Black Cohosh – A Natural Hot Flash Chill Pill

A new generation of women is in the process of rediscovering black cohosh to relieve the hot flashes and night sweats that often accompany menopause. Black cohosh is also used to relieve menstrual cramps and the mood swings of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

The herb, known by its botanical name of Actaea racemosa, as well as the Latin name Cimicifuga racemosa, was originally used by Native Americans to treat gynecologic disorders long before European settlers arrived. Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, was used in the 1800s as a home remedy for arthritis and rheumatism, nervous conditions, and the relief of pain after childbirth. The U. S. Pharmacopoeia listed the root as an official drug from 1820 to 1926. Other common names for black cohosh include squaw root, black snakeroot, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattletop, rattleweed, and macrotys. It is a large bushy perennial plant which grows up to eight feet tall and has tall spikes of white flowers

There are several pros and cons to using black cohosh. The good news is that research shows black cohost has very few side effects. Most women do not suffer any adverse reaction to the natural supplement. Reported side effects include headaches and nausea. No adverse interaction has been reported between black cohosh and prescription drugs, but it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before using any alternative medicine supplements since people can be allergic to natural remedies as well as prescription drugs. For example, people who are allergic to aspirin should not take black cohosh since it contains salicyclic acid which was first used to manufacture the over-the-counter pain killer. It is also important not to confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) which contains a toxic substance.

The down side is that it is not clear if black cohosh is safe for pregnant women. Black cohosh also appears to act like estrogen in the human body. Some studies suggest that estrogen-like plant substances can stimulate the growth of breast tumors, so women with a history of breast cancer are advised to avoid black cohosh. It’s also not a good idea for breastfeeding mothers to use the herb because of its potential hormonal-like qualities. The long term effects of the herb are not known since clinical trials have only followed women taking black cohosh for six months or less.

Black cohosh is approved in Germany to treat PMS, menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms. Black cohosh is sold as a dietary supplement in the United States. Fresh or dried roots of black cohosh are used to make teas called infusions. The herb is also available in capsules, pills or liquid extracts.

An extract of black cohosh called Remifemin is the most widely studied natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy that is used to treat symptoms of menopause. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, Remifemin is a standardized preparation which contains black cohosh extract equivalent to 20 mg of root per tablet. Standardization ensures batch-to-batch consistency of products. Supplements are not required to be standardized in the United States.

Cassie Brill

canwest2010-02-08 21:38:15
Why is Black Cohosh giving me migraine headaches
Breast cancer2007-02-28 09:31:20
After reading information on your site.I was surprised to see that Black cohosh acts like estrogen and can stimulate the growth of breast tumours.I have breast cancer and was advised to take Black cohosh to help with sweats as i had to stop my HRT.I was told by my onogologist not to take any estrogen suppliments.So to thank you for this information and will stop taking Black cohosh.