11 Uses for Black Cohosh (and what are the Side Effects?)

What does Black Cohosh do for your body

Table of Contents

What are the common uses for Black Cohosh?

Common uses for the Black cohosh herb (Cimicifuga racemosa) include the following:

  1. Alleviate symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, tinnitus, vertigo, nervousness, and mood changes.
  2. It raises low estrogen levels in menopausal women
  3. In improving the strength of bones and decreasing the probability of osteoporosis in women after menopause.
  4. Relieving menstrual cramps and other menstrual-related issues, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and Dysmenorrhea (period pain)
  5. Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) symptoms
  6. Helping with muscle and joint pain
  7. Might help to reduce inflammation
  8. Helping with symptoms related to infertility
  9. Helping with symptoms of anxiety and depression
  10. Might help the nerves and brain
  11. Might help the immune system

It is important to note that most of these uses are anecdotal and more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness and determine appropriate dosages and safety precautions. 

In the video below, Trina Sims from Green Star Herbs explains how Black cohosh root is typically used to support women’s hormonal and reproductive systems. It works to balance hormones, relieve PMS and menopause symptoms, and sooth muscle cramps.

This is our recommended Black Cohosh supplement (Amazon’s Choice):

Carlyle Black Cohosh Capsules | 700mg | 300 Count | Non-GMO, and Gluten Free Formula | Black Cohosh Root Extract Supplement

What are the side effects of using Black Cohosh?

Black cohosh is generally considered safe, with mild side effects such as:

  1. Stomach upset and cramping
  2. Nausea
  3. Weight gain
  4. Skin rashes
  5. Infection
  6. Muscle pain
  7. Breast pain or enlargement
  8. Breast cancer recurrence
  9. Spotting or bleeding outside the menstrual cycle, or stimulation of menstrual flow
  10. Abnormal or increased vaginal discharge
  11. A feeling of heaviness or blood clots (especially in the legs)
  12. Liver damage
  13. Abnormal heartbeat or altered blood pressure (typically lowered)
  14. Fluid buildup
  15. Headache

It has also been linked to some severe cases of liver damage, and it should be avoided by those who have liver disease or are taking other supplements or medications that may harm the liver. 

Additionally, a recent animal study has suggested that high doses of black cohosh may lead to red blood cell damage, resulting in anemia. Nevertheless, more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans. As black cohosh has not been extensively studied, it may have other side effects that are not yet widely known. It is recommended to consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

What are the benefits of Black Cohosh for Weight Loss?

In theory, Black Cohosh’s estrogen-like effects may have benefits for weight loss in menopausal women, since they may experience weight gain as their estrogen levels decline. However, there is limited evidence to support this claim, and further research is needed to understand the relationship between Black Cohosh and weight loss fully. 

It is crucial to understand that weight management is a complex issue, and other factors such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep also play a significant role.

Does Black Cohosh cause any Weight Gain?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that Black Cohosh causes weight gain. However, as with any supplement, an individual can experience side effects that are not common among the general population. If you are concerned about the potential for weight gain or other side effects, you should speak with your healthcare provider before taking Black Cohosh.

What time of the day should I take Black Cohosh?

Some people find that the best time of the day to take Black Cohosh is in either in the morning or at night. It’s generally recommended to take Black Cohosh at the same time each day, as this can help to establish a consistent routine. 

However, it is unclear what the optimal time of day is to take Black Cohosh, so you may want to experiment to see what works best for you. It’s also important to follow the dosing instructions on the product you are using. It is always best to consult your healthcare provider if you need clarification on the appropriate dosing or timing for your specific needs.

Does Black Cohosh have any benefits for men?

While traditionally used by women, there have been some studies about the benefits of Black Cohosh for men with conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and low libido. Still, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness. 

Moreover, it is also used to treat other conditions, such as joint pain, osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses. 

If you are considering using Black Cohosh, you must speak with your healthcare provider to determine if it is appropriate for you and understand the potential risks and benefits.

What is the recommended dose of Black Cohosh?

The recommended dose of Black Cohosh varies among brands and can range from 20-120mg of the standardized extract. For menopause symptoms, taking 20mg daily, which most brands provide, is effective. 

Some health professionals suggest that Black Cohosh should not be taken for more than six months to 1 year as it may cause slight potential liver damage. Moreover, to ensure safety, it is recommended to choose Black Cohosh supplements tested for quality by third-party organizations such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or ConsumerLab.

