Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa or Actaea racemosa) is a member of the Buttercup Family. As mentioned, it was used by the Native American Indians in their medicine as a tea made from the roots to assist women with menstrual cramps and ease the pain of childbirth. It was therefore aptly given the name by them as "Squawort." They also used it as a poultice to treat snakebites, and another name given by the American Indians was "Black Snakeroot."
Actaea racemosa is known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as Sheng Ma. It is a stately perennial plant that grows 3-6 feet tall with long plume-like white flowers. It has large and knotty roots and has a strong smell that repels insects; hence Black Cohosh is also known by the names "Bugane" or "Bugwort."
Cimicifuga racemosa is my herb of choice for PMS, pre-menopausal and menopausal conditions, also in breast enlargement formulas thanks to its estrogenic action. As Black Cohosh contains phytoestrogens, it effectively reduces the symptoms associated with PMS and Menopause and can stabilize a woman's hormone levels. I use this herb to treat related symptoms such as irregular periods, menstrual cramps, hot flashes, depression, mood swings, night sweats, and insomnia.
Black cohosh root extract combats photo-aging processes, protecting skin's extracellular matrix (ECM) and the Dermo-Epidermal Junction (DEJ) components from UV-induced damage. This dual-action ingredient is perfect for mature skin, leaving anti-aging actions: preventive (photoprotection) and curative ("hormone-like") for high-end skincare formulas.