black cohosh (generic name)

It is being promoted to help support female health problems, like the symptoms of menopause (hot flashes)
(blak KOH hosh)
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What is this medicine?

BLACK COHOSH (blak KOH hosh) or Cimicifuga racemosa is a dietary supplement. It is being promoted to help support female health problems, like the symptoms of menopause (hot flashes). Black cohosh is also promoted to ease menstrual pain or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). The FDA does not recognize black cohosh as being safe or effective for any use at this time, and warns against its use in pregnancy.

This supplement may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • cancer
  • endometriosis or uterine fibroids
  • high blood pressure
  • infertility
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • menstrual changes or irregular periods
  • unusual vaginal or uterine bleeding
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to black cohosh, soybeans, tartrazine dye (yellow dye number 5), other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this herb by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the package labeling, or talk to your health care professional. Do not use for longer than 6 months without the advice of a health care professional. Do not use if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Talk to your obstetrician-gynecologist or certified nurse-midwife.

This herb is not for use in children under the age of 18 years.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • female hormones, like estrogens or progestins and birth control pills
  • fertility treatments
  • medicines for blood pressure
  • medicines for diabetes

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Since this herb is derived from a plant, allergic reactions are possible. Stop using this herb if you develop a rash. You may need to see your health care professional, or inform them that this occurred. Report any unusual side effects promptly.

If you are taking this herb for menstrual or menopausal symptoms, visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You should have a complete check-up every 6 months. You will need a regular breast and pelvic exam while on this therapy. Follow the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

If you have any reason to think you are pregnant, stop taking this herb at once and contact your doctor or health care professional.

Herbal or dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines. Rigid quality control standards are not required for dietary supplements. The purity and strength of these products can vary. The safety and effect of this dietary supplement for a certain disease or illness is not well known. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The Food and Drug Administration suggests the following to help consumers protect themselves:
  • Always read product labels and follow directions.
  • Natural does not mean a product is safe for humans to take.
  • Look for products that include USP after the ingredient name. This means that the manufacturer followed the standards of the US Pharmacopoeia.
  • Supplements made or sold by a nationally known food or drug company are more likely to be made under tight controls. You can write to the company for more information about how the product was made.

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Last Updated: March 19, 2009
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