Can Black Cohosh be used for managing Anxiety?

Black cohosh has traditionally been used for managing anxiety and other conditions such as menopause symptoms and menstrual cramps. Some studies have suggested that it may have a mild sedative effect, which may help to reduce feelings of anxiety.

A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2008 found that a combination of black cohosh and other herbs effectively reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in a small group of postmenopausal women.

Is Black Cohosh safe to take while Breastfeeding?

There is limited research on the safety of Black Cohosh during breastfeeding. While some studies have found that Black Cohosh is safe to take while breastfeeding, others have reported that it may be associated with some risks. 

The active compounds in black cohosh, called triterpene glycosides, may be passed to the infant through breast milk, affecting the child negatively. Additionally, Black Cohosh should be used with caution during pregnancy, as it may have estrogen-like effects, which may cause harm to the developing fetus.

Therefore, it is best to avoid using Black Cohosh during pregnancy and breastfeeding and consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement or medication.

Does Black Cohosh cause Headaches?

There have been some reports of headaches as a potential side effect of taking Black Cohosh. However, the incidence of these headaches is not well understood, and more research is needed.

Various factors can cause headaches, and it is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you experience headaches while taking Black Cohosh to determine the cause and rule out any underlying medical condition. If you are experiencing headaches as a side effect of taking Black Cohosh, your healthcare provider may suggest discontinuing use or adjusting the dosage.

How long does Black Cohosh take to work?

If you are using Black Cohosh to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause, it’s generally recommended to take it daily, and it can take 3-6 months to work and see the full benefits.

However, this time may vary depending on the individual and the treatment condition. Some people may experience relief of symptoms within a few weeks of starting treatment, while others may not notice any improvements until several months of use. It’s important to remember that Black Cohosh is not a fast-acting treatment and may take time to see results. 

It’s also important to note that Black Cohosh is not recommended for long-term use. Some health professionals suggest that Black Cohosh should not be taken for more than six months to 1 year as it may cause slight potential liver damage. If you have been using Black Cohosh for a prolonged period and haven’t seen any improvement in your symptoms, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider about alternative treatment options.

Does Black Cohosh help in Hair growth?

Some studies have suggested that phytoestrogens like black cohosh may benefit hair growth and may help to support estrogen levels.

However, there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim. While phytoestrogens are thought to have a structural similarity to estrogen and can bind to the estrogen receptors and exert weak estrogenic effects, the effectiveness of these supplements as a hair growth aid needs to be better established, and more research is needed.

If you are experiencing hair loss, it is essential to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and to develop an appropriate treatment plan. They may recommend medication, supplements, or other treatments to help with hair growth.

Does Black Cohosh prevent Hair loss?

Studies show that Black Cohosh can be used to prevent hair loss because it can function like a phytoestrogen, allowing it to act as an “estrogen buffer.” This prevents the binding of DHT to the hair follicles on the head. In theory, this may not completely prevent hair but may help delay it.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more metabolically active form of testosterone, has been identified to act preferentially on receptors located at the base of the hair follicles on the scalp. In most men, this action of DHT is notorious for causing “male pattern baldness.” 

However, given the lack of significant scientific evidence to support this claim, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the appropriate dosage and duration of treatment for hair loss.

Can Black Cohosh be used to treat Tinnitus?

Research suggests that black cohosh may be effective in treating tinnitus. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2005 found that a combination of black cohosh and other herbs could reduce tinnitus severity in a small group of participants. 

Another study published in the International Journal of Otolaryngology in 2012 found that combining black cohosh and Ginkgo biloba effectively reduced tinnitus-related symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and depression.

However, it’s important to note that these studies were small in scale, and more research is needed to confirm these findings. Other studies have also found no significant benefit of black cohosh in treating tinnitus.

Can Black Cohosh be used to treat Migraines?

Black Cohosh may be used to treat migraines, as some studies have suggested that it may effectively reduce their frequency and severity.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2008 found that a combination of black cohosh and feverfew reduced the frequency of migraines in a small group of participants. Another study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain in 2011 found that combining black cohosh and white willow bark effectively reduced the severity and duration of migraines.

It’s important to note that these studies were small in scale, and more research is needed to confirm these findings. Additionally, black cohosh should not be used without consulting a healthcare professional, as it may interact with certain medications and have potential side effects.

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This article makes use of information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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11 Uses for Black Cohosh (and what are the Side Effects?)
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