Black Cohosh Health Benefits, Medicinal Uses and Side Effects

Are you looking for a natural way to reduce the symptoms of menopause? If so, then you may want to consider black cohosh. For centuries, people have used this herb to help ease the transition during menopause and to reduce hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other symptoms. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of this herb and discuss how it can help you manage the symptoms of menopause. We’ll also provide tips on how to get the most out of the herb and offer advice on how to find the best quality products. So, if you’re looking for a natural way to manage your menopause symptoms, keep reading to learn more about it.

Origin and History

Native Americans have been using black cohosh, a native plant to North America, as an herbal remedy for centuries. It was first described in 1825 by John Torrey, an American botanist. It occurs frequently on hillsides and in woods at higher elevations. Grown in the U.S. and Canada, the Native Americans used the rhizome or underground stem of this plant to cure rattlesnake bites, giving it one of its common names, rattleroot, and for rheumatism and gynecological problems. In the late 19th century, Europeans popularized its use, incorporating it into traditional herbal remedies for treating a range of women’s health issues. Black cohosh can restore female hormonal balance. It is now widely available in supplement form. They brewed it into a tea and sprinkled it around the room, claiming it prevented the presence of evil spirits. Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) is different black cohosh.

Black Cohosh Nutritional Value and Calories Chart

Black cohosh does not contain any significant amounts of vitamins or minerals. It does, however, contain a variety of compounds that may be beneficial for human health. These include triterpene glycosides, isoflavonoids, and flavonoids. These compounds may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and may also possess some hormone-balancing properties. Nutritional value per 100 g black cohosh:

  • Biotin: 0.25 mcg
  • Calcium: 73.5 mg
  • Carbohydrates (Carbs): 9.1 g
  • Chloride: 21.2 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Choline: 0.5 mg
  • Chromium: 0.2 mcg
  • Copper: 0.3 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Energy (Calories): 34 kcal
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Iodine: 0.3 mcg
  • Iron: 0.7 mg
  • Magnesium: 21.7 mg
  • Manganese: 0.1 mg
  • Molybdenum: 0.2 mcg
  • Pantothenic Acid: 0.5 mg
  • Phosphorus: 38.7 mg
  • Potassium: 242.6 mg
  • Protein: 1.6 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.1 g
  • Selenium: 0.2 mcg
  • Sodium: 9.8 mg
  • Sugars: 0.3 g
  • Vitamin A: 5.6 IU
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.5 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.5 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 15.5 mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 4.7 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0 IU
  • Vitamin E: 0.7 mg
  • Vitamin K: 0.4 mcg
  • Water: 7.1 g
  • Zinc: 0.2 mg

Black Cohosh vs Vitex

People commonly use both Black Cohosh and Vitex as herbs to treat various medical conditions such as menopause symptoms, PMS, and infertility. Black Cohosh, native to North America, has centuries of use in treating menstrual cramps, hot flashes, and depression, and it’s studied for reducing inflammation and improving mood. People have used Vitex, native to the Mediterranean region, for centuries to treat menstrual irregularities, PMS, and infertility by influencing hormones like estrogen and progesterone. The primary difference lies in potential side effects and interactions with medications. While Black Cohosh is generally safe and well-tolerated, Vitex may cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue, and it could interact with medications like birth control pills. It’s crucial to consult your doctor before taking either herb.

Black vs Blue Cohosh

People have used both of these plants for centuries for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh is a perennial herb native to North America, while blue is an annual herb native to Europe and Asia. People have used both herbs to address issues related to women’s health. However, people more commonly use black cohosh for these purposes, as blue cohosh can have more side effects. Additionally, people believe black cohosh has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-spasmodic properties, while blue cohosh has been used to stimulate labor and reduce pain during childbirth.

Black Cohosh In India

While the herb is not native to India, practitioners widely use it in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including menstrual cramps, menopause symptoms, and joint pain. The herb is available in the form of supplements, tinctures, and teas. It is important to note that there have been no clinical studies conducted on the use of black cohosh in India.

