Over The Counter Herbal Products
There are many complementary and alternative medicine products available over the counter and online, with various formulations of herbs and/or nutrients for treating the symptoms of menopause. The effectiveness of these preparations can vary greatly due to the combination of herbs used, as well as the quality or amounts of herbs used.
The best way to seek guidance about these herbal remedies is to consult a health practitioner trained in herbal medicine use, such as a herbalist/naturopath or Chinese medicine practitioner.
We know that about 13% of Australian women use CAM therapies for managing hot flushes, and that the three most commonly used CAM therapies are phytoestrogens , evening primrose oil and ginseng. We know that these are not necessarily the most effective remedies, and we also know that only about 25% of these women consult an expert for advice about these therapies. Therefore, many women may be making inappropriate or indeed, ineffective choices.
When buying herbal medicines over the counter, you need to consider some of these factors:
- The quality and standard of herbal preparations, including those available over the counter and online, can vary considerably
- Some herbal products can interact with other pharmaceutical therapies, but their labels might not necessarily carry a warning
- The best way to use herbal remedies is under the guidance of a well-trained herbalist/naturopath.
Chaste Tree Berries Vitex Agnus
This herb is widely used in women’s health, particularly for premenstrual syndrome , and most studies support its efficacy, particularly with specific extracts. However, it is not usually considered useful for the management of menopausal symptoms. It may be useful for the relief of PMS symptoms in perimenopausal women with erratic cycles. It should be prescribed only by a health practitioner trained in herbal medicine.
Should You Try Black Cohosh
There are several considerations when it comes to trying black cohosh for menopausal symptoms. It may or may not be effective for your specific symptoms, especially if its a brand that has not been specifically studied.
Furthermore, some studies indicate that black cohosh may not be safe for use in women with breast cancer or other conditions in their health history, like heart disease and infertility. When deciding if black cohosh is an appropriate alternative therapy for your symptoms, its best to speak with your gynecologist. There may be other options that are more appropriate and better studied for your specific experience.
If youre interested in giving black cohosh as try, its best to find a brand that has been third-party tested for quality, purity, and safety .
Check out Lisa Health for personalized holistic recommendations on managing your menopause symptoms.
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Medications That Can Harm The Liver Interacts With Black Cohosh
There is concern that black cohosh might harm the liver. Taking black cohosh along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take black cohosh if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen , amiodarone , carbamazepine , isoniazid , methotrexate , methyldopa , fluconazole , itraconazole , erythromycin , phenytoin , lovastatin , pravastatin , simvastatin , and many others.
Side Effects Of Black Cohosh For Menopause
Black cohosh plant is rich in benefits, still, it is not deprived of side effects as well. Especially, it concerns women who take more than directed or start self-treatment.
The most common black cohosh for menopause side effects include:
- stomach pain
- skin rashes.
Note, some black cohosh for menopause side effects are rare and may usually vanish within 10-15 minutes after the intake. If they continue to occur, you should report them to your doctor.
Alongside this, there are several precautions regarding the intake of black cohosh. Does black cohosh interact with any medications? Yes, and they include:
- Hepatotoxic drugs.
If you currently take these medications, or you have taken them during the past two weeks, you should inform about them your doctor, as such interactions may cause severe side effects or make black cohosh ineffective. Besides, they may affect liver function, so typically, women who have problems or existing disorders of the liver are contraindicated for the use of black cohosh, and they are prescribed other health supplements.
Do not mix black cohosh with alcohol, it may also alter the efficacy of this health supplement.
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Can Black Cohosh Have Benefits For Menopause
In menopause and the time leading up to it , your body goes through hormonal changes that can cause various symptoms, including hot flushes and night sweats, sleep problems , vaginal dryness and mood swings.
However, theres a lack of scientific evidence that black cohosh definitely helps with menopause symptoms, or any other condition.
Some research suggests that certain black cohosh extracts may reduce some menopause symptoms. But the studies havent always been good quality, and have had varied results. Theyve also looked at different types of the plant and different doses, so its still unclear exactly how black cohosh might work for menopause.
How Long Do Hot Flashes Last
The length of an individual hot flash can vary. Some will last mere seconds, but longer hot flashes can last longer than 10 minutes. You can generally expect hot flashes to last a few minutes on average. The frequency of hot flashes can also vary from person to person. Some may experience several hot flashes within one hour, while others may have a few a week. This can also change based on what stage of menopause youre going through.
Hot flashes at night can also give way to night sweats, which is characterized by excessive sweating at night. The discomfort of night sweats can result in sleep problems.4
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Lemon Balm Melissa Officinalis
Lemon balm leaves have been used for more than 2000 years in Europe and the Middle East to calm digestion, lighten mood and improve memory, and for insomnia and anxiety. It is generally taken as a tea, either using the dried or fresh herb. Per cup, use 1 teaspoon of dried herb or 23 teaspoons of fresh herb, and infuse for 510 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups per day. To aid sleep, combine with valerian and drink one hour before bed.
