What Are the Side Effects of Black Cohosh?

Does black cohosh really have side effects? You may think that black cohosh is safe to take, but it can be harmful to your health under conditions like......

Black cohosh is a popular alternative to hormonal therapy when treating menopausal symptoms like excessive sweating, vaginal dryness, palpitations, mood disturbances and hot flashes. While there are several studies reporting that black cohosh can improve menopausal symptoms, the evidence is still mixed. Black cohosh’s mechanism is still unclear. According to research, there may be zero effects to black cohosh on estrogen receptors, although that is subject to controversy.

What Is Black Cohosh?

Black cohosh is also called richweed, bugwort, rattleroot, black snake root, Cimicifuga racemosa, bug bane and baneberry. It is mostly used as an alternative treatment to symptoms associated with menstrual discomforts and menopause. It has also been used for hardening of arteries, high levels of cholesterol, cough and rheumatism.

Not all uses of this substance are FDA approved. You should never use black cohosh as an alternative to the medication your doctor prescribes for you.

Black cohosh is mostly sold as herbal supplement, and therefore has no regulated standards of manufacturing. That is why you should purchase herbal supplements from trusted sources.

What Are Black Cohosh Side Effects?

Black cohosh is safe when appropriately taken by an adult orally for not more than a year. Black cohosh can cause mild side effects like weight gain, vaginal bleeding or spotting, feel of heaviness, cramping headache and stomach upset.

It has also been concerned that black cohosh could be linked to liver damage. Even so, it is not clear whether black cohosh actually causes liver damage. Actually, this matter is still being researched on. Until researchers find out more, those taking black cohosh need to keep a look out for the symptoms associated to liver damage. Some of the symptoms include dark urine, unusual fatigue and yellow eyes and skin (jaundice). Should the symptoms of liver damage develop, the intake of black cohosh should be stopped and you should consult a health provider immediately. Those taking black cohosh need to consult their doctor about getting appropriate tests done to ensure that the liver is working perfectly.

If you would like more information on black cohosh and its side effects, watch this video:

How to Take Black Cohosh Properly

To prevent black cohosh side effects, you need to take black cohosh correctly. Below are some essential tips that can help you take black cohosh correctly.

1. Dosage

If you are menopausal, the black cohosh dose that is used in studies is 20 to 40 milligram tablets for an extract that is taken two times a day. If you take over 900 milligrams of black cohosh a day, then you overdose on black cohosh. Directions for taking other forms of black cohosh vary. According to some experts, people should not take black cohosh for more than 6 months at a go.

If you decide to take black cohosh, make sure you follow the directions on the package or as prescribed by your healthcare provider, pharmacist or physician. Do not take more black cohosh than is recommended on the label. To ensure that the dose you take is the correct one, take black cohosh in liquid form and measure with a dose-measuring cup or spoon or a dropper.

2. Notes

When you are considering using herbal supplements, seek medical advice. You could also consider seeking advice from a practitioner trained in the field of health/herbal supplements. Solid formulations, tinctures and standardized extracts of health/herbal supplements may give you a more reliable dose of that product. There are also some forms of black cohosh that can be brewed to make tea.

Avoid using different forms of black cohosh like teas, liquids, tablets, etc. at a go. Only do so when you have been specially directed by your healthcare provider. When you use different forms of black cohosh at a go, you are at a higher risk of overdosing.

You should also be keen so that you do not confuse blue cohosh and black cohosh. Blue cohosh is a very different herbal supplement that has potential damaging effects on your heart.

When storing black cohosh, do as directed on the package. Generally, black cohosh needs to be kept away from moisture and light.

Cautions and Risk Conditions

To better avoid black cohosh side effects, you should pay specially attention to the following conditions:

  • Breastfeeding or pregnancy: There is higher likelihood that black cohosh is UNSAFE when you take it and you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Since black cohosh is more like a female hormone, it might cause a miscarriage.
  • Breast cancer: There are concerns that black cohosh may worsen breast cancer. A woman with breast cancer or someone who previously had breast cancer and a woman with a high-risk of breast cancer should not take black cohosh.
  • Hormone-sensitive conditions: This is inclusive of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, fibroids, endometriosis and others. Black cohosh somewhat acts like estrogen in your body. There are concerns that black cohosh might worsen conditions sensitive to the female hormones. Avoid taking black cohosh if you have a condition that is affected by any female hormone. Examples of the conditions include fibroids, endometriosis, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Kidney transplant: When you take a product that contains black cohosh and alfalfa, there is a likelihood that you will be rejected for a kidney transplant. It is unknown as to whether black cohosh is the cause of the rejection. Until there is more information on this, if you have received a kidney transplant, you should avoid taking black cohosh.
  • Protein S deficiency: If you have this deficiency, you have a high risk of blood clot. Since black cohosh has hormone-like effects, there are concerns that black cohosh can also help increase the risk of blood clots. So, until there is more information on this, you should avoid taking black cohosh if you have protein deficiency.
  • Interactions: Never confuse blue cohosh with black cohosh. You should know that not all black cohosh uses are FDA approved. Do not use black cohosh as an alternative to medication prescribed by your physician.

Black cohosh is mostly used as an herbal supplement. Just like many herbal compounds, it does not have regulated standards for manufacturing. As such, there have been some supplements that were found to contain toxic metals and other drugs. Purchase health/herbal supplements from reliable sources so that you could minimize the chances of contamination and reduce as much black cohosh side effects as possible.

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