A Tall Perennial Herb
Other names: Black Snake Root, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Squaw Root, Bugbane, Bugwort, Cimicifuga, Richweed
Black Cohosh Root is from a tall perennial herb that grows abundantly in eastern North America. The blackish, cylindrical root of this plant gives this herb its name.
Black cohosh has become famous in recent years as a treatment for menopause. Black cohosh seems to produce an estrogen-like effect that reduces symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Although preliminary evidence is encouraging, studies continue on the use of black cohosh for menopausal symptoms.
Many herbalists continue to use black cohosh for PMS symptoms. Commission E approves its use for climacteric (decrease of reproductive capacity) complaints and PMS.
According to many reports black cohosh reduces major symptoms for many women including:
- Fluid retention.
- Breast pain.
The improvement in premenstrual symptoms, dysmenorrhea and menopause may be due to the relaxing of uterine tissue (Tyler, 1997).
Black cohosh also has a history of use for rheumatism (arthritis and muscle pain); however, there are not enough reliable data to determine whether black cohosh is effectie for rheumatism or other uses.
Black Cohosh Extract
The medicinal part is the fresh and dried root.
Black Cohosh Extract is recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for relief of some menopausal symptoms. This product helps maintain balanced moods and healthy sleep patterns during menopause. It helps reduce hot flashes and supports hormonal balance during perimenopause and menopause.
Black Cohosh Extract standardized to 2.5 percent triterpene glycosides provides isoflavones and other constituents clinically prevent to support a woman's health during perimenopause.
Possible Adverse Effects
Black cohosh usually has not been used for long periods. Black cohosh can cause mild stomach discomfort and headaches among some, but this is rare. Clinical trials comparing estrogens with black cohosh preparations have shown a low incidence of adverse effects associated with black cohosh.
The use of Black Cohosh is contraindicated during pregnancy due to an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.
Black Mark Against Black Cohosh?
A National Institutes of Health study says the herb black cohosh won't relieve menopausal symptoms, but ten other studies published in the past four years showed positive results. Mark Blumenthal, PhD, executive director of the American Botanical Council, says, "One study shouldn't negate all of that". Blumenthal says the particular black cohosh extract used in the newest study may be chemically different from the one in the promising studies.
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