Black Cohosh For Other Symptoms Of Menopause
Hot flashes arent the only unpleasant aspect of menopause and perimenopause but the good news is that black cohosh may help reduce some of those other symptoms, including:
- Depressed mood.
- Increased body pain.
Black cohosh is an excellent herb to support people experiencing menopausal symptoms to reduce pain, reduce fatigue and lift your mood just not consistently for hot flashes, Dr. Lin says.
Controlling Menopausal Symptoms Caused By Breast Cancer Treatment
Several studies looked into black cohosh to see if it is a safe and helpful treatment for women with breast cancer or who had breast cancer.
Some researchers thought that black cohosh might affect the body in a similar way to the hormone oestrogen. If so, it might trigger breast cancer cells to grow. This is especially so in women where oestrogen affects their type of breast cancer. Doctors call this type of cancer oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer.
But, other research suggested that black cohosh did not cause oestrogen-like activity. It behaved more like nerve signal transmitters. A nerve signal transmitter is a chemical that helps to carry an impulse between one nerve and the next.
Studies looking at black cohosh for menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer have had mixed results. Some show a benefit and others dont.
A study in 2011 looked at women who were taking the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen. They were also taking black cohosh for 6 months. The study found they had fewer and less severe hot flushes.
Getting accurate results in these studies was difficult. The researchers used different amounts of black cohosh from various sources. The studies also had different aims.
Hot Flushes And Night Sweats
Many herbal therapies have been tried for relief of hot flushes and night sweats in menopausal women. Some herbs have been found to be effective in reducing hot flushes, whereas others have been found to be no better than a placebo . Some have not been studied rigorously.
Black cohosh is perhaps the most extensively researched of all herbs used for managing menopausal symptoms. It is available in many different products, which vary in quality and effectiveness, and it can be combined with other herbs to tailor a formula specifically for hot flushes. Evidence is conflicting: some studies show it is effective and others do not.
St John’s wort, on its own or in combination with other herbs, has been shown to be significantly better than placebo in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. In combination with black cohosh or passionflower, St John’s wort may decrease hot flushes significantly and improve your mood compared to placebo.
Hops contain a potent phytoestrogen , and some research has shown that it may be useful for menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes.
Red clover also contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones that may help ease hot flushes and night sweats, but seemingly more so in women who are postmenopausal than perimenopausal .
Other herbal therapies such as dong quai, evening primrose, Korean ginseng and linseed continue to be used for hot flushes, but evidence is lacking, or shows they are no better than placebo.
Recommended Reading: Which Of The Following Best Describes Possible Symptoms Of Menopause
What Are The Risks Of Taking Black Cohosh
- Side effects from black cohosh include headaches and upset stomach, but there are many others. Side effects may be more likely to occur at high doses. There have been some people who may have developed liver problems after using black cohosh, the specifics of which are still being investigated. Nonetheless, people with pre-existing liver problems, or those taking any other medication/substance that affects the liver, should either avoid black cohosh or check in with their health care provider prior to use.
- Risks. Black cohosh may not be safe for:
- Women who are pregnant
- Women who have — or have had — breast cancer or uterine cancer
- Women who have endometriosis
Menopause And Menopause Symptoms
Alleviating menopause symptoms is the reason most people use black cohosh, and its one of the uses that has the most compelling evidence to support it.
In one study in 80 menopausal women who were experiencing hot flashes, those who supplemented with 20 mg of black cohosh daily for 8 weeks reported significantly fewer and less severe hot flashes than before they started the supplement .
Whats more, other human studies have confirmed similar findings. Though larger studies are needed, black cohosh appears to be beneficial for alleviating menopause symptoms .
Recommended Reading: Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Menopause
There’s 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 it’s 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.
Information About Black Cohosh
What is Black Cohosh? Black Cohosh , a member of the buttercup family, is a perennial plant that is native to North America. Other common names include black snakeroot, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattletop, rattleweed, and macrotys. Preparations of black cohosh are made from its roots and rhizomes .
