Effects of Black Cohosh on Blood Circulation
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: January 20, 2002

I talked to a pharmacist and was told that black cohosh causes blood vessel constriction and that I should not take it due to a mini stroke I had last year. Please help.

The opposite of blood vessel constriction is true: Black Cohosh dilates blood vessels, improving circulation to the peripheries (arms, legs and head). Your pharmacist can consult books by distinguished pharmacy expert Varro Tyler, in "Herbs of Choice" (Pharmaceutical Products Press, 10 Alice Street, Birmingham, NY, 13904-1580, U.S.A.) or "Herbal Medicine", by pharmacists Newall, Anderson and Phillips (Pharmaceutical Press, 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JN, England).

Black Cohosh contains salicylic acid, the constituent from which aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) was derived. Although the blood thinning/anti blood clotting effects in the drug aspirin are very mild in a whole herb containing salicylic acids, a salicylic acid containing herb could be a potentiating factor for blood thinning and I would not recommend it to someone who is at risk of hemorrhagic stroke (i.e. a stroke caused by bursting a blood vessel). Aspirin is commonly prescribed by doctors to avoid the risk of the type of stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain. Except for cases of high risk for blood clot formation, I do not subscribe to the use of aspirin for this purpose, because of the risk of hemorrhage and ulcers that are side effects of taking aspirin. I recommend that you avoid Black Cohosh if you are taking blood thinners or aspirin.

It is important to not exceed the recommended dosage of Black Cohosh. For information on the safety of Black Cohosh, please go to our website at http://www.richters.com, choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then choose "Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses" and search for the item " Side effects of Black Cohosh?".

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