Black Cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa
Other Names: American Baneberry, Black
snakeroot, Bugbane, Bugwort, Cimicifuga,
Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Squawroot
Black Cohosh is endangered and should be
cultivated. Do not harvest from the wild.
Photos by Karen Bergeron Copyright
2006. Permission required to use any herb
pictures from this site.
Black Cohosh Herb Uses and Medicinal Properties
Black Cohosh has a long history of use by
Native Americans and as an alternative medicine
by early settlers. It was used mainly to
treat painful periods and problems associated
with the menopause, used in conjunction with
St. John’s Wort it has proven to be
effective in treating hot flushes and other
menopausal problems. Black Cohosh is believed
to be useful for treating a range of other
complaints; including tinnitus and high blood
pressure. The fresh flowers have a strong odor
and are effective insect repellents.
Black Cohosh contains Acetic-acid, Actein,
Ascorbic-acid, Butyric-acid, Cimicifugin,
Formononetin, Gallic-acid, Isoferulic-acid,
Oleic-acid, Palmitic-acid, Salicylic-acid, and
Tannic-acid. It is a powerful cardiac stimulant
and has a sedative effect on the nervous
system. Research has shown that Black
Cohosh root has estrogenic activity and reduces
levels of pituitary luteinizing hormone,
thereby decreasing the ovaries production of
progesterone. Used as an alterative, antidote,
antispasmodic, astringent, birthing aid,
cardio-tonic, diaphoretic, diuretic,
emmenagogue (to promote menstruation),
expectorant, hypnotic, tonic and to treat
CAUTION: Large doses can cause poisoning.
Black Cohosh is a native North American
perennial herb, found from southern Canada to
the Appalachian Mountains and as far south as
Georgia and Missouri. It grows mostly on
hillsides and in open woods in moist rich soil.
Black Cohosh grows to about 8 feet tall and
bears a handsome long plumb of white flowers
from June to August. The leaves are pinnate and
compound with irregular tooth leaflets. The
rootstock is knotty and scared with old growth.
The rhizome of the root is black and rough,
Cohosh is a Native American word for rough,
hence Black Cohosh.
How to Grow Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is a hardy perennial in shaded
areas to zone 3. Grow in shaded areas,
requires watering to thrive. Sow seed 1/4 inch
below soil surface in a flat in the late
Summer. Plant in rich, moist ground in Spring.
Easily propagated by division. Black Cohosh
prefers humus rich soil, like that found in the
woods. It will self sow its seed and can grow
into big patches under the right conditions.
Black Cohosh Seed
Folklore and History
Black Cohosh root was used by Native Americans
to treat snake bite and as a ceremonial herb to
bring visions. The root was thought by some
early American settlers to be the main
ingredient in witches brew, and any female
caught with it in her possession was burned as
Gather Black Cohosh rootstock in the fall after
the fruit has formed. Wash roots carefully,
blot with paper towel or absorbent cloth. Dry
in a well ventilated area away from smoke, pets
and pests, preferably on wire racks.
Black Cohosh Decoction: Add 2 tsp. dried
rootstock to 1 pint of water, boil and let
cool. Give 2 to 3 tbsp. up to six times a day.
Black Cohosh Tincture: Soak 2 to 3 oz. powdered
rootstock in 8 to 12 oz. Vodka for 3 weeks
shaking the jar 1 or 2 times a day. Strain,
give 5 drops 3 to 4 times a day.
Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron
Extracts and Tinctures with Black
Cohosh, click here
Black Cohosh Links
Botanical.com : Black
American Cancer Society
Black Cohosh Fact Sheet
Black Cohosh: Nature’s
Gale Encyclopedia of
Alternative Medicine : Black cohosh
Black Cohosh: A Medical
Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated
Research Guide to Internet References
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