Black Cohosh monograph by King's Dispensatory / Henriette's Herbal.
Sheng Ma description at Sacred Lotus.
Black Cohosh vs. Sheng Ma by Lana Farson.
Black Cohosh literature review by Herbal Gram.
Being that Black Cohosh naturally occurs just outside of my home region of Northeastern Pennsylvania it is not one that I have become intimately aware of in the same manner as the herbs I harvest from the wild or grow. I definitely utilize both American and Chinese Black Cohosh, primarily in dried form. Black Cohosh is abundant south of here in the Delaware Water Gap and in other areas just outside my immediate region. It is a beautiful woodland plant very similar in appearance (the vegetation) to Baneberry and Doll's Eyes. It seems quite likely that the Lenape utilized the plant for generations before white colonization.
Dr. King considered it a favorite herb and his attention to it has likely been a major contributor towards today's popularity. Though, interestingly, today's use of Black Cohosh for menopausal symptoms was likely not its primary use traditionally.
Very possibly primary uses of Black Cohosh by Native Americans, Chinese, and Eclectics have always focused on treatment of fevers and pain. Both of these uses are still relevant today. Certainly, if one is finding it helpful as a simple for menopausal symptoms then there is no reason to discourage use (unless there is a specific contra-indication - see references above). However, it is recommended for menopause related imbalances, like other conditions, that each person receive an individualized assessment and resultant herbal formula. Generally, herbs are combined in a manner custom for the individual. I almost exclusively use Black Cohosh in combinations with other herbs, such as the Shaolin Training Wines.