Black Cohosh

 

What is Black Cohosh ?

Black cohosh has been a very popular herb used in alleviating the unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause, including irregular cycles and menstrual cramps. This herbal plant has also been employed in treating sore throat, high blood pressure, constipation, arthritis, indigestion, hives and common colds.  But more importantly, it has now become a widely-accepted substitute for hormone replacement therapy as well as a means to induce labor.

Black cohosh is primarily used in treating women’s gynecological issues, but the herb has also been found useful in treating a number of problems affecting men, such as arthritis. It also helps in preventing the inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It should be remembered, however, that it is still important to seek the doctor’s advice before taking this valuable herb.

History of Black Cohosh

The use of black cohosh for medicinal purposes dates back to the 19th century when the North American Indians utilized it for treating malaria, kidney disorders and gynecological problems. The herb was also made use of in treating snake bites, fever, insomnia, and sometimes, cardiovascular diseases. Despite the effectiveness of black cohosh in addressing various illnesses, it is highly recommended to take it only under a doctor’s advice and supervision due to the potential serious side effects it may give rise to.

Health Benefits of Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is used for a variety of applications:

  • The herb has anti-inflammatory properties which enable it to provide effective treatment for arthritis and osteoarthritis and muscle pains.
  • The chemical phytoestrogen found in black cohosh is truly effective in treating some menopausal symptoms by alleviating the conditions related to estrogen deficiency.
  • A recent study found that a bioactive compound found in black cohosh, the ACCX or 25-acetylcimigenol xylopyranoside, is remarkably effective in blocking osteoporosis development.

Black Cohosh for Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are characterized as a burning sensation on the chest, face and neck, leaving a woman with chills and sweating abundantly. They occur as a result of hormonal changes during menopause. Hot flashes may happen several times in a day or week, and are often associated with vaginal dryness and mood swings. Hot flashes are among the myriad of women’s reproductive problems that can be treated by black cohosh.

Black Cohosh for Inducing Labor

Black cohosh is sometimes used to induce labor when pregnancy complications arise or when the woman is beyond her due date. This herbal plant has been considered as a safe natural alternative for inducing labor.  The plant’s estrogen-like compound known as phytoestrogen stimulates oxytocin production which in turn stimulates labor. But the application of this herbal plant in inducing labor should be taken cautiously. The physician’s advice for proper dosage is necessary so as not to jeopardize the wellbeing of both the mother and the child.

Side Effects of Black Cohosh

Overconsumption of black cohosh may result in miscarriage due to intense uterine contractions. Postpartum hemorrhage and prolonged bleeding may also be experienced, and combining them with other herbs may cause neurological problems to the baby.  The herb may also give rise to endometrial cancer, breast cancer as well as liver damage. It may also interact with chemo drugs and can cause weight problems.

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