  • Scientific Binomial: Actaea racemosa / Cimicifuga racemosa
  • Common English: Black Snakeroot / Fairy Candle / Rattleroot / Bugbane / Richweed
  • Sanskrit
  • Hindi / Urdu
  • Bengali
  • Marathi: Osadi
  • Telugu
  • Tamil
  • Gujarati
  • Kannada
  • Malayalam: kammunista pachcha
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi / Sindhi
  • Assamese
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Manipuri
  • Dogri
  • Bhojpuri

Black Cohosh Health Benefits

This herb may help reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

1. Heart Health

Studies suggest that it may help reduce total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, thereby potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It may also help reduce inflammation and improve arterial function. Additionally, it may also have a protective effect on the heart by reducing blood pressure and improving blood vessel health. While researchers need to conduct more studies to confirm these potential benefits, the herb shows promise as a natural supplement for heart health.

2. Anxiety and Depression

Black cohosh is an herbal supplement that may be beneficial for treating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Sometimes, people use it as an alternative to prescription medications, and it is common in treating menopausal symptoms. Studies have found that the herb may help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, particularly in postmenopausal women. However, researchers need to conduct more studies to confirm its efficacy.

3. Immune System

It is a herb that people sometimes use to boost the immune system. It is believed to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and may help the body fight off infections. Some studies have shown that black cohosh may have potential benefits for the immune system, including reducing inflammation, stimulating immune cells, and increasing the production of immunity-boosting proteins. However, researchers need to conduct more studies to confirm these effects.

4. Men’s Health

Health experts generally do not recommend men to use this herb, as there isn’t enough research to suggest it offers any benefits. Although it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, there isn’t enough evidence to support its efficacy. However, some men have reported positive results from using black cohosh. These include improved libido, better mood, and reduced muscle tension. It may also help to reduce inflammation and aid in the relief of arthritis pain.

5. Tinnitus (Noise or Ringing In The Ears)

For tinnitus caused by blood congestion or pressure in the head, try black cohosh. Use 10 – 30 drops of tincture diluted in water, and drink it as often as necessary.

6. Menopause Symptoms

Black cohosh, a popular herb for women’s health, treats menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, and premenstrual syndrome. People also use it to reduce the risk of cancer and osteoporosis. Historically, it has treated menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, headaches, vertigo, heart palpitations, nervousness, ringing in the ears, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. The herb doesn’t raise estrogen levels but balances hormones for premenopausal and menopausal women with rosacea. To control hot flashes and night sweats, take 1/2 to 1 milliliter of black cohosh tincture two to four times daily, diluted in juice or water for better taste.

7. Skin Health

People have long used Black Cohosh as a natural remedy for skin health. It contains phytoestrogens, which researchers have found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The herb may help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin texture and elasticity, and reduce the effects of skin aging. It may also help to reduce redness and itching, and may even have anti-aging properties. Additionally, it may help to protect the skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. However, researchers need to conduct more studies to fully understand the effects of black cohosh on skin health.


In recent years, research has found evidence that black cohosh may be beneficial in treating PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Studies have shown that it can reduce levels of androgens, hormones associated with PCOS. It may also help to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity. Additionally, researchers have found that the herb improves menstrual regularity and reduces symptoms of PMS. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, the herb may be a beneficial treatment option for those with PCOS.

9. Infertility

People traditionally use black cohosh, an herb, to treat a variety of female reproductive issues, including infertility. It is believed to help regulate hormones and promote ovulation, which can increase the chances of conception. However, there is not enough scientific evidence that proves its effectiveness for this purpose. As with any herbal remedy, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before taking this herb for infertility.

10. Fibroids

While limited scientific evidence supports its efficacy in treating fibroids, some studies have suggested that it may help reduce symptoms associated with the condition, such as cramping and heavy menstrual bleeding. In one small study, researchers found that black cohosh reduced the size of fibroids in women who had not yet entered menopause. Some experts suggest taking the supplement in combination with other herbs, such as vitex and red clover, for optimal results. However, it’s important to note that black cohosh is not a substitute for medical treatment and should only be used in combination with a doctor’s advice. As with any supplement, it is important to discuss any potential side effects with your healthcare provider before taking it.

11. Depression

When nervous exhaustion or depression are present, one should combine black cohosh with St. John’s wort. Tincture made with black cohosh and other herbs is useful in stress or simple chew as a sedative to help with depression. Take one pint of water and boil it.

Once started boiling add 1 ounce black cohosh along with herbs – 1 ounce lobelia seed, 1 ounce skullcap, 1 ounce skunk cabbage root, 1/2 ounce cayenne. Boil it for 1/2 hour. Add 1 pint of apple cider vinegar and bottle for use.  8 to 15 drops in cup of hot water according to requirement. This is also useful for shock, epilepsy, hysteria, lock jaw, poisonous bites and stings. 

