Black Cohosh

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Black cohosh is not a nutritive herb to be used long-term. This plant has specific medicinal action. Many herbalists find that taking it long-term is not advised. Because of its popularity for menopausal complaints, many women feel that it is fine to consume long-term, this is not the case. Black cohosh should only be used for up to 6 months. This suggested length of time of use would be the same for women who are choosing to use it for any sort of fertility related ailment. It is best to only choose this herb after careful evaluation and consideration. It would probably be a good idea to seek the advice of a skilled herbalist before choosing to use this plant.

For centuries, the roots of the North American black cohosh plant have been used for various ailments. Black cohosh is now a popular remedy for the symptoms of menopause. This has been especially true since the risks of a standard treatment for menopause -- hormone therapy -- were publicized more than a decade ago. Black cohosh is used as a natural remedy for a number of menopause-related symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, disturbances in mood, and vaginal dryness. In addition, black cohosh is sometimes used to treat menstrual irregularities and alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Black cohosh is most often used to control the symptoms of menopause, such as: headaches, hot flashes, sleep problems, heart palpitation, night sweats, vaginal dryness.

Uses for Fertility

Amenorhea (absent period): Black cohosh has been used for hundreds of years to help bring on a menstrual period. Aids in tone, regular function, and shedding of the uterine lining.

Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation): This plant is very anti-inflammatory and wonderful at reducing spasm in both the smooth muscles, but also the skeletal muscles associated with menstrual cramping pain that radiates to the lower back and down the thighs. It is best used a few days prior to the onset of menstruation and through menstruation, if necessary. It combines well with other herbs for pain like, Crampbark or Blackhaw.

Relief of uterine contractions associated with threatened miscarriage: While this herb is not recommended for regular use in pregnancy, it has been used successfully in some cases to prevent pre-term uterine contractions in a threatened miscarriage. It is always used in combination with other herbs to help prevent miscarriage and should never be self-prescribed for miscarriage. The success of using Black Cohosh is dosage dependent; only a skilled midwife or herbalist would be able to determine the best amount to use and what combination with other herbs is necessary.

Uterine irritability:
 For women with a uterus that feels inflamed or irritated throughout the month, Black cohosh may be an effective option in relaxing the uterus, reducing inflammation of the uterus.

Uterine and ovarian neuralgia (nerve pain): Excellent for relieving pain, shooting, pinched or inflammatory conditions causing nerve pain.

Congested pelvic conditions: Because it is an excellent anti-inflammatory herb and heart tonic, it promotes healthy blood flow to the pelvic area. Aids in healing of uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis.

Premenstrual migraine headache:
 Has been shown to greatly reduce migraine headache, best used at least 3 days prior to menstruation to help prevent migraine, but may also be used acutely to treat migraine.

Ovarian pain: Whether it be ovarian cyst pain or mittelschmerz (ovulation pain), this plant has proven to be effective at reducing ovarian pains.

Weak pelvic floor muscles, uterine prolapse: According to Susun S. Weed in her book Down There Sexual and Reproductive Health, Black cohosh tincture taken at 1 dropperful a day for 3 months will aid in toning pelvic floor muscles. This helps to reverse organ prolapse, in addition to Kegels or other pelvic floor therapies.

Estrogenic Action Debate: There have been several studies performed using Black cohosh to determine if it will increase estrogen and could therefore be a threat to estrogen fueled cancer. Initial studies suggest an estrogenic action. More recent studies have shown it has no effect on estrogen, LH, FSH, prolactin, SHGB or endometrial proliferation (increase in endometrial cells within the uterus).