Actaea racemosa, or Black Cohosh, is a flowering plant grown chiefly in southern and central North America. It is also found in Canada. The plant grows as tall as two feet and comprises of white and yellow flowering heads. However, the strongest part of the plant is in the root, which is underground. Cohosh root is a popular herbal remedy for several native groups in the Americas since centuries, and even though a large number of medicinal effects have yet to be scientifically validated, there are still many people who have used black cohosh as a natural remedy to cure ailments since ages.
It can be consumed in both its natural form as well as a dietary supplement. The plant has enjoyed good popularity in Europe since the 17th century for treating pregnancy symptoms, labor pain as well as joint pain. The use of black cohosh is also effective in the treatment of influenza, cough, headache, smallpox, acute rheumatism and a few nervous system disorders.
Where Can You Find Black Cohosh?
Black Cohosh is easily available in powdered or capsule forms at your local herbal. If you are buying it in its root form, make sure you purchase it from a well-reputed company. The best way to consume it is to pull out its roots from a fresh Black Cohosh plant, when the plant has brought the fruit. Use it after thoroughly washing the roots and cutting the top part of the plant. You can also cut the roots into small pieces for storing it easily.
For keeping it for a longer period, pat dry the roots using a clean absorbent cloth. Dry it by putting it on a rack before storing it an airtight jar. Make sure the plant’s leaves are not safe for human internal use or pets. For this reason, either discard the leaves or dry them for making a salve for inflamed and irritated skin or for treating insect bites.
9 Health Benefits of Black Cohosh
1. Digestive Health
There is a direct connection between the consumption of black cohosh with good digestive health. It increases the efficiency of nutritional intake and works to speed up the elimination process of waste products. This is why it relieves constipation and other conditions that are related to it. The herb is also beneficial for treating gastric ulcers. If you are experiencing nausea, bloating, or morning sickness, it has great qualities to reduce cramping and flatulence.
2. Restful Sleep
Apart from several other notable health benefits of black cohosh, it serves as a natural sedative. People suffering from insomnia, stress or chronic anxiety can fix their non-restful sleep patterns by using black cohosh. It guarantees a restful sleep that helps people to feel refreshed in the morning. As the natural components of black cohosh are quite potent, in order to avoid any complications, it should not be taken along with other sleep aids or medications.
3. Cures Headaches
Due to the above-mentioned mild sedative activity, the herb is also helpful in treating headaches that are caused by depression, stress or anxiety. You can consume a cup of black cohosh tea or take in the form of capsule before the onset of a serious migraine episode or headache.
4. Pain Reliever
As it is a natural analgesic, black cohosh is part of several pain-reducing products. However, it is particularly beneficial for pain management for women during painful labor contractions or a painful menstrual cycle. Moreover, it is often used by doctors when labor is not developing properly or in case of weak contractions. The use of black cohosh speeds up the birthing process by stimulating contractions and reduces the risks involved in labor and delivery.
5. Menstrual Cramps
Drinking a cup of Black Cohosh tea greatly helps relieve PMS symptoms as well as menstrual cramps. Since the herb reduces inflammation and relieves spasms and contractions, it works effectively for a less painful menstrual period. For best results, consume Black Cohosh tea a day before the beginning of your menstrual period and drink it once every day for relieving the symptoms.
Researches reveal a woman’s body fails to produce a balanced amount of estrogen and progesterone during menopause. Scientists have successfully proved the estrogenic activity of Black Cohosh efficiently relieves the symptoms of menopause by balancing the progesterone production as well as the pituitary luteinizing hormones.
Doctors recommend consuming one tablet of Black Cohosh twice a day as part of Hormone Replacement Therapy for women who are undergoing menopause. It also reduces symptoms, such as mood swings, headache, depression, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and other conditions, that are connected to menopause. Be careful, as FDA has regulated Black Cohosh only as a food and not as a drug. It is best to purchase it from trusted sources or safe distributors. Before starting its use, consult with your doctor.
7. Respiratory Problems
The astringent, decongestant and anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of Black Cohosh makes it a good remedy to treat various respiratory tract infections. These include from the common cold and flu to severe cases such as asthma. Drink up a cup of Black Cohosh tea every day and use it twice a day to see visibly better respiratory conditions.
8. Mood Swings
Black cohosh serves as a powerful mood enhancer as it balances the hormones of the body. This is evident from its positive effects for treating menstrual and menopausal issues. This hormonal potency gives the herb a stress relieving property. For anyone fighting an unexpected bout of stress of struggling to uplift his mood, black cohosh helps regulate the discharge of feel good hormones in the body for stabilizing the mental state.
9. Anti-Inflammatory Action
Black cohosh contains salicylic acid is tremendously useful because of its anti-inflammatory nature, as salicylic acid administers the same activity as that of aspirin. If your head is pounding or you find yourself with achy bones, an herbal supplement of black cohosh can relieve you instantly.
People who have arthritis can benefit from the black cohosh root, which can serve as a miraculous cure when consumed regularly. Owing to the anti-inflammatory nature of black cohosh, it is useful for balancing high blood pressure levels, curing sore throats and congestions. It acts as a vasodilator, plummeting the stress on the cardiovascular system and diminishing the chance of blood clots that lead to heart attacks.
Black Cohosh must be used for a short time as a permanent use of this herb can eventually lead to liver damage. Black Cohosh can interact with other medications and herbs. For this reason, it is strictly advised to use it under the guidance of your doctor.
Black Cohosh is not suggested to be used by people prone to sensitive hormone conditions. Likewise, people who are going through a hormonal treatment or are undergoing chemotherapy should consult the doctor before using it in any form. Pregnant or breastfeeding women or women taking oral contraceptives should also avoid using it. Unsupervised doses of Black Cohosh can cause side effects, such as vomiting, indigestion, nausea, perspiration issues and headaches.