Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is a perennial fruit bearing plant native to North America. Black cohosh can grow to a stature of nine feet, and has been used in Native American medicine for thousands of years.
The name Cimicifuga racemosa is derived from Greek and means "to drive away bugs." This name is appropriate as black cohosh has an unpleasant smell and a bitter taste. It has been used in agriculture for pest control purposes.
The roots of the black cohosh plant are believed to contain the greatest amount of active ingredients, and for this reason the black cohosh found in dietary supplements is extracted from the roots of the plant.
Black cohosh is also known as Black Snake Root, Rattle Root, Squaw Root and Bugbane.
What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Black cohosh has been used in Native American traditional medicine for thousands of years. Native medicine has found black cohosh effective for treating diarrhea, and a sore throat.1
Western medicine has confirmed the beneficial effects of black cohosh.
Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
No physiological need for black cohash exists, and there are no symptoms of deficiency.
Preliminary research demonstrates that persons suffering from diarrhea, and a sore throat may benefit from supplementing with black cohash.
How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
While anecdotal reports of adverse reactions have been reported10, these reports are rare and have not been substantiated in scientific research.
Pregnant or nursing women should not take black cohosh unless directed to do so by their physician.