Names: Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Squawroot.
Habitat: USA and Canada.
Collection: The roots are unearthed with the rhizome in autumn after the fruits have ripened. They should be cut lengthwise and dried carefully.
Part Used: Root and rhizome; dried, not fresh.
Actions: Emmenogogue, anti-spasmodic, alterative, nervine, hypotensive.
Indications: Black Cohosh is a most valuable herb that has a powerful action as a relaxant and a normalizer of the female reproductive system. It may be used beneficially in cases of painful or delayed menstruation. Ovarian cramps or cramping pain in the womb will be relieved by Black Cohosh. It is very active in the treatment of rheumatic pains, but also in rheumatoid arthritis, osteo-arthritis, in muscular and neurological pain. It finds used in sciatica and neuralgia, as a relaxing nervine it may be used in many situations where such an agent is needed. It has been found beneficial in cases of tinnitus
Cimicifuga plays a very important part in the therapeutics of gynecology. It is a remedy for atony of the reproductive tract. In the painful conditions incident to imperfect menstruation, its remedial action is fully displayed by its special affinity for the female reproductive organs. It is an efficient agent for the restoration of suppressed menses. It is even a better remedy in that variety of amenorrhoea termed "absentio mesium". In dysmenorrhoea it is surpassed by no other drug, being of greatest utility in irritate and congestive conditions of the uterus and appendages characterized by tensive, dragging pains, resembling the pains of rheumatism. If the patient were despondent and chilly, combine Cimicifuga with Pulsatilla, especially in anemic subjects. It is a good remedy for the reflex "side-aches" of the unmarred woman; also for mastitis and mastodynia. It should be remembered in rheumatism of the uterus, and in uterine leucorrhoea, with a flabby condition of the viscus, its effects are decided. When there is a disordered action or lack of functional power in the uterus, giving rise to sterility, Cimicifuga often corrects the impaired condition and cures. Reflex mammary pains during gestation are met by it, and in rheumatic subjects, it promptly relieves such ovarian troubles as ovarialgia and neuralgia, the pain being of an aching character. Orchialgia and aching sensations of the prostate are conditions calling for Cimicifuga, and as a tonic, it is not without good effects in spermatorrhoea.
Cimicifuga has proven a better agent in obstetrical practice than ergot. It produces natural intermittent uterine contractions, whereas ergot produces constant contractions, thereby endangering the life of the child, or rupture of the uterus. Where the pains or inefficient, feeble, or irregular, Cimicifuga will stimulate the normal action. It is an excellent "partus praeparator" if given for several weeks before confinement. It is a diagnostic agent to differentiate between spurious and true labor pains, the latter being increased, while the former is dissipated under its use. It is the best and safest agent known for the relief of after-pains, and is effectual in allaying the general excitement of the nervous system after labor.
Cimicifuga exerts a powerful influence over the nervous system and has been long favorably known as a remedy for chorea. It may be used alone or with Valeriana, equal parts. It is, particularly useful here when associated with amenorrhoea, or when the menstrual function fails to act for the first time. Its action is slow, but its effects are permanent. It ahs been used successfully as an antispasmodic in hysteria, epilepsy when due to menstrual failures, asthma and kindred affections, periodical convulsions, nervous excitability, pertussis, delirium tremens and many other spasmodic affections.
For headache, whether congestive or from cold, neuralgia, dysmenorrhoea, or from la grippe, it is promptly curative. As a palliative agent in phthisispulmonalis, good results are obtained, in that it lessens cough, soothes the pain, especially the "aching" under the scapulae, lessens secretions and allays nervous irritability. Fevers, intermittent and remittent have been benefited by it; well-marked antiperiodic and tonic virtues having been observed in the drug. In the exanthemata, it is a valuable asset, controlling pain, especially the terrible "bone aches" of smallpox, rendering the disease much milder. Inscarlatina and measles, it relieves the headache and the backache preceding the eruptions. It is stated that it has been used in the south with some success as a prophylactic against variola.
Cimicifuga exerts a tonic influence over both the serous and mucous tissues of the system, and will be found a superior remedy in the majority of chronic diseases of these parts. In all cases where acidity of the stomach is present, this should first be removed, or some mild alkaline preparation be administered in conjunction with the remedy before any beneficial change will ensue. As a remedy for pain, Cimicifuga, is a very prompt agent, often relieving in a few hours, painful conditions that have existed for a long time.
The saturated tincture of the root is recommended as a valuable embrocation in all cases where a stimulant, tonic, anodyne, and alterative combined is required, as in all cases of inflammations of the nerves, tic-dolloureux, periodic cephalic pain, inflammation of the spine, ovarian inflammation, spasms of the broad ligaments, rheumatism, crick in the back or side, inflammation of the eyes, old ulcers, etc. Preparations of Cimicifuga, to be of any medicinal value, must be prepared from recently dried roots.
Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: pour a cup of water onto ½-1 teaspoonfuls of the dried root and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: Take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.
"As a partus accelerator, it may be substituted for, and should be preferred to, ergot; ½ drachm of the powdered root may be given in warm water every 15-20 minutes, until the expulsive action of the uterus is induced, and which seldom fails to bring on speedy and powerfully. In acute troubles, as acute muscular rheumatism, and in false pains, and as an oxytocic, Webster prefers the strong decoction of the recent root in tablespoonful doses. The fluid extract of Black Cohosh may be used in all cases where the article is indicated; its dose is from ½ fluid drachm to 2 fluid drachm. The ordinary dose for its specific effects is a teaspoonful of a mixture of from 10 drops to 1 drachm of Cimicifuga tincture in 4 ounces of water, the larger or smaller dose being determined by the condition of the patient".