Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) has traditionally been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other joint pains but in the last 20 years or so it has been found to be extremely effective in treating menopausal symptoms. The symptom of hot flushes appears to be alleviated the most by using this herb but also psychological such as mood swings and depression have been alleviated.
How Does It Help Menopause?
At this point in time researchers are still unaware as to how it chemically and hormonally affects menopausal women but “according to Tsukamoto S, Aburatani M, Ohta T. Isolation of CYP3A4 Inhibitors from the Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2005;2:223-6, they do know is that it has oestrogen-like effects without interrupting our normal levels of oestrogen and other sex hormones.”
Having an oestogenic effect aids natural menopause relief due to the lower levels of natural oestrogen seen in menopausal women.
In this study however they did discover that Black cohosh does ‘act as a partial agonist at serotonin receptors.’ This in effect helps the depression symptoms seen in menopause by increasing the amount of circulating serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical found in the cells of brain and intestinal tissue. When serotonin is low, you may suffer from depression and certain gastrointestinal upsets.
Is Black Cohosh Better Than HRT?
Whether Black cohosh works better than HRT is up to the individual who is using it. However, one study, “Nappi RE, Malavasi B, Brundu B, Facchinetti F. Efficacy of Cimicifuga racemosa on climacteric complaints: a randomized study versus low-dose transdermal estradiol. Gynecol Endocrinol 2005;20:30-5, revealed that 20mg of standardized Black cohosh was comparable to Estraderm 25mcg every 7 days.”
This is terrific news for those women whom choose natural menopause relief. Many women are choosing to use women’s herbs such as Black cohosh as they are not in direct competition with our own hormone receptors. Synthetic hormones such as HRT are not an exact match for our receptors so they do cause some unwanted side-effects.
Is Black cohosh Safe to Use?
Yes, it is safe to use. Some women have reported gastrointestinal upsets, dizziness and cramping but overall these symptoms came from disputable studies.
Black cohosh and Breast Cancer
It is advisable not to use Black cohosh if you have or have had breast cancer. It is advisable to check with your Doctor if this is a concern for you.
What Dosage do I Need To Use?
Most of the studies done with Black cohosh and menopause have been successful using a dose of 20mg of Remifemin twice daily. Remifemin is the brand of Black cohosh used in the trials.