Hot Flashes Related To Breast Cancer Treatments
Breast cancer medications such as tamoxifen can cause hot flashes. While many breast cancer patients may take black cohosh to reduce the number and intensity of hot flashes, two well-designed studies concluded that the herb is no more effective than placebo. In addition, Yale researchers report that herbal medicines such as black cohosh may interfere with common breast cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy drugs.
There has been some concern that black cohosh may contain plant-based estrogens, or phytoestrogens, which can stimulate the growth of breast tumors. However, a case-control clinical study of 949 breast cancer cases and 1,524 controls found that black cohosh use had significant protective effects against breast cancer development. More research is needed. Patients with a history of breast cancer, risk factors for breast cancer, or who are actively engaged in breast cancer treatment, should talk to their doctor before taking black cohosh.
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When Should You Take Black Cohosh
Black cohosh has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Native Americans used it to treat pain, , and . They also used it to treat problems with womens reproductive health. Since about the 1950s, black cohosh supplements have been used to ease symptoms of menopause. It may also help with other health issues. Some women who take black cohosh for menopause may find relief from , , and . Black cohosh has both benefits and side effects, so be sure to weigh the risksand talk with your doctorbefore adding this supplement to your diet.
Medications Changed By The Liver Substrates Interacts With Black Cohosh
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.Black cohosh might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking black cohosh along with some medications that are change by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking black cohosh talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline , clozapine , codeine, desipramine , donepezil , fentanyl , flecainide , fluoxetine , meperidine , methadone , metoprolol , olanzapine , ondansetron , tramadol , trazodone , and others.
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Use In Specific Populations
Generally, black cohosh is safe for most people who are not pregnant or nursing.
However, theres no need for the supplement to be given to children. Because it may affect hormone levels, it should only be given to adolescents at the direction of a qualified healthcare provider.
People with kidney disease should be cautious when using black cohosh, as little is known about the bodys ability to excrete it when the kidneys are damaged.
Additionally, given that one of the most severe potential side effects is liver damage, you should avoid black cohosh supplements if you have liver disease.
Does Black Cohosh For Menopause Really Work
Are you having trouble sleeping these days? Maybe every now and then feeling the effects of hot flashes while you are just sitting there doing nothing. Have you have heard about Black cohosh and wonder Does Black Cohosh Really Work For Menopause?
Perhaps your clothes dont seem to fit as they used to or youre not thinking as clearly as you quite use to be.
Hi there! My name is Robyn and today I want to share with you how I had those very same symptoms and how I controlled them using this strange but extremely effective natural supplement that I found.
Im going to tell you exactly how I did it and what I used to control my hot flashes and menopause moods.
I first started noticing small little changes when I was in my early 40s. Think it was around 44 when I went the full term of not having any periods.
That was the first telltale sign as I was getting headaches more often than normal. It was summertime and I just put it down to not drinking enough water through the day.
Then came the mood swings. My hubby got the brunt of these. God bless his little soul.
Has this ever happen to you? Some days I was such an emotional wreck. I can remember coming home from work early as they sent me home.
Crying all the way home about what I had no idea. As soon as I got home I went straight to the fridge, grabbed out my fav Ben & Jerry strawberry banana frozen yogurt and sat on the floor in the corner and ate it all.
We talked about HRT and the effects and benefits it will have for me.
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Treatments For Vaginal Dryness
The most effective treatment for vaginal dryness caused by decrease estrogen levels during menopause is estrogen therapy. Estrogen can increase the vaginaâs natural moisture and strengthen vaginal walls to prevent vaginal atrophy. However, estrogen therapy does not work for all women, and it can have some serious side effects.
Lubricants and moisturizers can help women with vaginal dryness, along with talking to a therapist to work out any relationship issues. Herbal remedies for vaginal dryness usually do not work better than the placebo effect, and more research needs to be done to figure out how well these herbs work. However, if black cohosh is working for you, then you should feel free to continue taking it under your physicianâs supervision. For more information on natural cures for vaginal dryness, click on the links below.
