The roots of black cohosh have been used since years to treat certain medical conditions of menopause, kidney issues, joint inflammation, malaria etc. Earlier, it was also used to treat snake bites, nervous disorders and uterus issues etc but today, it’s use has been mainly limited to treat menopausal symptoms. we will discuss the uses, side effects, interactions and dosage of black cohosh for women.
A Guide for Black Cohosh Herb for Women
What is black cohosh used for?
Most often, it is used to control the menopause symptoms. These include:
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
- Problem in sleeping
- Heart palpitations
Apart from this, it is also used by women to regulate periods, induce labor and ease PMS symptoms. This has been proven true for most women whereas, a lot of experts still consider the evidences as unclear.
Uses of black cohosh for women
As per the research, black cohosh products are likely to reduce the menopausal symptoms. However, most of this research has been specifically on a black cohosh product, Remifemin. A lot of women have been taking back cohosh for lessening the hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
As per a study, taking black cohosh supplements can reduce the risk of breast cancer. On the same side, black cohosh is also linked with increased survival in women who are already diagnosed with breast cancer. But there hasn’t been enough research and thus, we do not have sufficient evidence in relation to this. So, it is better to consult your doctor first.
Taking black cohosh in addition to clomiphene citrate can increase the pregnancy rates in infertile women as compared to taking clomiphene citrate alone, as per some early research. But according to other research, taking black cohosh with clomiphene citrate are likely to provide same results as those when clomiphene is taken with any other fertility drug.
It has been believed by some people that black cohosh can help induce labor. Black cohosh is used by nearly 45% of midwives to start labor in pregnant women. But we do not have any reliable scientific research to support this.
According to the research, postmenopausal women are likely to get an increased mark of bone formation on taking a specific black cohosh product (CR BNO 1055, Kilmadynon/Menofem, Bionorica AG) for a period of 12 weeks. And regarding reduced risk of bone fractures due to black cohosh products, it is still not well known.
Side effects of black cohosh
Pregnancy or breastfeeding
Black cohosh is considered to be possibly unsafe and is thus not recommended to women during pregnancy or breastfeeding. This is because black cohosh somewhat acts like a female hormone and thus, the chances of miscarriage can also increase.
Since, black cohosh acts like estrogen to some extent, so it is likely to deteriorate the hormone-sensitive conditions, including ovarian cancer, endometriosis, uterine cancer, fibroids and others. Thus, highly avoid black cohosh if you have any such condition.
Protein S deficiency
People suffering from a deficiency of protein S have higher risk of blood clots and hormone-like effects of black cohosh also contribute to the same condition. this, people with protein S deficiency should highly avoid black cohosh.
How much black cohosh should one take?
In studies, the dose of black cohosh has been 20-40 milligram tablets of standardized extract twice a day, to control the menopausal symptoms. Whereas, 900 milligrams of black cohosh a day is considered as an overdose. However, taking this in other forms will obviously differ. And as per the experts, you should not take black cohosh for more than six months at a time.
There is a concern that taking black cohosh with atorvastatin (Lipitor) with black cohosh leads to an increase in the chances of liver damage. Although there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support this. But you should always consult your doctor before taking one.
This is used in the treatment of cancer. It is believed that taking cisplatin with black cohosh can decrease the effectiveness of medicine for treating cancer. Thus, highly avoid it.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates)
The liver changes and breaks down certain medications. However, if you take black cohosh along with them, the process of breaking down gets slower and the effects and side effects of the medications also increase. Always consult your doctor in case you are on any such medications.
Natural supplements to avoid while taking black cohosh
- ginkgo biloba
- evening primrose oil
- saw palmetto
- willow bark
- blue cohosh
- chaste-tree berries
- John’s Wart
Risks associated with black cohosh
Although black cohosh is used to induce labor but even then, it is not recommended to be taken by pregnant women in the first or second trimester. This can otherwise lead to complications such as seizures, breathing problems in infants, kidney damage.
Other than pregnancy, gastrointestinal discomfort is one of the most commonly reported side effects from taking black cohosh. Nausea, headaches, dizziness, giddiness are also pretty common. In fact, black cohosh may also have an affect on the estrogen in the female body. Thus, you should be extremely careful when coming to it usage.
Make sure that you consult your doctor before you decide to take black cohosh. More importantly, avoid all the medications and other natural supplements that may interact with black cohosh to avoid any side effects.