Black cohosh information, FAQ and product listing page. This page contains information and frequently asked questions about black cohosh as well as a complete list of products containing black cohosh.

What is black cohosh and what does it do?

Black cohosh, or cimicifuga racemosa, is a perennial fruit bearing plant that is native to North America. Black cohosh plants are known to grow up to nine feet and have been used by the Native Americans in the form of medicine for hundreds of years.

The roots for the black cohosh plant are believed to be the source of the greatest amount of active ingredients and for this reason it is the root of the plant that is found in dietary supplements.

Like most plants, black cohosh contains a very large number of organic compounds with biological activity. Complex biological molecules, such as triterpene glycosides (e.g. cycloartanes), have been shown to reduce cytokine-induced bone loss (osteoporosis) by blocking osteoclastogenesis in in vitro and in vivo models, suggesting that application of black cohosh-produced compounds may aid treatments of this common ailment in humans.

Black cohosh is also called Black Snake Root, Squaw Root, Bugbane, and Rattle Root.

Back to top

What are the benefits of taking black cohosh?

Native Americans used the black cohosh as a traditional medicine and found it effective for treating diarrhea, sore throat, malaria, treating diarrhea, and malaise. Only recently has current scientific studies confirmed some of the benefits of black cohosh.

Currently, black cohosh is used in the treatment of menopause. It’s also used in the prevention of breast cancer and is thought to be effective because of its ability to inactivate estrogen receptors. Another benefit of women include it’s effectiveness at reducing the occurrence of hot flashes and treating a variety of gynecological problems in women.

Back to top

Who can benefit from taking black cohosh?

No physiological need for black cohosh exists, with no symptoms of deficiency existing. Some early research shows that persons suffering from sore throat, whooping cough, malaise, and diarrhea. Women that are pregnant or nursing should not take black cohosh.

Back to top

How much black cohosh should I take?

Always strictly adhere to label directions.

Back to top

Does black cohosh have any side effects?

While there have been minor adverse reactions reported, these are very rare and have not been confirmed through scientific research. Pregnant or nursing women should not take black cohosh unless directed to do so by their physician.

Back to top


Sources used:Foster S: Black cohosh: Cimicifuga racemosa: a literature review. HerbalGram 45: 35-49, 1999.Liu J, Burdette JE, Xu H, Gu C, van Breemen RB, Bhat KP, Booth N, Constantinou AI, Pezzuto JM, Fong HH, Farnsworth NR, Bolton JL. Evaluation of estrogenic activity of plant extracts for the potential treatment of menopausal symptoms. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 May;49(5):2472-9.Zierau O, Bodinet C, Kolba S, Wulf M, Vollmer G. Antiestrogenic activities of Cimicifuga racemosa extracts. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Jan;80(1):125-30.McKenna DJ, Jones K, Humphrey S, Hughes K. Black cohosh: efficacy, safety, and use in clinical and preclinical applications. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 May-Jun;7(3):93-100.Liu Z, Yang Z, Zhu M, Huo J. Estrogenicity of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and its effect on estrogen receptor level in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2001 Mar;30(2):77-80.Lieberman S. A review of the effectiveness of Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) for the symptoms of menopause. J Womens Health. 1998 Jun;7(5):525-9.Chen S-N, Li W, Fabricant DS, Santasiero BD, et al.: Isolation, structure elucidation, and absolute configuration of 26-deoxyactein from Cimicifuga racemosa and clarification of nomenclature associated with 27-deoxyactein. Journal of Natural Products 65: 601-605, 2001.Dixon-Shanies D, Shaikh N. Growth inhibition of human breast cancer cells by herbs and phytoestrogens. Oncol Rep. 1999 Nov-Dec;6(6):1383-7.Bodinet C, Freudenstein J. Influence of marketed herbal menopause preparations on MCF-7 cell proliferation. Menopause. 2004 May-Jun;11(3):281-9.Kruse SO, Lohning A, Pauli GF, Winterhoff H, Nahrstedt A: Fukiic and piscidic acid esters from the rhizome of Cimicifuga racemosa and the in vitro estrogenic activity of fukinolic acid. Planta Medica 65: 763-764, 1999.