Black cohosh root extract

More than a century ago, doctors found that the sinuous rhizome of black cohosh contains substances that perfectly alleviate many typically female suffering.

Description and useful properties of black cohosh

Black cohosh racemose.
General view of the plant.

Black cohosh is a perennial grass of the buttercup family with stems up to 2.5 m high and fluffy tassels of white flowers, grows in North America, where the Indians traditionally use its powerful rhizome to treat “women’s diseases”. It contains a complex set of bioactive substances, some of which are not inferior in effect to the most modern medicines. The generic name for the plant was given by another close species, the smell of which repels bed bloodsuckers.

Useful properties of black cohosh

Black cohosh has phytoestrogenic properties, therefore it is mainly used to normalize the hormonal balance in women. It is usually recommended for menopausal symptoms and menstrual problems; less often – with nervous disorders, postpartum and joint pain.

For your information
Compresses with a decoction of black cohosh can help with muscle aches and joint pain. Boil the dry collection for 20-30 minutes. Let the liquid cool slightly (it should be hot, but not scalding), soak a cloth in it and apply it to the problem area for about 20 minutes.

Recent studies show that black cohosh relieves hot flashes and night sweats during menopause, not by mimicking the estrogenic effect, but by acting on receptors in the brain center that regulates body temperature.

The main benefits of black cohosh

This remedy is increasingly being used to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other typical menopausal symptoms. It has been shown that black cohosh extract reduces the level of luteinizing hormone produced by the pituitary gland. An increase in this level during menopause is considered one of the causes of hot flashes.

Phytoestrogens of black cohosh compensate for the sharp decrease in the production of estrogen by the female body during menopause. They bind to the same receptors but are less effective, and as a result, relieve menopausal symptoms without increasing the risk of breast cancer, a possible side effect of hormone replacement therapy. Prior to menopause, phytoestrogens will reduce this risk by competing with estrogens, weakening their effect.

Black cohosh racemosus has antispasmodic properties, that is, it relaxes the muscles, and as a result, relieves menstrual cramps by improving the blood supply to the uterus and weakening its contractions. This action is also useful during childbirth and after them. By smoothing out hormonal fluctuations during the monthly cycle, it helps with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but vitex is more effective in this condition.

Less well known are the mild sedative and anti-inflammatory properties of black cohosh. They are especially useful for muscle aches and neuralgia, in particular sciatica. Black cohosh also thins mucus and can be used as an expectorant for coughs. It also helps with ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Did you know?
Black cohosh is the main ingredient of climadinone, used for vegetative-vascular and mental disorders in menopause, pre- and postmenopause.

The use of black cohosh racemose, contraindications,
side effects

Indications for the use of black cohosh

• Menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes.

• Menstrual cramps and related disorders such
as PMS.

• Muscle pains of inflammatory character.

• Cough associated with congestion of mucus in the respiratory tract.

How to use black cohosh preparations

Buy preparations of black cohosh based on an extract containing 2.5% triterpenes – its bioactive substances. For menopausal symptoms and PMS: 40 mg of the extract twice a day. For PMS, start taking 7-10 days before your period starts. For menstrual cramps: 40 mg three to four times daily until symptoms improve.

To minimize the risk of indigestion, it is best to take black cohosh with meals. The benefits will become noticeable in a month or two.

Black cohosh capsules contain powder from its dried rhizome.

Many experts do not recommend taking it without a break for more than six months, but recent studies show the absence of significant unpleasant consequences even with longer daily use.

Contraindications to the use of black cohosh

• Black cohosh is categorically contraindicated for pregnant and lactating mothers.

• Possible interaction with hormonal drugs, such as birth control pills.

• Black cohosh may enhance the effect of antihypertensive drugs that reduce blood pressure.

If you are on medication, take any medication only with your doctor’s permission.

Possible side effects

Black cohosh is practically non-toxic, but can cause stomach upset. In one study, women taking it experienced dizziness and slight weight gain. High doses are fraught with nausea, vomiting, slow heart rate, sweating and headache.

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Cimicifuga is a plant that is used in the complex treatment of many diseases, including those associated with the female reproductive system. It has additional names – black cohosh racemose or black cohosh racemose. At the moment, about 15 species of cimicifuga have been discovered.

