Black Cohosh is among the few herbs native to the United States that has extensive use and scientific research in Europe. This member of the buttercup family is known by either of its scientific names, Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa. Native American Indians utilized the roots and rhizomes of this herb for “female problems” long before white settlers came to America. It was one of the ingredients in the well-known remedy of the 1880s by Lydia Pinkham, in her famous women’s tonic, Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. This pioneering crusader for women’s health manufactured this formula which is still available today. Germany has used an extract of this plant since the 1940s to support a healthy menstrual cycle and soothe menopausal discomforts with safe and effective results.
Most published clinical trials state that black cohosh is effective in calming common discomforts associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness, though it is sometimes also used for common menstrual discomforts.
The Expanded Commission E Monograph notes that the original uses of black cohosh by Native Americans goes beyond women’s health to include support for the kidney, a healthy inflammatory response, soothe irritated and scratchy throats, and for general malaise. The American Eclectic physicians of the mid-1800s learned much of their herbal knowledge from the local Indian tribes of their regions, who also employed black cohosh in formulas for nervous tension and rheumatic discomfort. Despite it being widely used for menopausal discomforts, the estrogen-like effect is not based on any hormonal changes to the body.
It comes as no surprise that in 2016 black cohosh was reportedly among the top five best-selling herbal supplements in the mainstream market.
Writer Mindy Green is a founding and professional member of the American Herbalists Guild and an advisory board member to the American Botanical Council, publisher of Herbal Gram Magazine. Ms. Green served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies (1995-2003). The California School of Herbal Studies is among Mindy’s business ventures as co-owner and a faculty member (1985-1995). She is a nationally certified Registered Aromatherapist and has served on the education committees of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists and the Aromatherapy Registration Council. She now runs her own consulting company, Green Scentsations, LLC.
A prolific writer and lecturer, Ms. Green has authored over 60 published articles on herbs, aromatherapy, skin care, holistic health and integrative care. She is co-author of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art; author of Calendula and Natural Perfumes, and has contributed to numerous books on herbs and healing. As a botanical-therapies expert, she has been interviewed more than 400 times by leading magazines and newspapers.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.