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Black Cohosh Root

Smita Pandit
Black cohosh is a perennial plant that belongs to the buttercup family. This write-up provides information on the therapeutic properties of its root.
The botanical name of black cohosh is Actaea racemosa or Cimicifuga racemosa. This plant is native to North America. The Native Americans used this herb to treat gynecological problems and several other ailments. The root powder or extract is believed to provide relief to women from hot flashes during perimenopause and menopause.
It is believed that its effect is due to its phyto-estrogenic properties. Several herbalists and practitioners of alternative medicine recommend the use of this herb to prevent miscarriages.

Components of This Herb

Some clinical studies have confirmed the estrogenic properties of this herb. The main constituents of this herb include:
Triterpene glycosides
Cinnamic acid derivatives
Salicylic acid
Fatty acids
Aromatic acids
Its therapeutic properties are mainly attributed to triterpene glycosides and isoflavones.

Health Benefits

This herb is available in the form of powder, extract, capsules and tincture. You can also buy a dried root from a herbal store. The root of this herb has been used for treating gynecological disorders, kidney disorders, sore throat, rattlesnake bites, malaria, and rheumatism by the Native Americans.
The root extract and herbal tea might prove beneficial in treating menopausal symptoms such as irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, loss of sexual drive, weight gain, and insomnia. These symptoms are caused due to the dip in the levels of estrogen and increased luteinizing hormone (LH) secretions. Since this herb regulates the level of estrogen, it helps in easing the discomfort. It can also be used as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy.
It is believed that this herb helps in inducing lactation, menstruation and labor contractions. It also helps in post-partum recovery. It is also used for treating PMS, hormonal imbalances, bleeding irregularities, vaginal dryness, uterine and ovarian pain, stress, muscle cramping, and hypertension.
Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, it might also help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis to some extent. It might also work like a mild sedative and can be used to treat headaches that are caused due to depression, stress, or anxiety.
This herb is also known for its antibacterial properties and can therefore, help in relieving the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as cold, nasal congestion, asthma, bronchitis, and sinus infections. If you have recurring sinus infections, drinking a cup of tea made from this herb might help in giving you relief.

Side Effects

It must be noted that there isn't conclusive evidence to prove this herb's therapeutic abilities in treating many conditions. Though this herb is supposed to be very beneficial in treating reproductive problems in women, it could also cause side effects such as headaches, indigestion, vomiting, low blood pressure, nausea, and heavy feeling in the legs.
An overdose can cause complications, therefore, it is important to consult a doctor regarding the dosage. It has also been associated with hepatotoxicity and acute liver failure. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should refrain from taking this herb.
Those who plan to use this herb must do so, only under the guidance of a certified herbal practitioner or medical expert. An overdose can cause serious problems, which is why, one needs to take it as per the prescribed dosage.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this Story is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a certified herbal practitioner or medical expert.