HERB: Black cohosh
AKA: Cimicifuga racemosa, black snakeroot, rattleroot, bugbane, bugwort and squawroot
BIRTHPLACE: Root and rhizome
WHAT IT DOES BEST: Black cohosh is most widely known for its use in relieving menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes.
THE BACKGROUND: Historically, Native Americans used it for a wide variety of conditions, including rheumatism, sore throat, asthma, bronchitis and general fatigue; early American settlers used it in tonics for "female complaints."
RECENT FINDINGS: Significant improvements in symptoms of menopause--including night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and insomnia--have been reported in a number of studies, which mostly used standardized black cohosh extract (BCE). These findings were supported by a large human trial published in the May 2005 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, which found that standardized BCE is effective in reducing hot flashes during early menopause.
WHAT'S THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT? The main actives identified so far are collectively known as triterpene glycosides.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: At recommended dosages, some women experience upset stomachs, weight gain and dizziness. At high dosages, lowered blood pressure, limb pain and vomiting can occur.
IS IT SAFE TO TAKE WHILE PREGNANT? Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use black cohosh.
ARE THERE ANY DRUG INTERACTIONS? If taking heart disease or blood pressure medications, consult with your doctor before using.
WHICH TYPE AND HOW MUCH: Black cohosh is available as a standardized extract in capsules or tablets, as dry extract in capsules or tablets and as a tincture.
Standardized BCE provides 1mg of triterpene glycosides per 40mg capsule or tablet. (Dry extracts are liquid alcohol extracts that have been dried. Tinctures are liquid alcohol extracts.)
* Standardized extract: 1-2 capsules or tablets twice daily with meals, or as directed.
* Solid (dry) extract: 250mg three times daily, or as directed.
* Tincture (liquid alcohol extract): 2-4ml daily, or as directed.
Black cohosh should not be taken longer than six months at a time.
SOURCE NATURALS' BLACK COHOSH might just be what is needed to help reduce hot flashes.
SUNDOWN's BLACK COHOSH WHOLE HERB capsules can be a good source of BCE.
WAKUNAGA's ESTRO LOGIC blends black cohosh with astragalus, chastetree berry, sage, wild yam and motherwort to aid hormone regulation.
HERB PHARM's BLACK COHOSH TINCTURE can be easily added to your coffee, tea, juice or water.
JARROW FORMULAS' WOMEN'S MIDLIFE EASE includes phytoestrogens to promote hormone balance during menopause.
Amber D. Ackerson, ND
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