Black cohosh is an herb that grows in North America. It has been used to treat symptoms of menopause. It can be taken as an extract, pill, or powder.
20 milligrams 1 to 2 times per day
What Research Shows
May Be Effective
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It may be safe to take black cohosh for a short time. Some evidence suggests that black cohosh may cause liver damage. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Black cohosh can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:
A1. Shahin AY, Mohammed SA. Adding the phytoestrogen Cimicifugae racemosae to clomiphene induction cycles with timed intercourse in polycystic ovary syndrome improves cycle outcomes and pregnancy rates-a randomized trial. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2014;30(7):505-510.
B1. Shams T, Setia MS, et al. Efficacy of black cohosh-containing preparations on menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis. Altern Ther Health Med. 2010;16(1):36-44.
B2. Leach MJ, Moore V. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Sep 12;(9):CD007244.
B3. Ross SM. Menopause: a standardized isopropanolic black cohosh extract (remifemin) is found to be safe and effective for menopausal symptoms. Holist Nurs Pract. 2012;26(1):58-61.
B4. Schellenberg R, Saller R, et al. Dose-dependent effects of the cimicifuga racemosa extract ze 450 in the treatment of climacteric complaints: A randomized, placebo-controlled study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:260301.
B5. Zheng TP, Sun AJ, et al. Efficacy and safety on Cimicifuga foetida extract on menopausal syndrome in Chinese women. Chin Med J. 2013;126(11):2034-2038.
B6. Jiang K, Jin Y, et al. Black cohosh improves objective sleep in postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance. Climacteric. 2015;18(4):559-567.
B7. Tanmahasamut P, Vichinsartvichai P, et al. Cimicifuga racemosa extract for relieving menopausal symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Climacteric. 2015 Feb;18(1):79-85.
C1. Yeung KS, Hernandez M, Mao JJ, Haviland I, Gubili J. Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho-oncologic relevance. Phytother Res. 2018 May;32(5):865-891.
D1. Teschke R, Bahre R, et al. Suspected black cohosh hepatotoxicity--challenges and pitfalls of causality assessment. Maturitas. 2009 Aug 20;63(4):302-314.
D2. Teschke R, Bahre R, et al. Black cohosh hepatotoxicity: quantitative causality evaluation in nine suspected cases. Menopause. 2009 Sep-Oct;16(5):956-965.
D3. Teschke R. Black cohosh and suspected hepatotoxicity: inconsistencies, confounding variables, and prospective use of a diagnostic causality algorithm. A critical review. Menopause. 2010 Mar;17(2):426-440.
D4. Teschke R, Schwarzenboeck A, et al. Herb induced liver injury presumably caused by black cohosh: a survey of initially purported cases and herbal quality specifications. Ann Hepatol. 2011 Jul-Sep;10(3):249-259.
D5. Izzo AA. Interactions between herbs and conventional drugs: overview of the clinical data. Med Princ Pract. 2012;21(5):404-28.
D6. Bunchorntavakul C, Reddy KR. Review article: herbal and dietary supplement hepatotoxicity. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jan;37(1):3-17.
D7. Teschke R, Schulze J, et al. Herbal hepatotoxicity: suspected cases assessed for alternative causes. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Sep;25(9):1093-1098.
D8. Amer MR, Cipriano GC, et al. Safety of Popular Herbal Supplements in Lactating Women. J Hum Lact. 2015 Aug;31(3):348-353.
D9. Brown AC. Liver toxicity related to herbs and dietary supplements: Online table of case reports. Part 2 of 5 series. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Sep;107(PtA):472-501.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 9/9/2019
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.
All rights reserved.