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Black cohosh contains isoflavones, compounds that mimic the activity of estrogen. Useful for menopause symptoms, including vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mild depression, black cohosh also offers anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits. As a cold and flu remedy, it helps quiet coughs while easing discomfort.
Parts Used: Root
Precautions: Do not use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Black cohosh causes gastric discomfort in some individuals; stop using it if this occurs.
Identifying/Growing: Black cohosh is indigenous to the eastern half of North America, preferring the edges of fields and open woodlands. With oval-shaped leaves, erect stems that grow to 3 feet or taller, and white flowers on slender spikes, it gets its name from the blackish color of its rootstock. Black cohosh seeds should be planted in indoor containers in fall and kept in a warm, dry place, preferably one that receives full sunlight. When the plants emerge, water them weekly and keep them indoors until the danger of frost is over. Transplant your black cohosh to a location that receives morning sun but offers afternoon shade. Fertilize the area with well-rotted compost before transplanting and repeat each spring. Water the plants three times per week during dry weather, or even more frequently if you notice that they are beginning to wilt.