Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family is a perennial plant found throughout the eastern regions of the United States and Canada. Its botanical name is Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa, however, commonly it is referred to as bugwort, black snakeroot, rattleweed, etc.
Black cohosh was a popular folk remedy, widely used by the Native Americans to treat reproductive disorders, and other ailments such as indigestion, muscle pull, menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, fatigue, bronchitis, etc. Today, the extracts from the root and rhizome of this plant are available in the form capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, etc.
Advantages of Black Cohosh
Helps Treat Menopausal Symptoms
It is believed to alleviate menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, etc. It is also believed to bring relief from vertigo, sleeplessness, headaches, palpitations, and other such symptoms commonly associated to menopause.
Alleviates Menstruation Symptoms
Consumption of black cohosh tea has been observed to reduce cramps and bloating experienced during the menstrual cycle. Surprisingly, this herb is also used to stimulate menstruation that has been hindered due to stress.
To Treat Infertility
This herb has been used by alternative medicine practitioners to treat infertility, to prevent miscarriage, and also to help cope up with labor pain. Since this herb has certain hormone-stabilizing properties, it maintains the level of estrogen in the body, which is why it is considered to be a good alternative for hormone replacement therapy.
To Treat Inflammation
It's also known for its muscle anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, that benefit the nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. The salicylic acid present in this plant contributes to its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation caused by osteoarthritis, neuralgia, and rheumatoid arthritis can be alleviated to some extent by this herb.
This medicinal herb exhibits antibacterial properties, which makes it capable of clearing the body's airways. Thus, it is also believed to treat bronchial infections, and can relieve spasms commonly seen in pertussis. They are also used to relieve headaches caused by various reasons such as overexertion, stress, neuralgia, infections, nasal congestion, and eye-strain. Moreover, it is also known to stimulate digestion and even regulates blood pressure levels to some extent.
The benefits of this herb haven't been medically proven, and while alternative medicine practitioners use it, it's important to always consult your health care provider before taking its supplements, etc. When consumed in large doses, it is known to cause certain side effects, so, be careful!
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.