Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is a plant used in herbal medicine. A member of the buttercup family, it has a long history of use in the treatment of arthritis and muscle pain. Today, however, black cohosh is commonly taken for relief of symptoms associated with menopause.
Fukinolic acid (a compound found in black cohosh) appears to have estrogen-like activity. Proponents suggest that black cohosh’s potentially estrogen-like effects may be beneficial to women as they experience menopause-related declines in their estrogen levels (a key factor in the development of menopausal symptoms). To that end, black cohosh is sometimes touted as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy.