Scientific Name: Cimicifuga racemosa, Ranunculaceae
AKA: Black Snake Root. Rattle Root. Squaw Root. Bugbane, Bugwort, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Rattlesnale's Root, Richweed, Cimicifuga, Sheng Ma, Chinese Black Cohosh
Parts Used: Root
Active Compounds: Triterpene glycosides, such as Acetin and Cimicifugoside; Isoflavones, such as Formononetin, which binds to estrogen receptor sites. Other compounds include aromatic acids, tannins, resins, fatty acids, starches, and sugars, salicyclic acid, and isoferulic acid.
Background: Native Americans used Black Cohosh for a variety of conditions, from gynecological issues to snake bites. Victorian era physicians also used it for gynecological problems as well as fever, arthritis and insomnia. In traditional Chinese medicine, the Chinese variety of Black Cohosh is thought to relieve pain and was used for headaches, gingivitis, diarrhea and skin disorders (from hives to measles). The flowers of the Black Cohosh have a strong odor and effectively repel insects, earning it the name Bugbane. The name Cohosh comes from the Algonquin word for rough, referring to the root of the plant.
Applications: Relaxant/Antispasmodic, Sedative, Inflammation
Relaxant/Antispasmodic – Is useful for painful menstruation and uterine spasms as well as rheumatism. Black Cohosh is also used in treating depression and hot flashes.
Estrogen-like Qualities – Black Cohosh is useful in treating menopausal symptoms
Inflammation - Black Cohosh can be used to treat arthritis and other painful rheumatic difficulties.
Black Cohosh is a shrub native to the deciduous forest of North America. It is a perennial plant, reaching 3 to 8 ft with a long plume of white flowers at the top. The leaves are large and divided like a feather. The leaflets are generally irregular in shape with serrated edges. The root is black in color when harvested in the fall.
Black Cohosh Dosage:
Dried root or rhizome – 300 – 2,000 mg per day
Dry powdered extract – 250 mg/three times per day
Tincture – 2-4 ml per day
Tablets - taken for menopausal symptoms from the powdered herb.
Due to the estrogen-like effect of Black Cohosh, it should be avoided by women who are pregnant or lactating. Likewise, women who are already on some form of estrogen therapy should consult a physician before using Black Cohosh. Large doses may cause abdominal pain, nausea, headache, dizziness and miscarriage
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