Recently, at my Orange County, CA practice, I had a few patients ask me about Menopause symptoms, and natural remedies that are out there, whether they are safe and effective. Here is a summary of my research on three most common herbs that are out there. Black Cohosh is one of them.
Black Cohosh is a plant native to North America and it is the most widely studied herb for menopausal symptoms after isoflavones (soy). Most research done shows effectiveness of Black Cohosh, but the exact mechanism of action of this botanical is not clear. There are some older studies that suggest Black Cohosh has estrogenic activity (and link it to cancer), but all the newer studies found no effect on LH & FSH levels, Sex hormones, and estradiols; in simple terms newer research shows no link between cancer and Black Cohosh. A study done in 2003 done by University of Illinois at Chicago (National Institute of Health Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research in Women’s Health) demonstrates that Black Cohosh relieves hot flashes and improves mood through its act on seretonin receptors and NOT through estrogenic activity. in 2003, Amercican Association for Cancer Research raised concerns about metastatic activities of Black Cohosh due to an abstract presented on infected mice (transgenic mouse model). This was never published, and its value is questionable. To the contrary, both in vitro investigations with breast cancer cells and in vivo data show no stimulation of estrogen-dependent mammary gland tumors with black cohosh.
Safety and efficacy of Black Cohosh determined by various research articles have been summarized in a table. This shows very promising results for women suffering from menopausal symptoms primarily hot flashes, and mood swings.
Black Cohosh is proven safe when used upto six months, although if under a physician’s supervision, women can continue taking the supplements and have close to no side effects. Some of the side effects associated with Black Cohosh are: Gastric complaints which are temporary, headaches (with higher dosage), vommiting, and dizziness and it is contraindicated in women who are pregnant or lactating! no drug interactions have been documented except that it interferes with effectiveness of Hormone Replacement Therapy and Oral contraceptives.
So far we’ve been able to eliminate Black Cohosh’ risk and association with Cancer; the only other negative claim with Black Cohosh is Liver Toxicity. The cases of Liver failure that have been reported the purity and composition of the products taken by individuals is under question; but it’s been enough to put a warning on the supplements.
In summary, Black Cohosh is a great option as an alternative therapy for relief menopausal symptoms, with an overall positive safety profile for up to six months.
Are you experiencing symptoms associated with Menopause? Are you tired of taking medication and want to try natural remedies? Call me for a complimentary consultation to discuss the symptoms you are experiencing at 949.922.3465. You can also visit my website to get more information.