Black Cohosh
shopping: two varieties
icon image
per 1/4 Pound
Quantity:  
$6.80 
icon image
per Pound
Quantity:  
$17.00 
icon image
per 1/4 Pound
Quantity:  
$7.00 
icon image
per Pound
Quantity:  
$17.50 
Cimicifuga racemosa

black cohosh

plant overview
bitter black cohosh

Also known as Fairy Candle and Black Snakeroot, black cohosh is a North American perennial plant with a long history of use by various Native American tribes. The bitter-tasting root is decocted for use in teas and tonics, or is used to prepare tinctures. The powdered root is also used to make infused oils and other preparations for use on the skin.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.
Black cohosh
01.
A Bit of Botany
a bit of botanical information about black cohosh

description
Black cohosh is a smooth, herbaceous perennial plant of the Ranunculaceae family that produces large, compound leaves from an underground rhizome, reaching a height of 9–24 inches.

The basal leaves are up to 3 ft long and broad, forming repeated sets of three leaflets having a coarsely toothed or serrated margin.

The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer on a tall stem, 30-100 inches tall, forming racemes up to 20 inches long. The flowers have no petals or sepals, and consist of tight clusters of 55-110 white stamens surrounding a white stigma. The flowers have a distinctly sweet, fetid smell that attracts flies, gnats, and beetles.

The fruit is a dry follicle with one carpel, containing several seeds.

common names
& nomenclature

Cohosh is a Native American (Algonquian) word for "rough", referring to the knobby rhizome/root structure.

Also known as:
black snake root, rattle root, squaw root, bugbane, black bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattleweed, rattlesnake's root, richweed, cimicifuga, sheng ma, chinese black cohosh, fairy candle, and macrotys

02.
Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing black cohosh

black cohosh climate
Black cohosh grows mostly in woodland habitats, in a variety of locations, such as the understory and edges.

black cohosh soil preferences
Black cohosh prefers a rich, moist, soil that is high in organic matter.

growing black cohosh
Black cohosh is most easily propagated by dividing the rhizomes in spring or fall. Plants can also be started indoors from seed or seed can be directly sown into the ground, but rhizome divisions provide a more uniform plant stand and allow for a faster harvestable root. Plus, large quantities of seed are not readily available at this time.

To propagate by rhizome divisions, cut rhizomes into vertical sections, two to three inches in length, making sure there is at least one bud attached to each piece. There can be up to 15 buds on the rhizome of one black cohosh plant. Plant the rhizome pieces deep enough to cover the top of the rhizome with two inches of soil, 18 to 24 inches apart, making sure the bud is pointed upright. Cover beds with at least three inches of shredded hardwood bark mulch or leaf mulch. Add mulch as needed throughout the life of the planting. Roots should be ready to harvest three to five years after planting.

Black cohosh seeds must be exposed to a warm/cold/warm cycle before they will germinate. The easiest way to grow plants from seed is to harvest the mature seed in the fall and then sow in the ground immediately, allowing nature to provide the necessary temperature changes. To do this, collect the seed when the capsules have dried and started to split open and the seed "rattle" inside. Plant them 1 ½ to 2 inches apart, approximately ¼ inch deep in shaded, prepared seedbeds. Cover with a one-inch layer of hardwood bark or leaf mulch and keep moist. Some germination may occur the following spring, but most seeds will not emerge until the second spring.

Purchased seed frequently takes over two years to germinate after sowing. Transplant seedlings into regular planting beds when a second set of true leaves emerges. Roots should be ready to harvest four to six years after seeding.

harvesting black cohosh
Harvest the rhizomes and fibrous roots in fall after the fruits have ripened. Cut them lengthwise and dry at low heat with high airflow.

preserving black cohosh
Once the roots are completely dry, store in burlap bags or cardboard drums, in a cool, dark, and dry location. Keep no longer than one year.

03.
The Rest of the Story
black cohosh history, folklore, literature, & more

black cohosh benefits
This herb was named black because of its medicinal roots. Cohosh is Algonquian for "rough," another reference to its roots.

The Indians boiled black cohosh's gnarled roots in water and drank the decoction.

Wild black cohosh grew most profusely in the Ohio River valley, which was fitting because the herb was championed by 19th-century Eclectic physicians, whose medical school was in Cincinnati on the banks of the Ohio.

Physicians argued about black cohosh a century ago, and the debate continues today. A 1986 Food and Drug Administration report dismissed black cohosh as having "no therapeutic value" and warned of its possible side effects. Other experts say the herb has many potentially beneficial effects but consider it too toxic to use. The Germans, meanwhile, include the herb in several prescription drugs.

Black cohosh overdose may cause dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and a depressed heart rate.

black cohosh plant information
Black cohosh is a leafy perennial that reaches 9 feet. It has knotty black roots and a smooth stem with large, toothed, compound leaves and small, multiple white flowers that develop in midsummer on long projections called racemes.

Black cohosh grows from seeds sown in spring or root divisions taken in spring or fall.

Harvest the roots in fall after the fruits have ripened. Cut them lengthwise to dry.

04.
Where in the World
habitat and range for black cohosh

Black cohosh is native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
Welcome to the Monterey Bay Spice Company @ herbco.com

Bulk Herbs & Spices

Monterey Bay Spice Company has been delivering premium bulk herb botanicals, spices, teas, seasonings and much more for over eighteen years...

Farm Fresh Goods

Most all of our botanicals are sourced directly from the farmers and growers — this allows us to provide you with premium products at competitive prices

Co-Packing & Private Label

In addition our blending and milling services allow us to provide full-service co-packing solutions and private label contract packaging services to companies of all sizes

© 2017 Monterey Bay Spice Company, Inc.