The Herb Black Cohosh


    Women have relied on one herb, black cohosh, for centuries. This herb grows on the bottom of temperate forests in North America. Distinctive leaves and flowers make it possible to identify black cohosh in the wild. The roots of black cohosh are used in herbal black cohosh preparations. Previous generations took herbal black cohosh remedies for gynecological disorders, lung conditions, nervous disorders, and various other conditions. Black cohosh is a very helpful herb.

Identifying Herbal Black Cohosh
    Black cohosh has two ranges. In the west, it is found in Oregon and Washington. In the east, it is found from Wisconsin to Arkansas and from southern Ontario to Georgia. Black cohosh lives in moist shady parts of the forest ground. This perennial herb grows 3 to 8 feet tall. The small white flowers grow  on racemes that are 1 to 3 feet long. When in bloom, the racemes look feathery. The green leaves of this herb have three lobes, with the middle lobe being the largest. The edges of the leaves are toothed. Black cohosh roots branch rapidly from the base of the stem.

Using Herbal Black Cohosh
    Black cohosh roots are the potent part of this herb. After harvesting, the roots are cured at 100F to 140F. They can be stored in burlap sacks in an unheated warehouse. The roots can be ground into a pounder and taken as a supplement. They can also be processed into an extract with alcohol or vegetable glycerin. The effectiveness of herbal black cohosh can vary depending on how it is processed.
    Herbal black cohosh has many traditional uses. Native Americans took herbal black cohosh for menstrual irregularities, menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms. Pregnant women should avoid black cohosh, because it stimulates the uterus. Native Americans believed that black cohosh helped with malaise, kidney disorders, backaches, rheumatism, colds, coughs, sore throats, malaria, hives, and constipation. Early Americans followed the Native American tradition of using herbal black cohosh. It was a popular 19th Century remedy under the name " macrotys". Patients took herbal clack cohosh for gynecological problems such as menstrual irregularities, neurological conditions such as chorea, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis. They also took it as a diuretic and to take care of fevers and rheumatism.
    Black cohosh is a North American herb. Black cohosh grows in forests from Great Lakes region to the American South, and in the Pacific Northwest. This herb can be identified by its flowers, leaves, and roots. Black cohosh roots have been an herbal remedy for generations. The Native Americans used herbal black cohosh for gynecological problems and other ailments. Nineteenth Century Americans had similar uses for herbal black cohosh.

Conditions Traditionally Addressed with  thel Black Cohosh Herb
Native American    Menopausal Symptoms, Menstrual Irregularities, Menstrual Cramps, Malaise, Kidney Disorders, Colds, Coughs, Sore Throats, Backaches, Rheumatism, Malaria, Constipation, and Hives
19th Century American    Gynecological Problems, Neurological Conditions, Respiratory Conditions, Fevers, and Rheumatism

1. Peterson Field Guide to Easter/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James A. Duke.
2. The Herb and Spice Companion by Marcus A. Webb and Richard Craze.
3. Black Cohosh Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health.
4. Black Cohosh. Non-timber Forest Products. Virginia Tech.
5.  Lane Labs Website

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