What are the uses of Black Cohosh? Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, Mild Mood Changes. Black cohosh is an herb sold as a dietary supplement in the United States that is used for hot flashes, night sweats and mild mood disturbances seen during the menopause. The mechanism of action is not completely understood. However, it does not appear to act on target tissues such as the uterine lining, thereby no increase in bleeding should be seen with its use. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated that black cohosh may be helpful in the short term for women with vasomotor symptoms of menopause. Black Cohosh was previously believed to bind to the estrogen receptor and lower certain hormone levels. However, in recent studies, it has shown no estrogen binding or estrogen-like activities. This is important for women concerned about estrogen or estrogen-like remedies and supplements.
Read Also: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Black Cohosh Can Be Consumed In Various Ways
Black cohosh may be more effective as a powder or capsule than as tea.
Black cohosh is usually ingested in the form of pills, tea, and sometimes even in tincture form.
- Black Cohosh Tea: Traditionally, black cohosh tea is made by boiling 1 tsp black cohosh dried roots and leaves per cup of water for roughly 2030 minutes. Since it can be a little too bitter to taste, it is recommended to sweeten it with a little sugar or honey.
- Black Cohosh Pills: In the case of pills, black cohosh is mixed with other ingredients such as calcium, soy, and lemon bioflavonoid complex.
- Black Cohosh Powder: The root and the leaves are usually ground together to produce a fine, dry powder.
What Is Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is a plant cultivated in North America. It is known under the name of Actaea Racemosa and was believed to be used by Native Americans in medicine for muscle pain and arthritis. The mechanism of its action on human health leaves much to research, however, it acts as a phytoestrogen. Accordingly, black cohosh may resemble the functioning of estrogen hormone which is in charge of menopausal symptoms. Furthermore, it positively affects fertility, so women get increased chances of getting pregnant by taking it regularly in the form of a supplement. Still, this plant when used as health or dietary supplement should be discussed with the doctor, as it may cause side effects.
Also Check: Menopause Dizzy Spells
Induces Ovulation In Women With Pcos
One cause of infertility in women is the low level of estrogen in the body. The estrogen-like compounds present in black cohosh may induce ovulation and increase chances of pregnancy.
In a study, women with PCOS were given 20 mg black cohosh extract for a period of 20 days for 3 consecutive menstrual cycles. Post the treatment, the women showed a favorable ratio of reproductive hormones follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone . In addition, their level of progesterone was higher and their endometrial layer had thickened. By inducing ovulation, the black cohosh treatment had increased their pregnancy rates.6
How Much Black Cohosh Is Safe
How much black cohoshblack cohoshblack cohoshblack cohosh
. Moreover, can black cohosh make you gain weight?
Black cohosh can cause some mild side effects such as stomach upset, cramping, headache, rash, a feeling of heaviness, vaginal spotting or bleeding, and weight gain. There is also some concern that black cohosh may be associated with liver damage.
One may also ask, what time of day should I take black cohosh? You can use black cohosh at any time of day, but to reduce the chance of stomach upset, take it with meals.
Considering this, how long can you take black cohosh?
If you plan to take black cohosh, talk to your doctor about how to take it safely. You may be able to take it short-term , or possibly longer but with regular checkups to look for estrogen-related changes in the uterus and breasts.
What happens if you take too much black cohosh?
Side effects from black cohosh include headaches and upset stomach, but there are many others. Side effects may be more likely to occur at high doses. There have been some people who may have developed liver problems after using black cohosh, the specifics of which are still being investigated.
You May Like: Menopause Dizziness Treatment
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.
How Much Black Cohosh Should You Take
With all of the discussion between experts on the use of black cohosh, the common agreement on a beneficial time length is six months to one year. Black cohosh dosage amount clearly depends on the specific use of the herb, the product manufacturer, the additional ingredients as well as the form taken. A missed dose should not be compensated with an extra dosage or additional amounts at the next dosage time.
Mayo Clinic offers the following information on dosage for various conditions based on clinical studies.
Also Check: Heightened Sense Of Smell Perimenopause
Impressive Health Benefits Of Black Cohosh
Black cohosh contains active ingredients such as serotonin-like compounds and phytoestrogen. Furthermore, black cohosh is packed with tannins, triterpenes, essential fatty acids, isoflavones, and certain starches.
You may have heard of black cohosh in relation to its potential in treating symptoms of menopause. But thats not the only health benefit this flowering plant found in the United States and Canada offers. Actaea racemosa or black cohosh, which gets its name from the black roots, has a long history of medicinal usage among the Native Americans. Heres a look at some of the proven benefits.
