Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa
Black Cohosh is a hardy perennial which grows in . Growing to about 8 feet tall it produces a string of white flowers in mid to late summer.
USDA Plant Maturity Zones: Zones 4 to 10
American Horticultural Society Heat Zone: 3-10
Sunset Western Climate Zones:
Black Cohosh is easily propagated from fresh rootstock gathered in the fall after formation of the fruit. Wash the black cohosh root in fresh water, blot dry and dry in natural air on wire racks away from dust and sunlight or in a food dehydrator with the heat turned off.
A member of the buttercup family Black Cohosh is a perennial herb that is native to North America. One of the benefits of Black Cohosh is that it is avoided by insects, which may help to explain the nicknames of black snakeroot, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattletop, rattleweed, and macrotys.
Black cohosh is typically used in the relief of hot flashes and other maladies of menopause. Studies have been conducted to determine whether black cohosh is actually effective for this use. The studies were placebo-controlled studies, and most assessed symptoms using a scale that combines the measurement of hot flashes, plus insomnia, and depression.
Black cohosh is sold in the United States as a dietary supplement. Dietary supplements are considered “foods” and are regulated as such. Since it is not considered a drug, but is considered a food, manufacturers of Black Cohosh do not have to provide the FDA with the required evidence that it is effective or safe before marketing. Because dietary supplements are not always tested for manufacturing consistency, the composition may vary considerably from lot to lot.
Black cohosh has not been reported to interact with any drugs or to influence laboratory tests, though this has not been rigorously studied.
There are no known adverse black cohosh side effects or interactions between black cohosh extract and any medications except with possibly tamoxifen.
Effects on breast tissue are not fully understood so women with breast cancer may want to avoid the use of black cohosh.
The black cohosh root affect during pregnancy has not been rigorously studied. It would be prudent for pregnant women not to take black cohosh, eliminating concerns about black cohosh and labor.
Can men take black cohosh? I have not seen any data indicating any benefit of having men on black cohosh.
The only adverse effect reported in clinical studies, with any significant frequency, was gastrointestinal discomfort. In larger doses, or in the instance of black cohosh overdose, it can cause dizziness, headaches, giddiness, nausea, and vomiting.
The formulation Black Cohosh and dosage vary by manufacturer. A common black cohosh preparation is one which contains black cohosh extract equivalent to 20 mg of root per tablet. As you can see from the information available, no one knows for sure what the side effects of Black Cohosh are when used by different people under varying conditions. Many possibilities are being studied but in the meantime caution in its use is strongly advised.
For more information, check the following links: