substance.


Black cohosh has an estrogen-like effect, and women who are pregnant or lactating should not use the herb. Large doses of this herb may cause abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Women taking estrogen therapy should consult a physician before using black cohosh. Large doses of black cohosh cause symptoms of poisoning, particularly nausea and dizziness, and can also provoke miscarriage. Black cohosh should not be used by those who have full-blown measles or those who are having trouble breathing. It should also not be used by those with excess in the upper regions and deficiency in the lower part of the body. Black cohosh also should not be combined with anti-depressents.