Black Cohosh: Widely used for lessening symptoms of menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, and depression
In numerous studies Black Cohosh was shown to have an effect on the following symptoms for women:
• Helps treat insomnia
• May relieve stress
• Helps reduce mood swings
• May relieve symptoms of PMS
• Helps reduce symptoms of dysmenorrheal
• Helps reduce pain from labor contractions
• May relieve false labor pains
• Helps facilitate postpartum recovery
What is Black Cohosh and where does it come from?
Black Cohosh, which is also commonly known as black snakeroot or rattleweed, is a member of the buttercup family and thrives in moderately rich, moist, and lightly shaded conditions. Its tall, slender, white flowers are very conspicuous in the woods. Black Cohosh contains a broad spectrum of the valuable triterpene glycosides responsible for black cohosh's action. It is the most popular herbal supplement in Europe for women experiencing change-of-life (perimenopause) symptoms. Black Cohosh provides isoflavones and other constituents that help support a woman's health during this phase of her life.
What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Early experiments with research animals showed that black cohosh induced an increase in the weight of the uterus. This was interpreted to mean that black cohosh had estrogenic activity. Follow-up experiments with middle-age women showed that consumption of black cohosh was associated with a marked reduction in menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, depression, headache, and nervousness. Menstrual difficulties were also reduced in the women. Young women suffering from dysmenorrhea (difficult and painful menstruation) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have also derived benefit from using black cohosh preparations.
A clinical study of more than 700 women found that the use of a black cohosh preparation (Remifemin) produced a significant improvement in menopausal complaints. After two months more than 80 percent reported an improvement in symptoms such as hot flashes, sweating, headache, irritability, sleep disturbances, and depressive moods. In 93 percent of the women no side effects were reported from the use of black cohosh.
In a study of 80 women it was observed that hot flashes, profuse perspiration, headache and vertigo, and psychological disturbances such as nervousness, irritability, sleep disturbances, and depressive moods were significantly improved when women consumed eight milligrams per day of black cohosh (Remifemin) over a period of three months.
German researchers investigated the effect of black cohosh on 60 women under 40 years of age who had a hysterectomy in which at least one ovary was intact. They found that the daily use of eight milligrams of black cohosh was equally as effective as estrogen hormone therapy for the relief of hot flashes, sweating, sleep disturbances, depressive moods, and other related menopausal symptoms.
Clinical studies during the past 40 years have continually confirmed that black cohosh is a safe and effective alternative for hormone replacement therapy in the treatment of hot flashes, mood swings, and other menopausal symptoms. In many experiments the use of black cohosh produced a mild mood-enhancing effect. At the present time, black cohosh is approved in Germany for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome, painful menstruation, and menopausal symptoms.
Are there any side effects?
Black cohosh preparations have been used for many decades in Europe and are typically well tolerated by most persons. There is a fairly low risk of adverse side effects, although transient stomach discomfort has been observed in a few patients.
Clinical studies have shown that it is safe to use black cohosh for up to six months. Black cohosh is not recommended for women who are either pregnant or breast-feeding.
Note: If you are pregnant or lactating, consult your health care practitioner prior to using Black Cohosh.