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About the plant

The plant reaches two meters in height. The roots are strong and go deep into the ground. The shoots are covered with fine hairs and have branches. The leaves are arranged in several tiers. Below – the largest, reaching forty centimeters. A little higher are pointed leaves no more than ten centimeters long.

Rapid flowering of black cohosh occurs in July. At this moment, the flowers emit a pronounced sweetish aroma, on which insects flock. They do not bloom immediately, but gradually.

Voronets appeared in North America, but today it has become widespread not only on this continent, but also on other continents. The plant is attracted by the temperate climate, so it can be found in Mongolia, China, India and other Asian countries. Tsimitsifuga grows in deciduous forests, in wet ravines, in bushes.

Chemical composition

Black cohosh is rich in flavonoids and alkaloids, which are present in inflorescences. However, the chemical composition includes other useful substances found in the root part. These include:

  1. phenolic compounds;
  2. tannins;
  3. plant estrogens;
  4. essential oil;
  5. salicylic and isoferulic acids;
  6. tannins;
  7. gum;
  8. organic acids.

In a small amount, the root contains starch, sucrose, carotene and such useful elements as selenium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

Where can I buy?

Biologically active food supplements based on black cohosh are presented in a large assortment on the website of the American online store iHerb. The products of world manufacturers are on sale, such as Solgar, Nature’s Way, Now Foods, etc.

plant properties

Best of all, the properties of cimicifuga are manifested in the treatment of pathologies of the female reproductive system. This is due to the presence of bioflavonoids, which play the role of natural estrogens. The components improve the activity of the hormonal system, thereby improving the mechanisms of the menstrual cycle.

Plant-based preparations are used in the complex treatment of hormonal disorders in women, especially during menopause. In addition, they help to get rid of the symptoms of certain diseases of the reproductive system.

Doctors prescribe treatment using black cohosh in the presence of the following pathologies:

  • disruptions in the menstrual cycle;
  • period of menopause;
  • headache, stress, overexertion;
  • rheumatoid arthritis;
  • metabolic problems;
  • excess cholesterol;
  • high blood pressure;
  • asthma;
  • rheumatism.

The action of preparations based on black cohosh lies in the fact that the components bind to the brain receptors responsible for the hormonal system. As a result, there is an improvement in the production of certain hormones. Smooth muscles relax, cardiac activity is not disturbed, uterine muscles contract.

Due to a slight sedative effect, increased excitability decreases, and the nervous system relaxes. Therefore, cimicifuga is often used to treat behavioral disorders when the use of potent drugs is contraindicated.

Another area of ​​application of drugs with plant extract is the treatment of diseases of bone tissue. The positive effect of drugs in osteoporosis, arthritis, rheumatism has been proven.

Nature’s Way, Black Cohosh (Black Cohosh), 540 mg, 180 Capsules

This supplement contains only pure cimicifuga root. One capsule contains 540 mg. active substance. The manufacturer recommends taking the supplement one capsule three times a day.

Many women admit that there is nothing better than this product during menopause. Sleep is normalized, hot flashes go away, mood swings are significantly reduced.

Application in homeopathy, folk medicine

In most cases, alternative therapy involves the use of black cohosh rhizomes, since it contains more useful elements. It is used to create herbal homeopathic preparations. In addition, the use of cimicifuga in folk recipes is common.

Most often it is used to treat diseases associated with the female reproductive system. However, black cohosh is also used for pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, to combat migraines. In China, the plant has found use in the treatment of snake bites and as an immune booster.

Use for women’s health

The most common area of ​​​​application of the plant is in the treatment of diseases associated with the female reproductive system. Medicines based on cimicifuga extract are prescribed for menstrual irregularities, including menopause. Scientists have conducted numerous studies to prove the effectiveness of medicinal properties. It turned out that crow interacts with brain receptors, having a positive effect on the body in case of hormonal disruptions.

With menopause, menopause

Women face the following manifestations of menopause:

  • disruptions in the menstrual cycle;
  • chills or excessive sweating, which constantly alternate;
  • nervous state, inadequate reaction to some events;
  • tearfulness;
  • headache;
  • rapid fatigue, etc.

When ingesting homeopathic remedies based on herbal ingredients, an improvement in the condition is noted. First of all, the effect is manifested in a decrease in hot flashes and a decrease in sweating.

And yet, experts are not yet ready to unanimously call cimicifuga a panacea in the treatment of menopause. Some researchers believe that funds based on it have more of a placebo effect.

To reduce the level of follicle-stimulating hormone

Studies have been repeatedly conducted to find out if the components of the plant affect the decrease in FSH levels during menopause. The data is ambiguous. Some scientists say that homeopathic remedies do not bring any result, others are sure that there is a slight decrease in the level of the hormone.

The effect is that the components of the plant work like natural estrogens, although the principle is different.

With endometriosis

Endometriosis is a disease in which the tissues of the lining of the uterus gradually grow. If you do not get rid of the pathology, it threatens infertility. Treatment can be hormonal or surgical, depending on the degree of tissue growth.

The use of homeopathic remedies containing the extract of the black cohosh helps to stop the development of the disease and prevents the endometrium from growing further. This is due to the fact that the activity of the hormonal system improves, immunity becomes stronger.

As a result of complex treatment, the main symptoms of endometriosis disappear. Bleeding stops, discomfort disappears, the woman ceases to feel a constant breakdown, her mood improves.

With myoma

With this diagnosis, a benign formation is formed on the uterus or its neck, the size of which can reach several centimeters. Often the disease contributes to a low content of female hormones. Symptoms appear only when the fibroid reaches an impressive size. A neoplasm is often detected during a routine examination.

For treatment, the method of surgical removal is used. Conservative therapy provides for the use of hormonal drugs to eliminate the pathology. However, in some cases, their use can provoke additional growth of the neoplasm.

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Herbal preparations based on cimicifuga do not have a negative effect on tissues, but at the same time help to achieve the following effect:

  • the concentration of female hormones increases, the lack of which most often causes fibroids;
  • the concentration of FSH and LH decreases;
  • a calming effect on the nervous system, a decrease in excitability were noted.

Herbal components help to stop the growth of the neoplasm, but you will need to take the prescribed drugs for a long time. Otherwise, the effect will be insignificant and, after stopping the intake, the tissues will begin to grow again. In order for the symptoms to become less pronounced, it is necessary to take homeopathic remedies for several weeks or even months.

21st Century, Black Cohosh & Soy Isoflavones, 200 Veg Capsules

Reviews on this drug all as one claim that it helps to cope with “hot flashes” during menopause. Many note an improvement in mood, the number of changes in the emotional state decreases, women become more calm and balanced. Some stop feeling the symptoms of panic attacks.

Soy isoflavones also have a positive effect on a woman’s hormonal background. These two components complement each other perfectly. However, before taking, do not forget to consult your doctor!

The manufacturer advises taking two capsules a day: morning and evening. And strongly do not recommend exceeding the indicated dosage.

Instructions for use

The method of use depends on the form in which the patient takes the herbal remedy. Cimicifuga extract is part of some homeopathic preparations. They are produced in the United States, some European countries. In this case, the specific dosage will depend on the instructions that the supplement manufacturer will attach.

Means are released in the form of a soluble powder, tablets or liquid substance. Experts believe that the daily dose for ingestion of dry matter should be no more than 200 mg. In liquid form, the dosage will be up to 2 ml of solution. In addition, the specific dosage depends on the type of disease for which Cimicifuga is used.

At home, use a decoction of the roots of the plant. To do this, you need to boil 1.5 grams of rhizome in a glass of water. The product is infused for 2 hours, then filtered and cooled. The decoction is drunk up to 4 times a day for ¼ cup.

Solgar, Black Cohosh Root Extract, 60 Veg Capsules

Side effects

Numerous studies have proven that the use of preparations based on the black cohosh does not lead to a toxic effect. Homeopathic remedies are considered safe if the dosage is followed and there are no contraindications to use.

The following side effects are extremely rare:

  1. indigestion (when taking certain types of medications);
  2. allergic reactions;
  3. bleeding in women (it has not been proven that they arose precisely because of taking medications).

Some scientists have expressed concern that long-term use of herbal preparations causes endometrial hyperplasia and cancers in the future, but this assumption has not been proven.

Contraindications for use

Despite the safety of using cimicifuga, there are contraindications in which taking drugs based on it is prohibited. These include:

  • the period of bearing a child or lactation;
  • estrogen-dependent neoplasms;
  • the presence of bleeding in pathologies of the female reproductive system;
  • high sensitivity of the skin;
  • chronic diseases (first of all, they include liver diseases);
  • a tendency to allergic reactions is a relative contraindication;
  • in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, drugs should be used with caution, as they can provoke indigestion;
  • with a tendency to form blood clots, it is also not recommended to use herbal medicines, since they increase the activity of blood clotting.

Natural Factors, WomenSense, Menopause, Black Cohosh Racemosa, 90 Veg Capsules


Currently, experts have not come to a consensus about the effectiveness of preparations based on cimicifuga. Some researchers believe that the effect is the placebo effect, in which patients convince themselves that the funds help them.

The other half of the scientists confirm that after taking herbal medicines, the state of menopause, pathologies of the musculoskeletal system and manifestations of stress are significantly alleviated. In any case, drugs should not be used thoughtlessly. Only the attending physician can prescribe them and prescribe the dosage.

Kingdom: Plants
Domain: eukaryotes
Sub-kingdom: green plants
The Department: Flowering
Class: Dicot [1]
Superorder : Ranunculanae Takht. ex Reveal, 1993
Order: Ranunculaceae
Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculaceae
Tribe: Actaeeae
View: Black cohosh

International scientific name

  • Cimicifuga racemosa

Black cohosh [2] , or branched cimicifuga [ 3] (lat. Actaéa racemósa, syn. Cimicifúga racemosa ) is a perennial herbaceous plant; species of the genus Voronets of the Ranunculaceae family. It grows wild in moist deciduous forests in eastern North America. Blooms from June to September.

It has been cultivated since the beginning of the 18th century [4] . Extracts from the roots and rhizomes of the plant are used in dietary supplements and traditional medicine as an analgesic, sedative and anti-inflammatory agent. Currently, the most well-known use is for gynecological ailments: PMS, menopause, menstrual and postpartum pain, as well as for the treatment of a number of female diseases. The pharmacological properties of the plant were known to the natives of America even before the colonization of the continent by Europeans.


Botanical description [edit | edit code]

A perennial herbaceous plant with a straight, smooth stem and compound leaves growing from a fleshy rhizome. The height of a flowering plant averages about 1.5 m [5], in some cases it reaches 2.5 m [4] . The stem has a rectangular section [6] .

The basal leaves are broad and long, petiolate, twice or three times tripartite, green or dark green with a glossy sheen. The order of the leaves is alternate. The total number of leaves on each plant can reach seventy. The leaf blade is smooth, up to 12 cm long, oval in shape and usually has two or three deep serrated protrusions (blades). On the terminal leaflet, three lobes are clearly distinguished, at the base separated by deep veins. Most plants have only one compound leaf [7] [8] .

Blooms from June to September [6] . Inflorescence – a serpentine raceme up to 1 m long, develops at the top of the stem in late spring or early summer. The flowers are white, pubescent, and have an unpleasant bittersweet odor that attracts flies and other scavenging insects. The four sepals are petal-like and quickly fall off to reveal numerous (up to 110) cream-colored stamens. The petals are oblong and very short, about 3 mm long. The only pistil has a wide stigma and one ovary.

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The fruit is a dry leaflet 5-10 mm long, which contains eight to ten seeds in two rows [7] [8] . In winter, the fruit remains on the shoot and, when the wind blows, makes a characteristic sound, similar to the noise of a pea rattle (hence one of the English names of the plant – rattle weed, “rattle weed”) [6] .

Distribution [edit | edit code]

The distribution area is the eastern part of North America from Ontario and Massachusetts south to Alabama and Georgia, west to Missouri, Wisconsin and Arkansas [6] . It grows in moist deciduous forests and on their edges, along the slopes of ravines, the banks of streams, in thickets of shrubs and succulent grasses [4] . Prefers moist, humus-rich soils. As a rule, he chooses partially (in the first or second half of the day) or mostly shaded areas of the forest [9] . A common, sometimes common plant [8] .

