Pros and Cons of Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is a rather popular plant with women. It has been used through the centuries for various conditions women suffer from, and seems to offer some relief. Here are the good and bad sides of this herb.

Pros: The plant contains a phytochemical similar to estrogen. Many studies indicate that it can be useful for women dealing with perimonpause and menopause. Hot flashes, in particular, seem to be effected by this plant.

Preliminary studies indicate that black cohosh could help prevent bone loss or osteoporosis. More studies are being done to prove or disprove this idea.

Arthritis is another area that the plant could improve. It may help reduce swelling for both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. This is even better if it is mixed with other herbs such as willow, sarsaparilla and poplar bark. Like osteoporosis, more studies need to be done.

Cons: One of the biggest cons falls under hormone related cancers and other coditions. This includes breast cancer and that of the reproductive organs. Because it has an estrogen like substance, it is possible that it could increase your risk of this type of cancer. It may also increase the risk of endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

There is some danger of liver damage from black cohosh. If you have or are at risk for liver disease, you may want to avoid it. If you’ve had a kidney transplant, black cohosh could be dangerous. The damage seems to come when it is mixed with alfalfa. As the sprouts are now being added to salads and sandwiches, you may not always know if you have consumed any.

Black cohosh has been recommended for pregnant women who wish to encourage labor to begin or to get through it faster. This is not a good idea, as the estrogen content could cause harm.

I haven’t seen this listed on any of the sites I’ve read, but I can tell you that sensitive people can have a nasty reaction to it. I had hives from scalp to toenails and it was not a pleasant experience.

There are also several drug/herb interactions with this plant. You should always check with your doctor and pharmacist before taking this or any other supplement. As you can tell by what you’ve read, you should make doubly sure to do so if you have any medical problem or you take any medications.

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