Natural Health Products

Non-traditional solutions to help boost your health and wellness.

Black Cohosh

General Information

Black cohosh was used in Native American medicine and was used as a home remedy since the late 19th century.

Common Name(s)
black cohosh, black snakeroot, macrotys, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattleweed
Scientific Name(s)

Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa

How is this product usually used?

The stems and roots of this plant are used to make teas, capsules, pills, and liquids for oral use. The dose ranges from 40 mg to 2,400 mg of dried root per day.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Historically, this herb was used for pain or to calm the nerves. However, recently it has been used more commonly for management of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.

It has also been used for premenstrual syndrome, to induce labour, and for the management of irregular periods.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

There is conflicting evidence regarding the use of this herb for effective management of menopausal symptoms or for any of its other claimed uses.

Long-term side effects of this product beyond 6 months of use are unknown.

When taken by mouth, black cohosh may cause breast tenderness, dizziness, headache, irritability, rash, unusual tiredness, or upset stomach. Rarely reported side effect of black cohosh includes abnormal growth of the uterus lining (endometrial hyperplasia) and liver damage.

Black cohosh can interact with some medications. When taken with a cholesterol medication called atorvastatin, it may increase liver enzyme levels. It may also reduce the efficacy of a cisplatin, a medication commonly used to treat cancers.

Black cohosh may reduce the rate at which the liver breaks down certain medications which can increase the risk of liver damage. If you are taking any medications or herbal products, talk to your health care provider before using black cohosh.

If you have a liver disorder, speak to your health care provider before using this product. If you develop symptoms of liver problems (e.g., abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice), immediately stop use of this product and seek medical help from a health care provider. There have been reports of liver failure and hepatitis in women using this herb.

Black cohosh is also not recommended for people who:

  • are breast-feeding
  • are pregnant
  • have a history of hormone-related cancers or conditions such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or uterine cancer

Black cohosh should not be confused with blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). The use and side effects of blue cohosh are different than those of black cohosh.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  1. Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Black Cohosh.
  2. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Black Cohosh.
  3. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Black Cohosh.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.