Black cohosh is the herb for women going through the menopause or looking for a HRT alternative, or looking to wean off HRT. It is also useful in conditions where LH levels are raised and can help with period pains and PMS.
Name: Cimicifuga racemosa, commonly known as black cohosh, also known as black snakeroot and rattleroot. It is a native of the USA and the name snakeroot comes from its use as an American Indian treatment for snakebites.
Part used: The rhizome or root.
Active constituents: The main actives are the phyto-oestrogenic triterpene glycosides actein and cimicifugoside. These chemicals share the same basic molecular shape as an actual oestrogen molecule.
Other constituents include isoflavones that may also contribute to the phyto-oestrogenic activity.
What is black cohosh used for: The American Indians are to thank for introducing black cohosh to Europeans. They used black cohosh to treat ailments such as snakebites and rheumatism, but most importantly for the treatment of womens ailments and as an aid to childbirth. The Eclectic physicians of America picked up its use in the 1800's and used it for rheumatic problems, myalgia, whooping cough and other respiratory diseases. Again though, the Eclectics applied black cohosh most commonly to the treatment of womens ailments such as period pains, heavy periods, light periods, absent periods, ovarian pain, PMS etc.