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    Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Syn.: Cimicifuga racemosa), a member of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), is an erect perennial found in rich cove forests of Eastern North America from Georgia to Ontario. Native Americans used black cohosh for a variety of ailments including rheumatism, malaria, sore throats, and complications associated with childbirth. Europeans have used this important medicinal plant to treat menopausal symptoms for over 40 years. Recent clinical evidence supports the efficacy and safety of black cohosh for these symptoms. Recent decisions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on hormone replacement therapy have increased the demand for black cohosh. In a 1-year period ending in 1998, retail sales increased more than 500 percent. In 2001, when retail sales in other segments of the herbal products industry were down, black cohosh sales increased about 2 percent to an estimated value of $6.2 million. Nearly 100 percent of black cohosh raw materials are wild harvested. Though it has received an “apparently secure” ecological ranking on the global and national scales, conservation groups list the species as “at risk” in the United States and endangered in Illinois and Massachusetts. Research is underway to determine sustainable harvest levels and to establish suitable cultivation methods.`

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    Predny, Mary L.; De Angelis, Patricia; Chamberlain, James L. 2006. Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa): an annotated bibliography. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–97. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 99 p.


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    Conservation, medicinal plants, menopause, nontimber forest products, phytoestrogens, poaching

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