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Black Cohosh

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Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is an herb. The root of this herb is used for medicinal purposes. These days it is still used for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes/flushes, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances. It is also used for PMS, menstrual irregularities, uterine spasms and has been indicated for reducing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and neuralgia.

Common Names

Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Squawroot, Bugwort, Sheng ma

Description

The plant produces a stout, blackish rhizome (creeping underground stem), cylindrical, hard and knotty, bearing the remains of numerous stout ascending branches. It is collected in the autumn after the fruit is formed and the leaves have died down, then cut into pieces and dried. It has only a faint, disagreeable odor, but a bitter and acrid taste.

History

Black Cohosh has been used by Native Americans for more than two hundred years, after they discovered the root of the plant helped relieve menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause. Black cohosh became a popular treatment for women’s health issues in Europe in the mid-1950s.

Health Use Today

Astringent, emmenagogue, diuretic, alterative, expectorant. The root of this plant is much used in America in many disorders, and is supposed to be an antidote against poison and the bite of the rattlesnake. The root of black cohosh is used for medicinal purposes. The fresh root, dug in October, is used to make a tincture. Black cohosh root contains several chemicals that might have effects in the body. Some of these chemicals work on the immune system and might affect the body’s defenses against diseases.

How to Take Black Cohosh

For menopausal symptoms, the dose of black cohosh used in studies has been 20-40 milligram tablets of a standardized extract taken twice a day. More than 900 milligrams a day of black cohosh is considered an overdose. Directions for taking black cohosh in other forms will vary.

Although used traditionally, teas may not be as effective in relieving menopausal symptoms as the standardized extract of black cohosh. To make a black cohosh drink, put 20 g of dried root in 34 oz of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the liquid is reduced by a third.

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