Overview

Black cohosh is a woodland herb. The root is used for medicinal purposes.

Black cohosh is commonly used for symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful menstruation, weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis), and many others. However, there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. These are unrelated plants. The blue and white cohosh plants do not have the same effects as black cohosh, and may not be safe.

How does it work ?

The root of black cohosh is used for medicinal purposes. 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. Some might help the body to reduce inflammation. Other chemicals in black cohosh root might work in nerves and in the brain. These chemicals might work similarly to another chemical in the brain called serotonin.

Black cohosh root also seems to have some effects similar to the female hormone, estrogen. In some parts of the body, black cohosh might increase the effects of estrogen. In other parts of the body, black cohosh might decrease the effects of estrogen. Black cohosh should not be thought of as an "herbal estrogen" or a substitute for estrogen. It is more accurate to think of it as an herb that acts similarly to estrogen in some people.

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© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.