Black Cohosh Cimicifuga Racemosa

Black cohosh is a plant native to North America that has traditionally been used by Native Americans for a number of gynecological conditions. Its modern use has been predominantly for treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. The active ingredients in black cohosh have yet to be identified. The estrogenic isoflavone formononetin was thought to be partially responsible for its actions; however, this isoflavone has recently been shown to be entirely absent in some black cohosh products (2). The mechanism of action of black cohosh also remains unknown. Although it was initially thought to activate estrogen receptors, recent studies regarding its estrogenic properties have been conflicting (3,4).

A recent review of alternative therapies for menopausal symptoms identified three randomized, controlled clinical trials in favor of black cohosh (5). These studies contained small sample sizes and were of short duration (6 months or less). One trial of black cohosh on hot flashes in women with breast cancer failed to reveal a positive response (6). This may represent the difficulty in treating patients with medication-induced hot flashes, rather than an overall ineffectiveness of the herbal therapy. No data currently exist to support the use of black cohosh for the prevention of osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease.

It should be noted that no published clinical trials to date have gone beyond 6 months in duration. This is important since many women may turn to using black cohosh as an alternative to long-term hormone replacement therapy. Information regarding the effects of long-term use of this herb on vaginal, endometrial, or breast tissue is not available. Short-term data on its stimulatory effect on vaginal epithelium have been conflicting (4,7).

Black cohosh has been associated with mild gastrointestinal side effects that may be self-limited (8). Overdose can lead to dizziness, tremors, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. One case report of nocturnal seizures occurring in a woman who took black cohosh, primrose oil, and chaste tree exists (9). One case of fulminant hepatic failure after 1 week of therapy with black cohosh alone has also been reported (10). No clinically significant drug interactions are known.

Natural Cures For Menopause

Natural Cures For Menopause

Are Menopause Symptoms Playing Havoc With Your Health and Relationships? Are you tired of the mood swings, dryness, hair loss and wrinkles that come with the change of life? Do you want to do something about it but are wary of taking the estrogen or antidepressants usually prescribed for menopause symptoms?

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