Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is a plant native to North America, traditionally used by Native Americans to treat a variety of health issues. Its scientific name is Actaea racemosa. The plant is also known commonly as “black snakeroot,” “bugbane,” “rattleweed,” and “fairy candle.” In modern times, its extract is widely used for women’s health, particularly to combat symptoms related to menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats.

Relationship to Night Sweats

Black Cohosh is often recommended as a natural remedy for managing night sweats. The exact way it works is not fully understood, but it is believed that it may have a similar function as estrogen in the body. As night sweats are commonly linked to a drop in estrogen levels — a typical phenomenon in menopause, black cohosh’s function is thought to help stabilize the body’s temperature and reduce episodes of night sweats.

Common Misconceptions/Questions

A common misconception is that Black Cohosh can completely eradicate night sweats. While it may significantly reduce their frequency and severity, it might not eliminate them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Black Cohosh safe to use?

Generally, when taken in moderate doses, Black Cohosh is considered safe. However, like any supplement, it does have potential side effects, including upset stomach, headache, and in rare cases, liver damage. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

How long does it take for Black Cohosh to work?

The effects of Black Cohosh on night sweats can take a few weeks to become noticeable. However, every individual is different, and it might take longer in some cases.

Can I take Black Cohosh if I have had breast cancer?

The answer is not clear-cut. Some research suggests Black Cohosh might not increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence, but other studies have produced mixed results. If you have had breast cancer, it’s crucial to discuss this with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement.

Can men use Black Cohosh?

Though mainly used for women’s health issues, some men use Black Cohosh to treat conditions like anxiety or prostate health. However, please consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplement.

Related Terms and Additional Resource

  • Phytoestrogens : Plant-derived compounds with estrogen-like activity. They are a significant component believed to be present in Black Cohosh.
  • Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT): A treatment helping to reduce menopausal symptoms, which can include the use of natural supplements like Black Cohosh.


Fritzflohrreynolds, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons