Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa) is a plant, which is native to North America. This herb, that is also known as black snakeroot, bugbane, or bugwort, has been used by humans for a very long time. It is believed that, Native Americans used the roots and stems of this plant for treating various medical conditions. The extract prepared from black cohosh is said to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used as a sedative. Nowadays, this extract is mainly used for treating symptoms associated with menopause.

Menopause is the permanent end to the menstrual cycle or menstruation in a woman's life. It is a natural process, which can cause several physical and emotional symptoms. The most common menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, headaches, thinning of hair, vaginal dryness, etc. The symptoms can be mild for some women, but others may experience severe discomfort, that affects their daily activities. The conventional treatment includes hormone therapy, use of antidepressants, and other medication. Lifestyle and diet changes are also recommended to combat the symptoms. When it comes to alternative medicine for menopausal symptoms, black cohosh is very popular, and is widely used in Europe and other regions. Let us take a look at the effect of black cohosh for menopause relief.
  • Studies show that this herb can work as a painkiller. Apart from that, it has certain steroids, that act as anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Some compounds in black cohosh, like formononetin and cimicifugoside, can affect the female reproductive organs. While the former stimulates estrogen production, latter acts as a fungicide.
  • Another compound called fukinolic acid is similar to estrogen. Even though it cannot replace estrogen, it can produce similar effects, and trick the body to believe that it has adequate levels of estrogen.
  • Hot flashes caused by sudden temperature variations in the body, due to varying estrogen levels, can be alleviated with black cohosh.
  • Black cohosh is also said to be effective for tackling mood swings and other symptoms of menopause.
Though most of the users are satisfied with the results, there is no scientific backing for its use as a herbal remedy for menopausal problems.

Black cohosh comes in different forms, but is mainly used as tablets, that too for a very short term. It is not recommended to take this herb for more than six months. Any long-term use can cause side effects, like gastric problems, liver complaints, headaches, nausea, and dark-colored urine. It is also not recommended for women with breast cancer. However, if you intend to take black cohosh for menopause, you must seek the opinion of your physician; and then, consult a qualified herbal practitioner. Menopause symptoms can be alleviated with this herb, but don't take it in excess. Always stick to the prescribed doses and duration of treatment.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.