Black Cohosh Market and Prices
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Ellen Birch
Posted on: January 14, 1999

I need to find out what the US and worldwide production (in pounds & dollars) is for Black Cohosh.

I have not dealt in Black Cohosh, as it is an East Coast production, so my information is limited. I am relying on sources in Europe for the following information:
  • 1998 exports of Black Cohosh from the U.S. were in excess of 320,000 lbs.
  • 1998 harvests included up to 120,000 lbs. from cultivated sources.
  • In excess of 75% of total exports were to Germany.
  • Price to foragers and growers ranged from $2.00 U.S. per pound up to $2.80 U.S. per pound.
  • 1999 harvest needs for export are expected to be in excess of 400,000 lbs. for export.
  • The market for Black Cohosh looks bullish for the next three years, firm.

    Cimicifuga racemosa (L.) Nutt., also known as black snakeroot, is indigenous to Canada and the eastern parts of the United States, especially Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana and Georgia. Black Cohosh has never been cultivated as a special crop, probably due to the limited markets for the root. Because of the large European market demand in recent years, however, that is changing. It is quite cultivable, however, in its natural habitat.

    Why has this root become so important? Dr. Barton considers Black Cohosh a valuable medicine for relief of rheumatism. He called the root astringent and held that a decoction of it was beneficial in sore throats. Dr. Clapp called it "unquestionably one of the most valuable of our indigenous medicinal plants." This root, by the way, should not be confused with Blue Cohosh, the roots and berries of this plant being used as a menstrual aid and for childbirth.

    A water-insoluble but chloroform-soluble resinous fraction has been reported to have hypotensive activities on animals and to have peripheral vasodilatory effects on man. The plant has also exhibited hypoglycemic and antiflammatory activities on animals. It is this antiflamatory activity which has stimulated the tremendous market growth for Black Cohosh in recent years.

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