When the Europeans set sail for the New World they encountered the various Native American tribes, including the Apache, Sioux, Iroquois and Cherokee. With guns, horses and ships that could cross the Atlantic Ocean, the colonial powers were no doubt assured as to their military, economic and technological superiority.
And yet, when they did manage to land upon the shores of the New World and encounter the Native American people; they were given a lesson in herbal remedies, how to use the land and plants for the alleviation of pain, management of symptoms and to ward off infection.
Actaea racemosa is the formal name for the plant that is more commonly known as black cohosh (although the name fairy candle is just too adorable!) and black cohosh is indigenous within the Northern American continent, spanning a sizeable swathe across the landmass.
Stretching as far from the Canadian province of Ontario all the way down below the Mason Dixie to Georgia, it has also been found in Missouri and in addition to American states. Black cohosh has enjoyed a long standing and special relationship with the Native American people, where it was used interchangeably both for medicinal and religious purposes.
One of the most striking aspects of the black cohosh plant is just how tall that it can grow; with a height of 60 cm not unusual. The Native Americans relied upon it for the treatment of premenstrual cramps and period pain, as well as a plethora of other gynaecological complaints.
It would seem then that the Native Americans were truly onto something magnificent and their usage has been the study of intense modern scientific study which has confirmed that black cohosh is a viable and efficacious herbal and dietary supplement for the treatment of menstrual cramps.
In addition, black cohosh is also commonly utilised in order to provide some much needed relief to the varying unpleasant side effects associated with the menopause process, whereby massive hormonal imbalances can have a profoundly debilitating and distressing effect on the female.
There is also some evidence to suggest that black cohosh may also be useful for the prevention of osteoporosis, a condition whereby bone density is reduced resulting in bones becoming susceptible to fracturing.
The only cause for concern associated with the usage of black cohosh is that it may interact adversely with certain types of oral contraceptives such as birth control pills.