A Natural Alternative Treatment For Menopausal Symptoms
Black cohosh extract is extracted from the root of the black cohosh or actaea racemosa flowering plant that has been in use for centuries. Today, black cohosh extract has been accepted as an alternative treatment of menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, excessive sweating, irritability, mood disturbances, vaginal dryness, etc. In fact, it has been widely in use for the same reasons in many European countries, especially Germany. Apart from its effectiveness in treating menopausal symptoms, studies have also highlighted several other black cohosh extract benefits.
Black Cohosh Extract Benefits
In the article “Nonestrogen treatment modalities for vasomotor symptoms,” several clinical trials, which used non-estrogenic options like black cohosh extract to treat menopause, have been reviewed. The researchers discovered that supplements that contain black cohosh extract can prove to be effective for vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause.
In the study “Pilot evaluation of black cohosh,” it was seen that taking a commercial preparation of black cohosh extract reduced abnormal sweating, fatigue and sleeping problems in women between the ages of 38 and 80. None of the women experience any side effects serious enough to make them want to discontinue the use of the product. It was concluded that black cohosh extract can indeed reduce hot flashes and is mostly safe to use.
In the study “Growth inhibitory activity of extracts,” the effect of a black cohosh extract from the plant’s rhizomes was studied on specific human breast cancer cell lines. It was discovered that not only were the MCF7 human breast cancer cells inhibited from growing, but cellular cycle arrest was also promoted at G1. The study “Evaluation of Cell Death Caused by Triterpene Glycosides” even reveals that a special black cohosh extract promoted apoptosis producing an antiproliferative effect on the MCF7 breast cancer cell line that was studied.
Despite the lack of enough research, evidence presented by studies like “Effects of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) on bone turnover” suggest that phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogens contained in black cohosh extract, can inhibit bone loss like that associated with osteoporosis.
Black Cohosh Extract Dosage
The article about black Cohosh on MayoClinic.org suggests that children under the age of 18 should not use any product containing black cohosh extract. As for adults, specifically women, the recommended dosage depends on why a woman wants to take black cohosh extract. Postmenopausal women who want to increase bone density should take a supplement containing at 40 mg black cohosh extract orally for up to 3 months. To treat menopausal symptoms, women can take a supplement containing anywhere between 6.5 mg and 160 mg black cohosh extract orally every day for up to a year.
Black Cohosh Extract Side Effects
In the book “Complete Commission E Monographs,” one possible side effect that can be occasionally experienced while taking black cohosh extract is gastrointestinal discomfort. Circulatory problems, dizziness, impaired vision and vomiting can also be experienced if the dosage mentioned above is exceeded.
Studies like “Black cohosh: an alternative therapy for menopause?” advice lactating and pregnant women to avoid using black cohosh extract. Even those with high blood pressure, or suffering from kidney or liver problems should consult with their doctor before using it. Nonetheless, a majority of research suggests that taking black cohosh extract for limited periods of times and following recommended dosage is apparently safe. Studies like “In vitro formation of quinoid metabolites” have also confirmed that black cohosh extract does not contain any toxic metabolites.
- Ann Pharmacother. Nonestrogen treatment modalities for vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause.
- Cancer Invest. Pilot evaluation of black cohosh for the treatment of hot flashes in women.
- Breast Cancer Res Treat. Growth inhibitory activity of extracts and purified components of black cohosh on human breast cancer cells.
- Biol Pharm Bull. Evaluation of Cell Death Caused by Triterpene Glycosides and Phenolic Substances from Cimicifuga racemosa Extract in Human MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells.
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa, Actaea racemosa).
- Integrative Medicine Publications. Complete Commission E Monographs.
- Nutr Clin Care. Black cohosh: an alternative therapy for menopause?
- Chem Res Toxicol. In vitro formation of quinoid metabolites of the dietary supplement Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh).