Black Cohosh for Hot Flushes
Saturday, September 18th 2004
Black Cohosh was a key ingredient in one of the 19th century's most popular patent medicines, Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, introduced in 1876 to treat "female weakness" - that is, menstrual and menopausal complaints. Lydia was right. Based on decades of clinical experience, Germany's Commission E, the expert panel that judges the safety and effectiveness of herbal medicines, endorses Black cohosh for premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps and menopausal complaints.
Many studies have shown Black Cohosh particularly effective for hot flushes. Recently a report by Columbia University researchers analysed 29 studies of various alternative treatments for the symptoms associated with menopause. Only Black Cohosh had convincing evidence of effectiveness.
Menopausal indications include physical: hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, heart palpitations and vaginal atrophy. Psychological: depression, anxiety, nervousness, sleep disturbances and decreased libido.
History of Black Cohosh use
The herbally oriented doctors of the 1800's were called the Eclectics who took their cue from Native Americans. They prescribed Black Cohosh to treat "female complaints" including menstrual problems, hormonal imbalances, fibroid cysts, and false and true labour pains. They also recommended the herb to calm the nervous system, reduce pain after labour or relieve painful, late menstrual periods.
After the 1930's, pharmaceuticals started to replace herbal remedies as the treatment of choice in the USA, but the experience of the Eclectic physicians was not lost. Their knowledge of many Native American herbs made its way to Europe where German researchers, aware of the clinical effectiveness of some of these remedies began looking for marketable products among them. Today, Black Cohosh remains on a European short list of proven herbal remedies for "women's conditions".
How does Black Cohosh work?
The first stages of the menstrual cycle are mostly influenced by estrogen. Estrogen has a profound effect on emotions. If the cycle is balanced, the estrogen output stimulates libido and promotes a zest for life. When estrogen is low or unbalanced, severe mood swings, endometriosis, cramping, painful menstruation and other menstrual irregularities occur in pre-menopausal women. Black Cohosh is beneficial for women experiencing menopause symptoms marked by a decrease of estrogen such as hot flushes.
In one clinical trial,(a standardized extract of Black Cohosh used over a 12 week period was shown to produce symptomatic relief comparable to that of hormone replacement therapy without the risk of serious side effects.
Nature's Way Standardized Black Cohosh tablets(purple label) has a dose based on the approved German strength of 27- deoxyacteine and 2.5% Triterpine glycosides.
Reproduced unabridged from the July - September 2004 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health
The following products are all useful for Hot Flushes and Hormonal Balancing:
Related health information can be found here:
DIM Plus to assist in cancer prevention
Herbal phytoestrogens and menopause
Protein - A macronutrient so often overlooked
Multi-Power the energy pack
Suffering from menopausal or menstrual problems? Then consider Dong Quai - the queen of female herbs
Suffering from menopausal symptoms? Femitone may help
Vitex agnus castus
Wild Yam can help relieve PMT and other menstrual problems
Related articles can be found here:
Balance your estrogen/ testosterone levels naturally with DIM (Dinndolylmethane)
Balance your hormones the Peruvian way - The amazing Maca
Critical pregnancy nutrition
Iron helps women's brain power
Red Raspberry eases pregnancy
The traditional balancing herb for women
If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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