BLACK COHOSH: “The Native Americans Were Right”

Also Known As: Snake Root and Squawroot

Blood Pressure, Labor Inducer, Menopause Discomforts, Menstrual Discomforts and Prostate Cancer


Lydia E. Pinkham’s black cohosh’s compound was very popular in the 19th century. It was used to treat menstrual cramps. Pinkham’s product contained enormous amounts of alcohol. Respectable ladies did not drink liquor during the 19th century, but many of these women drank Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. A reformed version of this compound is still available today.

Black cohosh got it’s name from the color of the dark medicinal roots it has. Native American’s boiled black cohosh’s roots, added water and drank it for fatigue, sore throat, arthritis and rattle snake bites. Black cohosh plays a great role in healing menstrual cramps when used correctly.


  • Decoction:

Boil a half of teaspoon of powdered roots with one cup of water for 30 minutes. Let it cool before drinking. Has a bitter taste and an unpleasant aroma. Add lemon or mix with a beverage of your choice. Take 2 teaspoon every couple of hours equaling up to one cup a day.

  • Tincture:

Take up to one teaspoon daily.

USE: (Grow Your Own)

Black cohosh is a leafy perennial that can reach up to 9 feet. It has knotty black roots and large toothed compound leaves. The color of the flowers are white and they develop in mid summer. Sow seeds in the spring time and harvest the roots in the fall after the fruits have ripen and cut them length ways to dry.


In 1986 the FDA report dismissed black cohosh as having no therapeutic value and sent out warnings of it’s possible side effects. Other experts say the herb has many beneficial effects but some consider it too toxic to use. Meanwhile, the Germans use it to relieve many menstrual discomforts and include it in several prescription drugs to relieve menopausal discomforts.

An overdose of black cohosh can cause dizziness, light headiness, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headaches, tremors, visual dimness, joint pain and depressed heart rate. These effect may develop for some at relatively low doses. The estrogen component in this herb may act like estrogen itself and contribute to liver and abdominal problems and also blood clots. Anyone who has a heart disease condition should not use black cohosh.