- National Institutes of Health. . Vaginal dryness alternative treatments. Retrieved September 30, 2015, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002142.htm
- Office of Dietary Supplements. . Black Cohosh. Retrieved September 30, 2015, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh-HealthProfessional/
- University of Maryland Medical Center. . Black Cohosh. Retrieved September 30, 2015, from https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/black-cohosh
Theres No Proof Black Cohosh Works
Theres really no good evidence that black cohosh makes any difference to menopausal symptoms, says Carpenter, who was the lead author of a major menopause report published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society in 2015. Theres plenty of anecdotal evidencewomen who say it helped them, Carpenter says, but overall, studies show that its no better than a placebo.In particular, Carpenter cites a 2012 Cochrane review that analyzed 16 randomized controlled trials of 2,027 perimenopausal and postmenopausal womenwomen who were either approaching menopause or who had already gone through it. After evaluating the studies, including their design, length, frequency of side effects, and other important factors, the reviewers concluded that when it comes to reducing the frequency of hot flashes, black cohosh worked no better than a placebo.Indeed, that placebo effect could explain why many women say black cohosh relieves their symptoms. We know that in studies women who are given placebos consistently experience a 30 percent reduction in hot flashes, Carpenter says. Women report fewer hot flashes during the day while taking a placebo, and they tell us theyre waking up fewer times in a sweat during the night, she says.
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Mood Changes Fatigue And Insomnia
Common mood changes that menopausal women experience include irritability, anxiety and depression. Mood changes often go hand-in-hand with poor sleep and fatigue, and night-time symptoms certainly contribute to this. Some herbal therapies have been found to benefit these symptoms.
Korean ginseng is traditionally used to help improve fatigue, physical exhaustion and loss of physical stamina. It may also increase vitality and improve your concentration. It is one of the most commonly self-prescribed herbs for menopausal symptoms because of its female hormonal properties and its ability to help you cope with stress.
Chamomile is a gentle sedative, and its relaxing action may be useful for aiding sleep and anxiety. Hops traditionally have been used to treat anxiety, stress and associated insomnia. Lemon balm, valerian and passionflower can aid sleep and reduce anxiety.
St Johnâs wort is used traditionally for mild to moderate anxiety, irritability and depressed mood associated with menopause.
Does Black Cohosh Actually Treat Hot Flushes Effectively
How successful black cohosh is in treating menopausal symptoms is up for debate. In 2010 a review concluded that menopausal women experienced a 26% reduction in night sweats and hot flushes when using black cohosh.10
However, a 2012 systematic review and meta-analysis of all the evidence on black cohosh and its effect on menopause symptoms concluded there was insufficient evidence one way or another, although this is partly as the data was incomplete and there were a lot of differences in the way each study was carried out.11
Nonetheless, the results on hot flushes, for example, showed that black cohosh made no difference to the frequency and intensity of these episodes when compared with a placebo. When black cohosh was compared to HRT, HRT proved to be more effective at treating symptoms.12
A 2016 systematic review also confirmed that there was no significant association between black cohosh supplementation and reduction in hot flushes.13
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Black Cohosh For Menopause Symptom And Hot Flash Relief
When we look to natural remedies for managing menopause symptoms, black cohosh is a prized ingredient. Native to North America, the flowering plant is a traditional medicine for hormonal discomforts including hot flashes and night sweats, moodiness and vaginal dryness.
Black cohosh has a long history as a health remedy. Native Americans used black cohosh as a tonic to support womens reproductive health a practice adopted by European settlers. The herb has been studied over the past several decades and we now have a body of modern research that backs up black cohoshs effectiveness as a natural remedy for menopause symptom relief.
Evening Primrose Oil Oenothera Biennis
Evening primrose oil originates from the seeds of the flowering plant and is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. It is widely self-prescribed and recommended by health professionals for treating hot flushes however, it has been shown to be no better than a placebo for hot flushes. It may be effective, combined with vitamin E, for premenstrual breast pain.
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How Is Black Cohosh Used During Menopause
Black cohosh has gained popularity for the alleviation of menopausal symptoms. This is because black cohosh root appears to act similarly to estrogen, the hormone that decreases during menopause and causes the majority of symptoms women experience during midlife.
Some of the most commonly reported menopausal symptoms, for which women use black cohosh include:
– Night sweats or excessive sweating
– Vaginal dryness
May Reduce Risk Of Osteoporosis
Theres more good news. A preliminary recent German study indicates that black cohosh may prevent bone loss in menopausal women. The study examined the effects of black cohosh extract on bone density in rats that had their ovaries removed. Typically, bone loss is accelerated after menopause, or in this case, after the removal of the rats ovaries, their main source of estrogen.
The rats were divided into three groups: one received a normal diet, the second group received a normal diet plus raloxifene and the third group was fed a normal diet with black cohosh extract.
The rats given black cohosh had significantly lower markers for bone loss in their urine. They also showed a reversal of the effects of ovariectomy on bone loss. These results were similar to the group given the prescription SERM, raloxifene, which is currently used to prevent osteoporosis. These exciting results led the researchers to conclude that a longer-term clinical trial of black cohosh for the treatment of osteoporosis is warranted.5
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