Black cohosh is a perennial herb from the Zhovtetsevi family, which until the 17th century grew only on the Atlantic coast of North America and was used by the Indians for painful monthly, difficult childbirths, as an antidote for snake bites, rheumatic joint problems, malaria, and lung diseases. The name reflects the rough and tough texture (cohosh, Ind. Algonquian) and the almost black color of the rhizome of the plant.
Since the beginning of the 18th century, black cohosh has been cultivated as a medicinal and garden ornamental plant in many Eurasian countries. In Latin, the herb is called cimicifuga – cimicus (insect) + fugare (drive out). A decoction of tassel-like inflorescences and rhizomes effectively drives away parasitic insects. That’s why we often call cimitsifuga the stinking bug, and among the people it’s the stinking flea, the silver candle, and the silver candle.
The beneficial properties of black cohosh are due to the richest composition of substances and trace elements. There are more than 450 of them in total. Let’s list the most important of them, as well as their impact on the body:
- phytoestrogens, aglycones, cimicifugic acid F, cimiramates B and D – normalization of the balance of female sex hormones, due to the effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary system, and pain relief by activating opioid receptors in the brain;
- Nw-methylserotonin – inhibition of reuptake of serotonin provides a reduction in the frequency and intensity of hot flushes, an anti-anxiety, sedative and antidepressant effect, improvement of memory and sleep, regulation of appetite;
- salicylic acid and cimicifugozide – reduction of elevated body temperature;
- glycosides that enhance the conductivity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors – sedative effect, fast falling asleep, increasing the duration of sleep without awakenings;
- alkaloids – widening of vascular lumen, prevention of spasm of muscle fibers;
- shengmanol, acetylshengmanol, phytosterol – decrease in blood pressure, increase in heart muscle contractility, normalization of lipid level;
- β-sitosterol and nitrogenous substances – increased diuresis, diuretic effect, relaxation of the smooth muscles of the urinary tract;
- triterpene compounds, furochromones, tannins – anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects;
- cimitsifugin – increased secretion of bronchial, pancreatic and other digestive glands;
- saponins – neutralization of some organic poisons and toxins, antipyretic effect.
The rhizomes of cleopagon also contain a lot of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, chromium, thiamine, tannins, sterols, carotene, glycosides, cinnamic, hesperetinic and isoferulic acids, which with long-term use increase metabolism and increase bone mineral density, the work of the immune system. and cardiovascular system, have a powerful tonic effect.
By the way, klopogon extract is added to creams for oily skin and external medicines against acne and allergic rashes, eczema, mycosis, ringworm, rashes from measles.
Due to its properties, black cohosh, or rather a standardized extract from the rhizome of cymicifuga, is the main component of over-the-counter pharmaceutical herbal preparations produced by the German company Bionorika, the English firm Max Zellerg Zonge, and the Ukrainian PP Doctor Halsey. You can also buy supplements with a dry extract of sycamore in sports nutrition stores. They are made by world-famous brands NOW Foods, HAYA LABS, Puritans Pride, SWANSON, Nature’s Way, and smaller companies.
Today, doctors of official medicine prescribe preparations with cymicifuge to women who have a violation of the balance of female sex hormones, which leads to the formation of premenstrual or climacteric syndromes. Black cohosh is also prescribed to women with mastopathy, with various disorders of the menstrual cycle, such as amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea, for the prevention of osteoporosis, as well as those who have undergone gynecological surgery.
Cimicifuga root extract is also used today for the following conditions and diseases, both in women and in men:
- pain in the joints and bones, rheumatism;
- muscle pain, muscle tension, cramps;
- pain of neurological origin;
- gastritis with reduced acidity;
- constipation due to suppression or spasticity of intestinal peristalsis;
- kidney and spleen problems;
- jumps in blood pressure, atherosclerosis, hypertension of the 1st century, vegetative-vascular dystonia;
- bronchial asthma; attacks of dry cough in bronchopneumonia;
- inflammation of the lymph nodes;
- vaginal dryness, female infertility, decreased libido;
- gonorrhea, syphilis;
- restless sleep, insomnia;
- nervous tension, sudden changes in mood, hysteria, apathy, depression.
Long-term use of klopogon improves the condition of the skin, teeth, hair and nails.
Small manufacturers of dietary supplements that contain black cohosh, trying to expand the number of buyers, indicate only individual intolerance in the list of contraindications. However, if you study the instructions for pharmaceutical preparations with cimitsifuga, the list expands to the following items:
- Breast feeding.
- Peptic ulcer.
- Age up to 18 years.
- Taking some hormonal drugs.
- Allergy to aspirin and herbs from the Zhovtetsevi family.
- Estrogen-dependent tumors.
In addition, cimicifuga is prescribed with caution for any type of diabetes, gastritis with increased acidity, liver problems, thrombosis, epilepsy, after a stroke or brain injury.
You should be careful when taking preparations with black cohosh, as they can cause food allergies. Side effects are rare but possible. These are swelling of the limbs and/or face, nausea, discomfort in the upper abdomen, belching, increased gas formation, diarrhea, jaundice, rash.
Cohosh in sports
To date, there are no studies that recommend the use or prove that taking drugs with cimitsifuga can improve sports results. Despite the fact that ferulic acid from the black cohosh root has been shown to have a pronounced antioxidant protection of sperm components, the evidence of increased testosterone production is a myth. Therefore, taking supplements with klopogon by male bodybuilders will not help them gain muscle mass or increase potency.
But for women who are engaged in professional sports, bodybuilding or fitness, black cohosh will definitely help:
- get rid of extra pounds more effectively;
- forget what cellulite is;
- increase the number of training days per month and increase the intensity of training loads on the days of menstruation;
- to fully train in all periods of menopause – premenopause, menopause, postmenopause.
In newbies who are just starting to work out in the gym, taking cimitsifuga reduces the strength and duration of muscle cramps, and in experienced fitness women, black cohosh helps to shorten the period and improve the quality of muscle recovery after exercise.
The effectiveness of the effect on the body of black cohosh depends on the specific place of growth and growing conditions, production standards and equipment, duration of the course of reception and daily dosage. For example, high doses do not enhance, but negate many of the beneficial effects of cymicifuga extract, and some effects require 1-6 months of administration. Therefore, it is necessary to strictly follow the information in the instructions for the finished drug or to follow all the instructions of the phytotherapist when making the alcohol tincture or water decoction yourself.
WARNING! When using hormonal contraceptives, it is necessary to obtain the approval of the attending gynecologist to safely take a food supplement with black cohosh.