Systematics [edit | edit code]

The earliest description of the plant was made in 1705 by the royal professor of botany Leonard Plukenet (eng. Leonard Plukenet) in the Amaltheum Botanicum catalog (the sixth, final part of his Phytography). This scientist, part-time gardener at the court of Queen Mary II, named the plant “Christopheriana facie, Herba spicata, ex Provincia Flor >[10] .

The founder of the binomial nomenclature, Carl Linnaeus, in his work Species plantarum (1753) classified the plant as Actaea racemosa , and, based on the similar structure of the inflorescence and seed, put it on a par with the type species of the genus spiky crow. The American Frederic Pursch described the species in his own way, in the publication “Flora Americae Septentrionalis” (1814) calling it Cimicifuga serpentaria (the genus Cimicifuga , in Russian-language sources, the bug was isolated by Linnaeus, but the author did not add the described species to it). Finally, the English botanist Thomas Nuttall, in The Genera of North American Plants (1818), combined the generic epithet of Pursha and the specific epithet of Linnaeus, designating the plant as Cimicifuga racemosa [10] .

The established name dominated botanical literature until the end of the 20th century. In 1998, experts from the British University of Reading (eng. University of reading) conducted a revision of the family, based on the results of their own genetic studies. They combined the genera Actaea , Cimicifuga and Souliea , retaining the earliest epithet Actaea . Thus, the primordial scientific name Actaea racemosa , assigned by Linnaeus, returned to the black crow [11] .

Plant and Man [edit | edit code]

Use in medicine and dietary supplements [ edit | edit code]

Scientists believe that the pharmacological properties of the plant, even before the advent of Europeans, were well known to some Indian tribes, in particular the Delaware, Iroquois, Cherokee, Winnebago, possibly the Penobscots (English) Russian. [eight] . Root decoctions and compresses were used to treat a wide variety of ailments: for example, rheumatism, malaria, sore throats, and complications during childbirth [12] . 19th-century written sources also claim that the Indians drank herbal teas and alcoholic tinctures of the plant as a diuretic, sedative, or stimulant of menstruation, applied compresses for snake bites and back pain. Together with other herbs, the black cohosh was a part of tonic drinks [8] [10] .

In the second half of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the plant attracted the attention of medical workers [13] [14] [15] . From 1820 to 1926, it was included in the list of the American Pharmacopoeia – the official compendium of medicines and preparations made from them [16] [17] . Indications for use were swelling of the legs, rheumatism, various neurotic disorders and lung diseases [8], as well as a wide range of gynecological diseases: endometritis, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, infertility, severe postpartum pain and lack of breast milk. In the twentieth century, the plant was widely used to treat menopause. The plant gained particular popularity in herbal medicine (eng. eclectic medicine, a popular trend in American medicine in the second half of the 19th – first half of the 20th century) [18] .

Currently, black cohosh is mainly used as part of dietary supplements recommended for women suffering from premenstrual syndrome, menopause and other female problems [12] . In 2013, German physicians conducted a comprehensive analysis of clinical studies of various supplements, the results of which were published in journals and are available in medical databases. All studied drugs showed good tolerance with a minimum of side effects, however, the effectiveness indicators turned out to be ambiguous: some of the extracts that are not recognized as drugs and produced by American manufacturers showed insufficient effectiveness [19] .

British experts warn that long-term use of extracts can lead to thickening of the uterine mucosa, which is a risk factor for cancer [20] . At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, a number of sources in the EU, Australia and Canada issued a statement about the possible connection of products containing black cohosh with toxic effects on the liver. The Expert Commission on Dietary Supplements of the United States, having studied all available reports, did not find any causal relationship between the use of herbal extracts and pathology [21] .

Use in ornamental gardening [edit | edit code]

The plant is often planted for decorative purposes in open field flower beds. It is attractive with lush inflorescences on tall peduncles and large curly leaves, but at the same time it emits a bittersweet smell during flowering, which may seem unpleasant. For this reason, gardeners recommend planting it in the background, away from paths and windows, but in large plantings to create a large-scale backdrop. The plant looks good along streams and ponds, shade-tolerant, tolerates the presence of other forest grasses. Prefers humus-rich, slightly acidic and well-drained soils. When planted in the shade, it can tolerate a short summer drought [22] . The plant is the recipient of the 1993 Award of Garden Merit, an annual award given to garden plants by the Royal Horticultural Society [23] .

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