This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Cimicifuga. - Synonyms. - Black Snakeroot. Black Cohosh. The rhizome and roots of Cimicifuga racemosa (Linne) Nuttall (nat ord. Ranun-culaceae).
North America; in rich woodlands, westward to Eastern Kansas.
The rhizome is of horizontal growth, hard, 5 cm. or more long, about 25 mm. thick, with numerous stout, upright or curved branches, terminated by a cup-shaped scar, and with numerous wiry, brittle, obtusely quadrangular roots, about 2 mm. thick; the whole brownish-black, of a slight but heavy odor, and of a bitter, acrid taste. Rhizome and branches have a smooth fracture, with a rather large pith, surrounded by numerous sublinear, whitish wood-rays, and a thin, firm bark. The roots break with a short fracture, have a thick bark, and contain a ligneous cord expanding into about four rays.
Cimicifugin or Macrotin is an impure resin deposited from the tincture on adding water.
1. Extractum Cimicifugae. - Extract of Cimicifuga. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol, and evaporation.
Dose, 1 to 5 gr.; .06 to .30 gm.
2. Extractum Cimicifugae Fluidum. - Fluid Extract of Cimicifuga. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol, and evaporation.
Dose, 1/2 to 1 fl. dr.; 2. to 4. c.c.
3. Tinctura Cimicifugae. - Tincture of Cimicifuga. Cimicifuga, 200; by maceration and percolation with Alcohol to 1000.
Dose, 1/2 to 2 fl. dr.; 2. to 8. c.c.
Cimicifuga has two chief actions. It influences the gastric secretion like any other bitter, and, to a slight extent, it depresses the rate, but increases the force of the pulse, like digitalis. The arterial tension rises. It is said to cause contractions of the uterus and to increase the menstrual flow.
It has been used for chorea, dyspepsia, bronchitis, amenor-rhoea, dysmenorrhoea, rheumatism, neuralgia, and many other diseases. The evidence that it does much good beyond that accomplished by a simple bitter, is slight.