Evidence

These uses have been tested in humans or animals.  Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven.  Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Key to grades

A
Strong scientific evidence for this use
B
Good scientific evidence for this use
C
Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D
Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F
Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)

Grading rationale

Evidence gradeCondition to which grade level applies
C

Arthritis pain

A study using black cohosh and other herbs reduced pain. Due to limited research, the effect of black cohosh on arthritis is unclear. Additional studies are needed in this area.
C

Bone density (postmenopausal women)

Studies show that black cohosh has mixed effects on bone density. More research is needed in this area.
C

Breast cancer

Research suggests that black cohosh has mixed results on breast cancer, possibly due to product variability and dosage. Additional studies are needed in this area.
C

Heart disease (postmenopausal women)

Limited research shows mixed results regarding black cohosh on cholesterol and heart disease risk. More well-designed studies involving humans are needed in this area.
C

Infertility

Available research suggests that the effect of black cohosh on infertility is unclear. Additional research is needed in this area.
C

Menopausal symptoms

Black cohosh is a popular alternative to prescription hormonal therapy for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Initial human research suggests that black cohosh may improve some of these symptoms for up to one year. However, the current evidence is mixed, and additional research needed.
C

Mental performance (postmenopausal women)

Black cohosh has not been well studied for mental performance in postmenopausal women. More research is needed in this area.
C

Migraine (menstrual)

Black cohosh may be a potential treatment for migraines associated with menstruation. Additional research on black cohosh alone is warranted.

Uses based on tradition or theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Abortifacient (induces abortion), allergies, antioxidant, antispasmodic, anxiety, aphrodisiac (increases sexual desire), appetite stimulant, asthma, astringent, back pain, breast cysts, breast enhancement, bronchitis (lung disease), cervical dysplasia (abnormal pap smear), chorea (involuntary movement disorder), cough remedy, decreased blood platelets, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, dyspareunia (pain with intercourse), edema (swelling), endocarditis (inflamed heart), endometriosis, estrogenic agent, fever, gallbladder disorders, gingivitis, heart disease/palpitations, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, hot flashes (prostate cancer), inflammation, insect repellent, itchiness, kidney inflammation, labor induction, leukorrhea (abnormal vaginal discharge), liver disease, malaise (feeling unwell), malaria, mastitis (breast inflammation), measles, menstrual disorders, muscle pain, nerve pain, nervous system disorders, pain, pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas), pertussis (whooping cough), polycystic ovarian syndrome, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), prostate cancer, rectal prolapse (weak rectal muscles), ringing in the ears, sleep disorders, snakebites, sore throat, sweating, urinary disorders, uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse (weak uterine muscles), vaginal atrophy, wrinkle prevention, yellow fever.

This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration

www.naturalstandard.com