Black Cohosh :(Cimicifuga racemosa)

General Description

Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is a tall, perennial herb native to North America. Medicines made from the plant’s root were very popular among Native Americans, and later, European colonists.

Early uses for black cohosh included:

  • women’s health problems
  • menstrual cramps
  • arthritis
  • fatigue
  • snakebite

    Health Benefits

    Today, after decades of clinical studies, black cohosh is recommended by the internationally respected German Commission E (Germany’s equivalent to the Food & Drug Administration in the United States) for the following:

  • menopausal symptoms
  • painful menstruation
  • premenstrual syndrome

    Recent studies have focused primarily on the relief of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and depression.

    Dosage and Forms

    Black cohosh extracts come in tablet form. The extract should be standardized for 27-deoxyacteine. The standard dosage is 1 or 2 mg of 27-deoxyacteine twice daily.


    Black cohosh produces estrogen-like effects, but does not produce actual hormone activity. That means you receive health benefits without the risks associated with hormone therapy.

    In toxicology studies, no birth defect-inducing, mutagenic, or cancer-causing effects have been found with black cohosh extract. Long-term use appears to be safe.

    Black cohosh is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Very large doses may cause nausea or dizziness.


    Lieberman S: A review of the effectiveness of Cimicifuga racemosa [black cohosh] for the symptoms of menopause. J Womens Health 7[5]:525-529, 1998

    Liske E: Therapeutic efficacy and safety of Cimicifuga racemosa for gynecologic disorders. Adv Ther 15(1):45-53, 1998

    Beuscher N: Cimicifuga racemosa L.—black cohosh. Z Phytotherapie 16:301-310 1995. Reprint in English, Clay A, et al: Quart Rev Nat Med Spring 19-27, Spring 1996

    Copyright 2000, Impakt Communications, Inc.

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    Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

    Explore Wellness in 2021