Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is a perennial plant that is native to North America. Its rhizomes and roots are used for medicinal purposes. Most studies on Black Cohosh have been done in Europe using the German product Remifemin®.
What is Black Cohosh Good For?
This herb is used primarily for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Various German studies found black cohosh Actaea racemosa, formerly known as Cimicifuga racemosa ) improved physical and psychological menopausal symptoms, including anxiety, hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Black cohosh has antiosteoporotic properties and has been shown to enhance bone formation.
In a clinical trial of 120 female participants with the menopausal symptoms, black cohosh was more efficacious in relieving hot flashes and night sweats than the antidepressant Prozac. A 2005 study of 304 women found that, compared to a placebo, black cohosh helped symptoms of menopause. A clinical study reported in 2007 compared black cohosh against the synthetic hormone tibolone, and found them equally effective for treating menopausal symptoms. A clinical study in 80 menopausal women compared 8 mg/day of a black cohosh extract with placebo or conjugated estrogens. At 12 weeks, scores on the Kupperman index and the Hamilton anxiety scale were appreciably lower in the treated groups than in the placebo group. A 2010 review by researchers found that black cohosh provided a 26 percent decreased in hot flashes and night sweats. Given the findings of most clinical trials, many researchers conclude that black cohosh may be a safe and effective alternative for women who cannot or will not take hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause.
May reduce risk of osteoporosis. Scientists from the University of Hong Kong, City University of New York, and Columbia University added an extract of black cohosh to a culture of bone-forming mouse cells. The Scientists observed that a high dose (1,000 ng/mL) of the extract suppressed the production of these bone-forming cells, yet a lower dose (500 ng/mL) significantly increased the formation of bone nodules. The experts concluded that their results provide a scientific explanation at the molecular level for claims that black cohosh may protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis. A study using black cohosh and other herbs reduce pain. In a review of scientific studies, experts concluded that a combination of black cohosh, sarsaparilla, willow bark, guaiacum resin, and poplar bark may help alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis.