This is an herb still used today the material below comes from "The Indian Household Medicine Guide" ©1883
Macrotys Racemosa. Black Cohosh. Rattle Root. Rattle Root is one of the finest remedies known in the Indian and Eclectic practice. Its medical powers and actions on the human system are simply wonderful. I have used it in over two thousand cases in which it was indicated, and it gave myself and the patient's satisfaction. It grows in most parts of the United States. It has a long stalk that grows into several branches, and each branch has a long plume-like cluster of little round pods, which are full of seeds. When the stalk is shaken the seeds will rattle, producing a sound like that of a rattlesnake, from which it takes the name of rattle root. The root is the medicinal part, and is best gathered during the months of July, August, and September. The main body of the root should be cut into several pieces carefully, as you will find it full of dirt, and then dried, watching that it does not mold before it dries out.
Medical properties and uses.—Without this plant or root the Indian squaw-doctor or midwife would feel that she had lost her king of female remedies. It is called by the Indians, squaw root. It is a very active remedy, in its proper administration, on the serous and mucous tissues, and for many cases of rheumatism, especially that of a muscular character. It acts on the nerves, and quiets nervous excitability. The Indian squaw doctors have their patients take this remedy two or three months before confinement, and it has that marked effect on them that they are never troubled with false rheumatic pains, hemorrhages, or lengthy labors. An Indian squaw, when following her tribe, if confined, will stop by the wayside for that day and wait upon herself, and the next day will proceed and overtake her tribe, while but few of our civilized women can get out of bed under the ninth or fourteenth day, and even after that they have to use strict care for a month or six weeks, and even longer. I know of no remedy that is better to overcome suppressed menstruation, or in words that are understood by all, the checked monthly flow, when it is caused by cold or nervous weakness. It is one of our very best remedies in a great many womb troubles, Girls, at the age of twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years, the time they usually enter womanhood, or the time when their monthlies become established, have often serious trouble with irregularity of flows; some flowing to a great extent, some not enough. In such cases as these this remedy is almost a certain relief, and cures if properly given. I prepare my tincture in this manner: Take the fine crushed root and fill a pint or quart bottle half full, and add whisky or diluted alcohol until full; keep it well corked, and shake once or twice every day for fourteen days. In female troubles I give from five to ten drops of the tincture in a teaspoonful of water four times a day. The largest dose should never exceed thirty drops; the smallest is one. In the treatment of rheumatism it is always better to combine the tincture of Prickly Ash with it in equal portions.