Black Cohosh

black-cohosh2You may know the Black Cohosh by other names like Black Snakeroot, Bugwort or Rattleweed. The herb was popular among the Native Americans for a variety of conditions ranging from gynecological problems to snake bites and fever. It was even considered to be effective against insomnia as it eases tension and induces sleep. In Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, Black Cohosh has been used to relieve pain caused by gingivitis, headaches, skin disorders and diarrhea.

Black Cohosh Uses

The root of the plant is used medicinally in traditional herbal practices as a cure for rheumatism, arthritis and muscle pain. More recently, the Black Cohosh is used to treat a number of symptoms that occur at the time of menopause – hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats and pain. It is also used to ease premenstrual tension and cramps, and to induce labor. It regularizes menstrual irregularities. Thus the root truly works wonders for women.

The term ‘Cohosh’ means rough and refers to the rough underground stems and roots of the plant. These parts of the plant are used fresh or are dried to make capsules, powders, extracts or pills.

Black Cohosh Ingredients

The active ingredients in Black Cohosh are Isoflavones, aromatic acids, tannins, fatty acids, sugars, salicyclic acids and isoferulic acids. The flowers of the plant have a strong and aromatic odor, which causes it to be used as an effective insect repellent. Hence another pet name for this herb – bugbane.

What Can Black Cohosh Treat?

The main use of Black Cohosh is as an effective relaxant because its anti spasmodic properties help relieve pain and tension. Additionally, it is also used to induce sleep and reduce inflammation.

Its analgesic properties enable it to be used in case of fever. Since it relieves tension, it is also used to treat depression and stress related headaches. It can also be used to ease the pain caused by painful rheumatism and arthritis.

While there are no scientific studies to back the medicinal prowess of the plant, the side effects associated with the plant are quite limited. However, the estrogen-like effect of the herb makes it dangerous for pregnant or lactating women. While it is effective in the lowering of tension and stress, large doses may lead to painful and uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, dizziness. It may even induce miscarriage.

Black Cohosh can be bought over the counter in health and herbal food stores. There is no medically recognized plan or program for the intake of this herb. However, long term use of the plant must be avoided till its effects are known.

Growing Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh grows easily from root cuttings and from seed. The plant prefers well-composted, moist soil with lots of air. The seedlings and plants need quite a bit of shade. The rhizomes grow close to the soil, making it easy to harvest them.

Black Cohosh is a member of the buttercup family and is seen in the rich woods of America. They are located in areas ranging from Ontario to Georgia, Arkansas and Wisconsin. The plants are usually not grown commercially. Black Cohosh is distinguished by the tall graceful spirals of white flowers it sends up