Is Black Cohosh Safe For Everyone
From the several studies done on black cohosh, it is found to be associated with few adverse reactions. The reported side effects include
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Joint or muscle pain
The duration of all the studies conducted on black cohosh is six months or less. Safety data on the long-term use of black cohosh are lacking. Hence, physicians often recommend taking the black cohosh for no more than six months.
Black cohosh is not safe for everyone. There are several reports of patients with some bad effects on the liver such as
Physicians recommend avoiding black cohosh if you have any problem with your liver. Always use it under medical supervision. Discontinue its use and consult your doctor if you develop symptoms of liver trouble, such as abdominal pain, dark urine or jaundice.
You May Like: Sweet Potato Menopause
How Can I Increase My Estrogen Naturally
Korean Ginseng Panax Ginseng
The ginseng root is a Chinese medicinal ‘adaptogenic’ herb, which is a herb that may promote resistance to external and internal stresses and may improve your physical and mental function.
It may be used for relief of menopausal symptoms, stress, fatigue, physical exhaustion and loss of stamina. It is said to heighten your vitality and concentration and improve your sexual function and arousal. One study showed that ginseng improved the number of hot flushes compared to placebo, but overall it did not improve symptoms of hot flushes.
Precautions: Korean ginseng has been associated with postmenopausal vaginal bleeding . This could be related to an anticoagulant or oestrogenic effect of the herb. It should be used with caution in those on anticoagulant medications, such as warfarin, heparin and aspirin, and stopped a week before any surgery.
If you have hypertension , or drink excessive amounts of caffeine , you should not take Korean ginseng. It is also said perhaps to worsen infections, so is best avoided. You should only ever use it short-term .
Recommended Reading: Is Lightheadedness A Symptom Of Menopause
Black Cohosh Actaea Racemosa
For centuries, Native North American women have used black cohosh for menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms.
Black cohosh is the most extensively researched of all herbs used for managing menopausal symptoms, and is available in many different formulations, which vary in quality and efficacy. Many of the clinical studies of black cohosh have used the commercially available product Remifemin®, or the extract Ze 450 .
It is not clear how black cohosh acts on the body. It does not appear to act like the female hormone oestrogen, but may be involved in modulating oestrogenic pathways in the body. It may mimic the actions of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Precautions: black cohosh should be taken only for as long as your menopausal symptoms persist. It is generally well tolerated, although can cause headaches in some women. Headaches usually stop if the dose is reduced for a while, then gradually increased again.
Black cohosh is often used in early menopause brought on by cancer treatments, especially breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer. Of all the herbs, black cohosh has the most research about its safety in support of its use. It appears to be safe in breast cancer patients, although further research is needed. Women with breast cancer or other hormone-dependent tumours should always talk to their doctor before taking black cohosh.
Taking Black Cohosh For Hot Flashes
Today, the roots and underground stems of black cohosh are turned into herbal supplements in the form of capsules, powders and teas and marketed as a way to reduce hot flashes.
Hot flashes, which are due in part to estrogen withdrawal, are the most common complaint during menopause, impacting up to 80% of women. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:
- Profuse sweating.
But can black cohosh actually help get rid of hot flashes? Researchers arent convinced. The application of black cohosh for hot flashes is relatively new to the 20th century, but research as a whole has not been supportive of this use, Dr. Lin says.
One of the phytochemicals in black cohosh has a serotonin-like effect, which may impact the bodys ability to regulate temperature and ultimately help to reduce hot flashes but its not a sure thing. Not all black cohosh plants express the gene-encoding enzyme required to make this phytochemical, Dr. Lin explains.
One study found no significant difference between participants who took black cohosh and those who took a placebo.
Recommended Reading: Can You Go Into Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
Black Cohosh Side Effects
Black cohosh has been studied since the 1950s and is considered safe for women using the correct dosage for their menopause symptoms. At very high dosages and extended use , there is risk, though extremely rare, for liver injury and jaundice. Black cohosh should be used during pregnancy only with the advice of a womens health practitioner as it may stimulate labor.
Other rare side effects from high doses of black cohosh include:
- Gastrointestinal upset