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Black cohosh: uses and benefits

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The menopause supplement that will help you get through this challenging time of life.

🕒 3 min read

Native to the US and Canada, black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), also known as squaw root, is a wildflower with long, creamy flower stalks. Its rhizome (underground stem) and roots are used to treat menopausal symptoms.

What can it help?

Menopause can be a distressing and disruptive time for many women. Black cohosh is traditionally used to help relieve female hormone imbalances that cause menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability and restlessness.

Hot flushes

The results from seven clinical trials, involving more than 1,000 perimenopausal women aged 40 to 60 years old, found that black cohosh extracts produced a significant improvement in menopausal symptoms. On average, symptoms were reduced by 26 per cent when compared with a placebo, a highly impressive result.

Night sweats

Black cohosh has been shown to alleviate night sweats (an annoying symptom associated with hot flushes during sleep) in some women. In those with menopause-associated sleep disturbances, it also helped improve the amount of time they spent asleep.

Mood swings

Black cohosh is used to treat mood changes associated with menopause, such as anxiety, nervous irritability and restlessness. A recent review found that natural treatments such as black cohosh have positive outcomes with fewer adverse effects compared with conventional medications, and are useful in relieving menopausal anxiety.

When black cohosh was used with St John’s wort, the improvement was 33 per cent greater than that seen with placebo.

How does it work?

Early studies suggested that black cohosh may contain oestrogen-like plant hormones (phytoestrogens). However, rather than having an oestrogen-like action, it is thought to help relieve hormone imbalances and lift mood through a direct action on the brain.

It may also influence blood vessels to reduce hot flushes and sweating, and has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effects.

How much should I take?

Licensed products typically contain 6.5mg of dried black cohosh rhizome and root extract (equivalent to 29.25mg to 55.25mg of black cohosh). The usual dosage for menopausal symptoms is one tablet daily, swallowed whole with water or another liquid. Ideally, aim to take the tablet at the same time of day (for example, morning or evening). This will even out the effects.

Black Cohosh Menopause Relief pack

Black Cohosh Menopause Relief

Traditional Herbal Medicine (THR) for menopause symptoms

  • Traditionally used to help relieve menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings
  • Registered Traditional Herbal Medicine, regulated by the MHRA
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Available forms

Tablets, capsules, tincture, tea.


Black cohosh undergoes safety and quality testing enforced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.


Black cohosh should only be used by women of child-bearing age if contraception is used. Do not use it during pregnancy, and consult your doctor before taking black cohosh if you have a history of liver problems, hepatitis or cirrhosis.

Perfect partners

St John's wort helps to improve psychological and physical symptoms of menopause including hot flushes, low mood, anxiety, low sex drive and exhaustion. Women taking it report increased self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect.

Sage leaf also helps to improve mood, alertness and calmness. The mood-lifting effect is believed to result from enhancing the effects of natural neurotransmitters in the brain. It comes from the Mediterranean but is easily grown in the UK.

Soy isoflavones are mostly consumed in an inactive form. They are activated by beneficial bacteria within the bowel, so maximise their benefits by taking a probiotic supplement. Isoflavones are found naturally in soybeans, tofu and edamame beans.

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