The menopause is a significant time in every woman’s life, where the changes in the body are highlighted by physical and mental discomforts. Menopausal women can experience a range of emotional upheavals, as well as hot flushes, night sweats and sleep disturbances that make day-to-day life uncomfortable.
Although Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a popular option for dealing with the changes that the body experiences, it does have its risks; it can increase the chances of cancer, strokes and heart disease. However, there are natural alternatives, that deal with side-effects without filling the body with hormones.
One of these is a supplement derived from the black cohosh plant. Black Cohosh is a member of the buttercup family, and is native to the United States. It was first used by Native Americans, who harvested the root to treat menstrual cramps, hot flashes and stomach upsets. When European settlers arrived in the United States, they adopted the remedy, and it’s popularity as a natural menopause treatment was established.
Today, the dried root is available in tablet and tea form and, sold widely in health food stores, is still one of the most popular choices for women looking to treat their menopause symptoms naturally!
But what do we know about Black Cohosh and how it works? Well, the truth is that it still isn’t entirely understood; at one point it was believed to behave like oestrogen in the body, but this has since been discounted. However, the plant is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, and a slight sedative effect, which may explain why it is effective for hot flashes and night disturbances. Black cohosh also contains salicylic acid, which is a component of aspirin, and may contribute to the plant’s pain-killing qualities.
What Are the Side Effects?
Black Cohosh is considered a safe herbal remedy, but some people may experience unpleasant side-effects whilst taking it; these can include stomach upsets and headaches, sweating, low blood pressure and even weight gain. As with any supplement, it is important not to exceed the recommended dosage, as this could lead to liver damage, and in extreme cases, seizures.
People with any kind of condition that affects their natural hormone levels should consult a doctor before taking black cohosh. Pregnant and lactating women are advised to avoid the drug altogether, since there is evidence to suggest that black cohosh can stimulate contractions.
What the Papers Say:
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What the Studies Say:
- Although black cohosh is widely believed to be safe, many scientists maintain that more research into the supplement needs to be done to ensure it is safe for long-term use. At this time, the recommended length of use is a maximum of six months.
Early studies in Germany found that black cohosh was effective in relieving menopausal symptoms. And in a separate study, 120 women were tested and confirmed that black cohosh was more effective at relieving these symptoms than Prozac-type antidepressants.
- A 2009 study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) didn’t find black cohosh to be any more effective than a placebo. However, they did still recognize that it was a widely-used supplement that did provide relief to many menopausal women. The author of the study stated:
“The high percentage of women discussing use of black cohosh with allopathic practitioners was encouraging. The high acceptance rate of its use by health care practitioners may be due to the fact that black cohosh is one of the few herbal preparations documented to relieve the symptoms of menopause.”
My night sweats have stopped!
This supplement has stopped occasional seasons of night sweats, no side effects. I discontinue it until symptoms return, which may be months at a time.– LinMondy (Menopause)
It worked wonderfully!
This worked wonderfully for the hot flashes and night sweats I experienced.– beekeeper61 (Menopause)
I never needed HRT!
I believe this is God’s gift to women. I am amazed with the results. I have never filled the prescription the MD gave me for HRT. Make sure that you are taking it faithfully in order to see the results. I tried previously as part of a pill containing several other herbs, I found the plain black cohosh extract worked better for me.– smtickle1 (Menopause)
My husband can see a change in me!
Just started homeopathic menopause and so far so good better than medial medicine my moods seem to be better and my husband can all ready see a change in me.– hawklady (Menopause)
Watch the dosage!
BUT…watch the dosage as it can effect your gut making it sensitive and your bowels real active!– laurashirley (Menopause)