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Black Cohosh

General Information

Black cohosh was used in Native American medicine and was a home remedy in 19th-century America.

Common Name(s)

black cohosh, black snakeroot, macrotys, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattleweed

Scientific Name(s)

Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa

Scientific Name(s)

The stems and roots of this plant are used to make teas, capsules, pills, and liquids for oral use.

What is this product used for?

Historically, this herb was used for arthritis and muscle pain. However, recently it has been used more commonly for management of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.

It has also been used for premenstrual syndrome, to induce labour, and for the management of irregular periods.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

There is conflicting evidence regarding the use of this herb for effective management of menopausal symptoms or for any of its other claimed uses.

Long-term side effects of this product are unknown.

If you have a liver disorder, speak to your health care provider before using this product. If you develop symptoms of liver problems (e.g., abdominalabdominalrelating to the stomach and intestines pain, dark urine, jaundice), immediately stop use of this product and seek medical help from a health care provider. There have been reports of liver failure and hepatitis in women using this herb.

Other side effects include stomach upset, headache, and rash.

It is not clear if black cohosh is safe for women who have had hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer or for pregnant women or nursing mothers.

Black cohosh should not be confused with blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). The use and side effects of blue cohosh are different than those of black cohosh.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Black Cohosh. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/blackcohosh/

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