Possible Side Effects of Black Cohosh


    Black cohosh is a popular herb among postmenopausal women, but some women  can suffer from possible side effects of black cohosh. Some experts believe black cohosh could impact the liver in rare instances. Women who are at risk for breast or uterine concerns may want to consult with a health professional before taking black cohosh.  Others believe black cohosh may trigger allergies in certain cases. As with any herb, black cohosh has possible risk of side effects in certain populations, although there is disagreement among experts in the field as to the extent.

Possible Liver Side Effects of Black Cohosh
    Of the millions of women who use black cohosh, a few have reportedly developed liver conditions. Experts generally recommend discontinuing use and consulting a healthcare practitioner if you develop the liver-related symptoms while taking black cohosh. Extreme symptoms can include abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice.


Possible Gynecological Side Effects of Black Cohosh
    Researchers do not fully know how black cohosh works. Some biologists believe that black cohosh alters the level of certain reproductive hormones. A few studies suggest that black cohosh mimics estrogen. If that is true - and suppliers of black cohosh argue otherwise -- women who are at risk for breast or uterine concerns may wish to consult with a professional before considering black cohosh. Similar guidance would be given to women with endometrial cell concerns. Some research suggests that black cohosh can be associated vaginal bleeding as a possible side effect. Generally, black cohosh is not recommended  for  pregnant or nursing women or children under 18. When in doubt, talk to your doctor.

Possible Other Side Effects of Black Cohosh
    Black cohosh can possibly cause a reaction in people who are allergic to plants in the buttercup family.  Some believe black cohosh may be associated with headaches, upset stomachs, dizziness, perspiration, or visual disturbances. Some people taking black cohosh in studies have experienced constipation, intestinal discomforts, loss of bone mass, low blood pressure, nausea, muscle problems and vomiting. Heaviness in the legs has also been reported. People with circulatory concerns may wish to consult with a health professional before taking black cohosh. Similar advice would apply to women taking birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, sedatives, or blood pressure medication because of possible interactions.

    Like any herb, black cohosh can cause side effects. These may well be isolated cases. It must be reiterated that black cohosh has been a popular natural supplement, safely used for decades by women. The possible side effects of black cohosh include liver or gynecological concerns and allergic reactions. Other rarer side effects can occur. Certain women have an increased risk of these side effects. Talk to a health care provider before taking black cohosh if you have any reservations. Make sure you understand the possible side effects of black cohosh first.

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. Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide. WebMD.
5. Black Cohosh. Mayo Clinic.

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