Black Cohosh: A Natural Remedy for Menopause & Mood Enhancement

on Aug 05, 2023| Modified on Aug 09, 2023

Black Cohosh, scientifically known as Cimicifuga racemosa, is a plant native to North America. It's been widely used for centuries in traditional medicine, particularly by Native Americans, for a range of health issues. With the advent of modern science, the therapeutic properties of Black Cohosh are increasingly being researched and validated.

What is Black Cohosh?

Black Cohosh, a plant indigenous to North America, has captured traditional healers' and modern scientists' attention. Beyond its aesthetic beauty, this plant boasts a rich history and an array of medicinal properties.

Historical Overview

Long before the arrival of European settlers, Native Americans had identified and used Black Cohosh for its therapeutic properties. They introduced it to European colonists, who quickly adopted its use. Over time, the plant's popularity spread, and today it's recognized in both traditional and alternative medicine circles worldwide.

Botanical Characteristics

Black Cohosh is a perennial plant that can grow up to 2 meters tall. As highlighted, it is particularly known for its stunning tall white blooms. These blossoms are a visual delight and play a role in the plant's reproduction, attracting various pollinators.

The plant typically grows in woodlands and can be found on the eastern side of North America, stretching from Southern Canada to the Southern United States. It prefers shady conditions and thrives in rich, moist soils.

Medicinal Components

The roots and rhizomes of Black Cohosh are the treasure troves of its medicinal properties. They contain a unique mix of compounds, including triterpene glycosides, flavonoids, and aromatic acids. These compounds are believed to be responsible for the plant's therapeutic effects.

Traditional Uses

Historically, Native Americans used Black Cohosh for a variety of ailments. It was a remedy for everything from sore throats to snake bites. Its uses weren't just limited to physical ailments; it was believed to have spiritual properties and was used in ceremonies and rituals.

Rites of Passage

Black Cohosh was often incorporated into rites of passage for young women entering womanhood. Several rituals marked this transition, and the plant played a role in symbolizing fertility, protection, and the sacredness of womanhood.

Healing Ceremonies 

Beyond its direct medicinal uses, Black Cohosh was also used in broader healing ceremonies. Here, it wasn't just about physical healing and emotional and spiritual well-being. The plant was believed to drive away negative energies and restore balance.

Communion with Ancestors 

In certain tribes, Black Cohosh was believed to help connect with ancestral spirits. It was used in rituals intended to seek guidance or blessings from the ancestors.

Protective Talisman

Black Cohosh was also used as a protective talisman given its spiritual potency. Some Native Americans believed that having a part of the plant, often a small piece of its root, acted as a charm against evil spirits or negative energies. It was sometimes placed at entrances or carried during journeys for protection.

A Medium for Spiritual Communication

Black Cohosh was also considered a plant that could enhance spiritual communication in some traditions. Shamans or tribal healers would use the plant through consumption or as part of their ceremonial tools to heighten their senses and connect with the spiritual realm. This helped in divination, dream interpretation, and understanding omens.

Over the years, as more was understood about the plant, its primary use in Western medicine centered around women's health, especially in relieving menopausal and menstrual symptoms. However, its application in traditional medicine remains diverse.

Health Benefits of Black Cohosh

Menopause Relief

When it comes to natural remedies for managing menopause symptoms, Black Cohosh frequently tops the list.

The exact mechanism by which Black Cohosh exerts its effects remains a topic of research, but several theories exist:

  • Estrogenic Effects: Some studies suggest that Black Cohosh may have phytoestrogenic properties, meaning it contains compounds that mimic estrogen's effects in the body. Doing so might help offset the decline in natural estrogen levels seen during menopause.

  • Serotonin Regulation: Another theory posits that Black Cohosh influences serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood and temperature regulation. By modulating serotonin pathways, Black Cohosh could help manage hot flashes and mood-related symptoms.

Clinical Evidence

Several clinical trials have explored the efficacy of Black Cohosh in treating menopausal symptoms:

  • Hot Flashes: Multiple studies have shown a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes among women who took Black Cohosh compared to those who took a placebo.

  • Mood Swings and Depression: Preliminary research indicates that Black Cohosh might be beneficial in reducing mood swings and depressive symptoms associated with menopause.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Some women have reported improved sleep quality after using Black Cohosh supplements, which can be particularly beneficial given the prevalence of insomnia during menopause.

It's worth noting that while many studies support the benefits of Black Cohosh, results can vary, and more extensive research is needed.

Recommended Dosage

The recommended dosage of Black Cohosh can vary depending on the product and individual needs. Typically, standard doses range from 20mg to 80mg daily, with many supplements offering around 40mg of Black Cohosh extract. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Combination with Other Herbs

Black Cohosh is sometimes combined with other herbs that support women's health, like red clover, dong quai, or chaste berry. These combinations aim to provide a more comprehensive approach to managing menopausal symptoms.

Menstrual Discomfort

Apart from menopausal relief, Black Cohosh can also be beneficial for younger women. It may alleviate menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms, making the menstrual cycle more manageable for many.

Arthritis and Muscle Pain Relief

Black Cohosh has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate pain caused by inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Additionally, some people use it as a natural remedy for muscle pain and soreness.

Sleep Aid

Black Cohosh has sedative effects that can promote better sleep. It's sometimes used as a natural remedy for insomnia, especially if it's associated with menopause.

Mood Enhancer

Preliminary studies have shown that Black Cohosh may have an effect on mood. Its potential anti-depressant qualities make it a natural option for those looking to boost their mood or alleviate mild depression symptoms.

Some clinical observations have shown a positive response in patients with mild to moderate depression when treated with Black Cohosh, especially when depression is linked to menstrual or hormonal changes.

