What is Black Cohosh?
Black Cohosh is an unusual looking plant, with leaves up to a metre long, a thick knotted root system and protruding rhizomes from the ground. It has numerous alternate names based on its similarity to a snake, including Black Snake Root, Rattle Root and Rattle Weed.
Where Does Black Cohosh Come From?
Black Cohosh is native to Northern America and Canada. The roots were used by native Americans to treat a range of symptoms, including gynecological problems and depression.
Black Cohosh Benefits
Black Cohosh is most well known for its ability to reduce the vasomotor symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. There are in fact dozens of studies that have produced positive results in this field, although there quality could be disputed. Despite this reputation, it generally has fairly limited interactions with hormones. In fact, it may actually reduce circulating estrogen, possibly reducing the incidence of breast cancer.
Black Cohosh Benefits for Bodybuilding
One study indicates a possible appetite suppressive effect of Black Cohosh, but further research has yet to be done.
Side Effects, Safety & Negatives of Black Cohosh
Despite widespread reports of liver damage associated with use, there has been no link or studies proving this. However, it is possible that some products were tainted with other herbs or ingredients that could cause liver damage. There are other side effects associated with its use though, including headaches and dizziness, gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and nausea, and low blood pressure and slowing of the heartbeat.
The studies that prove the menopausal benefits of Black Cohosh, although large in number, can be fairly poor in quality. There is a significant lack of blinded studies, and the placebo effect is known to influence these symptoms. In addition, a fair number are industry funded or confound the results with other herbal products.
Black Cohosh Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing
Generally 20-40mg is taken, once or twice daily, dependent on dose. This should contain 1-2mg of triterpenoid glycosides, based on the most commonly available supplement.
Black Cohosh Supplements
Black Cohosh is available in capsule or tablet form, as a stand alone supplement. It is often included in multivitamins designed for older women.
Stacking Black Cohosh
There may be similar effects with St Johns Wort, however a study has yet to prove any synergism with the compound. Black Cohosh can be stacked with all other supplements, and may compliment a general multivitamin.