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 in 2002.
Why do people take black cohosh?
Black cohosh is most often used to control the symptoms of menopause, such as:
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
- Sleep problems
- Heart palpitations
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
Some studies have found evidence that black cohosh does help with these symptoms. However, many experts consider the evidence unclear and say that we need more research.
Other uses of black cohosh have less scientific support. Women sometimes take it to regulate periods, ease PMS symptoms, and induce labor. Black cohosh has also been used to relieve arthritis pain and help lower blood pressure. There are some preliminary laboratory studies showing that black cohosh may be useful in preventing or treating prostate cancer. Definitive research has not verified black cohosh's effectiveness for these uses.