Grow at Home

Black cohosh grows best in moist, rich soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. The plant prefers partial to full shade and is not tolerant of extreme temperatures or drought. The ideal climate for black cohosh is a temperate one with temperatures ranging from 30°F to 90°F.

  1. Start with a good-quality seed: Buy seeds from a reputable source to ensure that you get the best quality.
  2. Prepare the soil: The herb prefers a soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 and that is well-draining and high in organic matter.
  3. Plant the seeds: Plant the seeds approximately 1/4 inch deep in the soil.
  4. Water regularly: Water the soil around the herb regularly, making sure that it stays moist but not soggy.
  5. Fertilize: Fertilize the plant once every two weeks with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous.
  6. Watch for pests: Keep an eye out for pests such as aphids, slugs, and Japanese beetles. If you notice any of these pests, treat them with an appropriate insecticide.
  7. Harvest the flowers: When the flowers appear, it’s time to harvest. Cut the flower stems just below the flower heads and use them for medicinal purposes.

The optimal time to plant black cohosh is in early spring, after the last frost has passed. The United States is the largest producer of the herb, followed by Germany, China, India, and Canada.


You can propagate black cohosh by using seed, root division, and stem cuttings.

  • Seeds: Collect the seeds in the fall when the fruits turn yellow and begin to split open. Plant the seeds in a warm, well-drained soil.
  • Root Division: This can be done in the early spring or fall. Carefully dig up the clump and separate out the roots. Replant the divided roots in a warm, well-drained soil.
  • Stem Cuttings: Take 6-inch stem cuttings in the late spring or early summer. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant in a well-drained potting mix. Keep the soil moist and in a shady location. After a few weeks, new roots should form and you can transplant the cuttings into the garden.

Side Effects and Disadvantages

  • Common side effects include stomach upset, headache, rash, itching, nausea, sweating, dizziness, and joint pain. It may also cause vaginal spotting or bleeding.
  • People with liver disease should not take black cohosh. People with hormone-sensitive conditions like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and breast or uterine cancer should also avoid taking this herb. The herb can also interact with certain medications, so it is important to talk to your doctor before taking it.
  • Black cohosh should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, as it may cause adverse effects in the fetus or newborn. It should also not be taken by children under the age of 12.


Q. Does black cohosh increase estrogen?

No, black cohosh does not increase estrogen levels in the body. However, it does act on hormones in a way that can provide relief from symptoms associated with menopause.

Q. Can black cohosh make you gain weight?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that it causes weight gain. However, individual reactions to herbal supplements may vary, and it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Q. Where does black cohosh grow?

It is native to eastern North America and commonly grows in wooded areas, particularly in regions with rich, moist soil. It is often found in the eastern United States and parts of Canada.

Q. How do you take black cohosh for ovulation?

Black cohosh is not typically used to promote ovulation. However, it is commonly used to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause and menstrual irregularities. If you have specific concerns about ovulation, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider for guidance tailored to your individual needs.

Q. Does black cohosh contain silymarin?

No, this herb (Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa) does not contain silymarin. Silymarin is a compound primarily found in milk thistle (Silybum marianum). While both black cohosh and milk thistle are used for medicinal purposes, they are distinct plants with different active compounds and therapeutic properties.

Q. Can black cohosh be used to induce labor?

While black cohosh has been traditionally used to induce labor, its safety and effectiveness for this purpose have not been well-established through scientific research. Pregnant women should consult with a healthcare professional before using black cohosh or any other herbal remedies to induce labor due to potential risks and lack of conclusive evidence regarding its safety and efficacy.

Q. How does black cohosh work?

The exact mechanism of action of black cohosh is not fully understood. However, it is believed to interact with certain receptors and neurotransmitters in the body, including serotonin receptors. This herb may also have estrogen-like effects, although it does not contain estrogen. Its therapeutic effects are thought to involve modulation of hormonal pathways and neurotransmitter activity, which may contribute to its potential benefits in alleviating symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause. However, further research is needed to fully elucidate the mechanisms by which black cohosh exerts its effects.

Q. What happens if you take black cohosh while pregnant?

If you take black cohosh while pregnant, it could potentially stimulate uterine contractions, which may lead to complications such as premature labor or miscarriage. Therefore, it is strongly advised against using black cohosh during pregnancy unless under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional. Pregnant women should always consult with their healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplements or medications to ensure the safety of both themselves and their baby.

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