Erring on the side of black cohosh

Posted by on Apr 27, 2009 in herbal medicine | 0 comments

I’ve written quite a few posts about black cohosh over the past year. Black cohosh (better know in the plant circles as Actaea racemosa and cimicifuga racemosa) is an herb shown to treat vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Yet, concerns have been raised about its possible link to liver disease and toxicity.

Thus far, the evidence against black cohosh has been pretty lean. I’m happy to add a few more coals to that particular fire.

In a case report published in the Ahead of Print section of Menopause, researchers present evidence on nine cases of suspected liver toxicity in women who had used black cohosh.

The result: they excluded an potential link between the women’s symptoms and ingestion of black cohosh in eight of nine cases. In one case, they reported a possible association to liver disease for an unknown brand of black cohosh taken for two months but also state that the woman had factors that might have skewed the results.

They concluded that significant circumstantial evidence linking black cohosh to liver toxicity is missing.

Although this is a very small study, this is not the first time that upon examination, a lack of causality was found between black cohosh and liver disease. Of course, standardized formulations are a must, as is guidance from a healthcare professional who is well-versed in the use of herbs for menopause. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that eventually, black cohosh will become a respectable player in the field.

No Comments


  1. Black Cohosh for Menopause « The Compounder’s Forum - [...] Black cohosh is considered generally safe although some case reports of liver damage have been reported.  There is no…
  2. Wednesday Bubble: Black cohosh strikes again… « Flashfree - [...] questions about its safety, particularly with regards to liver toxicity, there are accumulating data disputing some of these claims.…
  3. Wednesday Bubble: what’s black and red and so not over? « Flashfree - [...] contrary to previous reports, both black cohosh and red clover were found to be [...]
  4. Wednesday Bubble: Black cohosh – is it safe? « Flashfree - [...] in 2009, I wrote a post regarding black cohosh (better known in scientific circles as Cimicifuga racemosa) and potential…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *