If you are pregnant, it's a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before taking black cohosh. This herb has traditionally been used in conjunction with blue cohosh to induce labor; however, it has not been proven to be safe or effective for this use.
An Overview of Pregnancy and Black Cohosh
Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) is an herb that is often used in supplements for treating the symptoms of menopause. It is also sometimes recommended by midwives and natural medicine practitioners for stimulating labor. It is not known if black cohosh is safe or effective for this use.
Is Black Cohosh Safe for Pregnant Women?
Even though it is a "natural" product, this does automatically imply that it is safe for use during pregnancy. Traditionally, it has been used (often in combination with blue cohosh) for inducing labor. However, it should never be used in the first two trimesters or early in the third trimester, as this may lead to a miscarriage or premature labor.
Serious problems have been reported in infants whose mothers took black cohosh and blue cohosh to stimulate labor, but it is generally thought that these problems were probably caused by the blue cohosh.
There is no reliable scientific evidence showing that black cohosh is safe or effective for inducing labor (even though it is very popular for this use among midwives).
If you are pregnant, it is always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement. Do not take black cohosh in early pregnancy or mid-pregnancy, and do not take black cohosh for labor induction without the supervision of your healthcare provider.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 8, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: black cohosh (July 2005). NCCAM Web site. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/blackcohosh/. Accessed January 8, 2008.
Office of Dietary Supplements. National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Questions and answers about black cohosh and the symptoms of menopause (June 2006). NCCAM Web site. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh.asp/. Accessed January 8, 2008.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click