i tried it and it did not work at all. but, i am also afraid of it, heard it was bad a long time ago.
Black cohosh should not be used for more than 6 months at a time at normal doses. Generally, when taking herbs over the long term they should be taken for 3 weeks on and one week off. For menstrual stimulating & abortifacient purposes any herb including black cohosh should not be used any longer than 10 days, since doses taken are often higher than the recommended dosages, and toxic build up or side effects could result, even with herbs generally known as being safe.
Contradictions: Black cohosh can depress heart rate, anyone with any type of heart disease should not use this herb. Other possible side effects include dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, shakes, low pulse, vomiting. Side effects occurring with prolonged use may include uterine irritation, abdominal pain (see cautions on ectopic pregnancy), abnormal blood clotting (which could cause problems when using herbs to end pregnancy, possibly hemorrhage), liver problems, it could encourage breast tumors. And should not be taken by anyone who has been advised not to take oral contraceptives.7
Oct. 17, 2003 (BALTIMORE) -- Black cohosh, an herbal remedy gaining popularity as a panacea for the hot flasheshot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms of menopausemenopause, can cause the body's immune system to launch an attack on the liver, doctors warn.
Stanley M. Cohen, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, tells WebMD that he and colleagues have diagnosed what they believe is the first case of autoimmune hepatitishepatitis caused by the use of black cohosh.
A progressive inflammation of the liver, caused by the body's immune system attack on liver cells --autoimmune hepatitis can cause people to become so tired that even crossing the room is a chore. Some patients complain of abdominal discomfort, others of achy joints and itching. The skin may become yellow, and the liver can become enlarged. Without proper treatment, this serious illness progresses and most people eventually die. The disease is thought to have some genetic link, with women accounting for as many as 70% of the patients.
Fortunately, with prompt diagnosis and therapy, most people, including his patients, recover, Cohen says.
"If you're taking black cohosh, ask your doctor for liver function tests," he says. His patient had been taking the herb for only a few weeks when symptoms developed.
"Black cohosh has the potential for serious side effects," Cohen says. A search of the medical literature revealed five reports of other liver problems associated with the use of black cohosh, he says.
Eamonn Quigley, MD, of the department of medicine at Cork University Hospital in Cork, Ireland, says that several studies show high use of herbal products among patients with liver disease.
"Many [people] have made the assumption that herbal remedies are innocuous, but we now know they are not," he says.
The doctors spoke with WebMD at the 68th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology this week.
Dr. Cohen says that the use of black cohosh has increased since last year, when the large Women's Health Initiative study demonstrated that use of estrogen was associated with an increased risk of breast cancerbreast cancer and heart problems. That led the nation's top doctors to conclude that for many patients, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy don't outweigh the risks.
"Since then, women have been looking for other products that can relieve menopausal symptoms," Dr. Cohen said, "and one of the most popular is black cohosh," known scientifically as Actea racemosa.
Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD, RPh, founder and editor of the Natural Standard Research Collaboration, which collects data on complementary therapies, says several studies have reported black cohosh to improve menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, mood disturbances, palpitations, and vaginal dryness, for up to six months.
"But although these initial studies are suggestive, they have been few in number and have universally suffered from weaknesses," says Dr. Ulbricht, who is also a senior attending pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Also, there have been no studies looking at whether the herb is safe and effective over the long-term, she says.
Dr. Cohen says his team came to the conclusion that their patient, a 57-year-old woman, likely suffered from black cohosh-induced autoimmune hepatitis after exhaustive examination.
The woman, who came in complaining of increasing fatiguefatigue and lethargy over the past two weeks, had recently stopped hormone replacement therapy at the advice of her primary physician. She started taking black cohosh three weeks prior to feeling ill, he says. Liver function tests and a liver biopsy revealed abnormalities that are consistent with a diagnosis of drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis, Dr. Cohen says.
The woman was told to stop taking the herb and was treated with prescribed steroids. She felt completely better just two weeks later, and liver function tests were back to normal in about nine weeks.