What is Black Cohosh for?
Black cohosh is an herb. The root of this herb is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh was first used for medicinal purposes by Native American Indians, who introduced it to European colonists. Black cohosh became a popular treatment for women’s health issues in Europe in the mid-1950s.
Since that time, black cohosh has commonly been used to treat symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful menstruation, acne, weakened bones (osteoporosis), and for starting labor in pregnant women.
Black cohosh has also been tried for a lot of additional uses, such as anxiety, rheumatism, fever, sore throat, and cough, but it is not often used for these purposes these days.
Some people also apply black cohosh directly on the skin. This is because there was some thought that black cohosh would improve the skin’s appearance. Similarly, people used black cohosh for other skin conditions such as acne, wart removal, and even the removal of moles, but this is seldom done anymore.
Black cohosh also goes by the name “bugbane” because it was once used as an insect repellent. It is no longer used for this purpose. Frontiersmen had said that black cohosh was useful for rattlesnake bites, but no modern researchers have tested this.
Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. These are unrelated plants. The blue and white cohosh plants do not have the same effects as black cohosh, and may not be safe.
What is Black Cohosh Possibly Effective for?
• Induction of labor. Some people report that black cohosh can help start labor. As many as 45% of nurse-midwives use black cohosh to start labor in pregnant women at term. Despite its common use, there is no reliable scientific evidence that black cohosh works for this purpose.
• Weak bones (Osteoporosis). There has been some research in women who are past menopause and take a black cohosh product called Klimadynon or Menofem. These products might lead to improved bone formation. However, bone formation is only part of the larger picture related to weak bones or osteoporosis. Bone material is constantly being broken down and rebuilt by the body. Some black cohosh products can lead to increased bone formation, but the newly formed bone may not be as strong as desired. Researchers often look to see whether the persons taking a particular product have fewer fractures over a period of time. They also look to see which bones break the most. For example vertebrae and leg bones may be affected differently. It is not known if black cohosh decreases the chance of developing weak bones or if it prevents bone fractures.
• Bug bites.
• Mole removal.
• Painful menstruation.
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
• Snake bite.
• Sore throat.
• Wart removal.