Black cohosh is an herb found in North America. It is known by several names including Cimicifuga racemosa and Actaea racemosa. Black cohosh is used as a complementary and alternative treatment.
Black cohosh is sometimes called a “woman’s remedy” because it has been recommended for relief of premenstrual pain, menstrual cramps, menopausal hot flashes, breast pain, ovarian pain and pain associated with childbirth. Chemicals in the black cohosh herb are said to provide beneficial effects similar to the female hormone estrogen. There are significant scientific studies that show black cohosh has relieved the symptoms of hot flashes and other symptoms associated with menopausal women.
Black cohosh has also been used for treatment of rheumatism, high blood pressure, bronchial infections, diarrhea, whooping cough and inflammatory conditions. However, no scientific studies were found to support black cohosh as an effective treatment for these conditions.
Will I live longer if I take black cohosh?
There is no scientific evidence to indicate that taking black cohosh will help you live longer.
Will taking black cohosh improve my quality of life?
There are several scientific studies with evidence that black cohosh can relieve hot flashes and other symptoms associated with menopause, which can improve your quality of life.
Will taking black cohosh make my symptoms better?
There are several scientific studies with evidence that black cohosh can relieve hot flashes and other symptoms associated with menopause, which can make your symptoms better.
How safe is it for me to take black cohosh?
The FDA has issued a letter to distributors of black cohosh that the product is not generally recognized as safe and effective for the treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular and circulatory disorders.
The World Health Organization has identified four cases where the initiation of treatment with black cohosh may have contributed to temporary liver injury. Liver injury is defined as elevated liver enzymes. Symptoms of liver injury include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, feeling tired or weak and yellow skin. Individuals are asked to discontinue black cohosh and consult their physician if they suspect symptoms of liver injury. Physicians are asked to report any suspected hepatic reactions.
Although limited, the evidence does suggest that adverse effects are rare, mild and reversible.
Individuals with high blood pressure should use caution and seek the advice of their physician before taking black cohosh.
Safe use by women who are pregnant or breast feeding has not been established.
Reported minor complications:
Reported major complications:
More studies, including studies that compare black cohosh with known medical treatments, need to be performed before a comparison can be made.
Cost is dependant on the manufacturer and the dose and method of administration.
Seek the advice of your physician when considering any kind of complementary and alternative treatment choice
The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.
The following are off-site links :
National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2010, July). Black cohosh. Retrieved August 8, 2012 from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/blackcohosh/ataglance.htm.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. (2008, November). Black cohosh.
Retrieved August 8, 2012 from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/blackcohosh.asp.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2004, April). Cyber warning letter to MTE Nutrition. Retrieved August 8, 2012 from http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/EnforcementActivitiesbyFDA/CyberLetters/ucm127109.htm.
World Health Organization Pharmaceuticals Newsletter. (2006, No. 4). Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh). Concerns of liver injury. Retrieved August 8, 2012 from
This document has been classified as public information.