Potential Side Effects of Black Cohosh

While Black Cohosh offers numerous health benefits, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects.

Digestive Issues

Some people might experience stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea when consuming Black Cohosh.

Weight Gain

Though rare, a few users have reported mild weight gain after taking Black Cohosh.

Liver Concerns

There have been isolated reports of liver damage associated with Black Cohosh usage. If you experience symptoms like jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), it's essential to consult a healthcare professional.

Allergic Reactions

Like any herbal remedy, some individuals may be allergic to Black Cohosh. Signs of an allergic reaction include rashes, difficulty breathing, and swelling.

Interactions with Other Medications

Black Cohosh may interact with certain medications for blood pressure, liver conditions, or hormonal therapies.

Continue reading below to learn how Earth Clinic readers have used Black Cohosh for various symptoms. Please let us know if you have tried it!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Kathy (Idaho Falls, Idaho) on 01/08/2014

I figured out my swelling ankles and legs was caused by a combination of high blood pressure and hormone imbalance. Since I started going through menopause the problem got much worse. I found the combination of reducing salt intake, taking a supplement for the hormone imbalance which contains black cohosh and even taking straight black cohosh helps tremendously) and getting plenty of exercise has helped so much. The only time I really have the problem now is when I have the monthly monster . Good luck to you all!

Hot Flashes

3 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
3 star (1) 

Posted by Tonya (Canyon Lake, Texas ) on 09/21/2022

When I was young (I'm 70 now) and going through hot flashes, a kind neighbor told me to try black cohosh, I got some capsules at the store and took one each morning... I never suffered hot flashes or night sweats again. I hope this works well for you as it did for me.

Hot Flashes
Posted by Heather (Nj) on 05/22/2021


Yes, black cohosh worked within 4 days but the only issue for me was I only four weeks of relief from this supplement & went right back to the hot flashes. I haven't found any miracle vitamins to help more than a few weeks out to 2 months relief..

I can not go on hormone replacement because the cancer risk is way too high for me.

Replied by Hitesh

Hi have a look at this video by Barbra O'neil, it may help with hormonal imbalance issues.

My 10 year old daughter was feeling hot ALL the time and after trying 'Wild Yam cream' she started feeling a bit more normal within a month.


I took black cohosh for a few years in my 50's and never had a hot flash or any other menopausal symptoms.

Interstitial Cystitis

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by L (Florida, Usa) on 10/26/2013

Wanted to share my story in the hopes it will help someone the past I have been prone to uti or bladder or kidney infections...a trip to the doctor and Cipro would usually take care of it. This time I felt as if an infection was coming on, but it never did. Had my urine tested twice and no bacteria. I felt the urge to pee constantly, and though it was not painful, it was VERY uncomfortable. All day, everyday, feeling like I had to pee even after I had just gone. Slight twinge or ache in either kidney but nothing painful or particularly noticeable. Had CT scan to rule out kidney stones; had bladder scope to rule out anything else. With those and the urinalysis coming back ok, urologist, for lack of coming up with any other diagnosis, said it must be IC. Said to watch my diet and avoid coffee and alcohol and look it up on-line to see what foods were ok to have, etc. Came to this site and read everything that's been posted on IC. Made my lists and decided to try things one at a time. I could live with this feeling but didn't want to as it is a terrible thing to always have to feel like you need to pee.

Nothing helped until I tried Black Cohosh. Bought it at a health food store. It also has Isoflavones. I got it at work on my lunch hour and figured I had nothing to lose. So I took one after my lunch, about 1pm, to see how it would react. The urgency was gone within 30 minutes. Then again about 4pm I took another one. I had a night of relief from this terrible feeling for the first time in three weeks. In retrospect I would not take any after noon going forward as I do believe it kept me up taking one so late in the day. Today I will take one in the morning and one at lunch. I don't know if this is my answer, but I do know that I felt normal for the first time yesterday afternoon. Will keep you posted.

Replied by L
(Florida, Usa)

Black Cohosh for Interstitial Cystitis - Update

Following up on my previous post...good news! I took the Black Cohosh for 4 days, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and have not had to take any since! I am back to normal and that is a wonderful feeling. We are all unique and what works for one may not work for another, but this has been my Godsend. Blessings to all of you as you search for what works for you!

Labor and Delivery

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Brigitte (Houston, Texas) on 01/11/2008

Labor and delivery-Black Kohosh: Only use this product a week and a half or at the earliest, two weeks before delivery if used before this time it can induce premature labor; but when used as described here, it helps to strenghten the uterine wall to facilitate an easier and less stressful labor and delivery. I suggest that an expecting mother take one herbal supplement with each meal. IE, one at breakfast, one at lunch and one at dinner. Continue this regiment until you finally deliver your baby. One added benefit to this herbal remedy resides in the fact that you will not experience the excrutiating pains similar to contractions that are felt when you are nursing the child post natal. You may feel minor discomfort but, thank God, it is nothing like the pain you will endure if you do nothing at all. I am speaking from experience when I tell you this works.

Sjogren's Syndrome

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Diamond (Ma., US) on 11/22/2014

Black Cohosh for Sjogren's

I have used a natural remedy for over twenty years-called black cohosh, it has been a God send for all these years. As for dry eyes, it's just the greatest, it also supports the whole system. Black Cohosh can be bought in almost any drug store and some of the leading stores. I thought I would add an extra alternative for many others to use. Good Luck...

Temperature Regulation

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Grace (Bellevue) on 05/31/2017

I did both, stopped all sugar, gluten and took black cohosh twice a day at first and I no longer felt warm. I never really had hot flashes, just felt warmer than usual which felt uncomfortable to me. I now prefer the indoor temperature to be 67-68.