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Black Cohosh—Some Studies Link it to Helping with PMS and Menopause, While Others do Not

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As we talked about in the first part of this article, millions of women every day deal with the symptoms of either premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause. Many women are turning to natural remedies to try to help them feel better, and black cohosh is one of them. One study of black cohosh found that taking it on a regular basis led to a relief of menopausal symptoms for up to six months.

Other research on black cohosh didn’t fare quite as well. A recent year-long study of 351 peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women found that taking the herbal remedy didn’t cause any benefits to women in regards to their hot flashes or night sweats. The study, which was conducted by researchers from the National Institute on Aging and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, gave the subjects either black cohosh, black cohosh with other herbs, black cohosh and other herb combo plus a soy-rich diet, hormone replacement therapy, or a placebo. As you can probably tell, the researchers really tried to test a lot of different combinations and products for the relief of menopausal symptoms, but each treatment group ended up having a pretty small number of women. The researchers who led the study admit that some changes might not have been noticed. So overall, it seems to me like black cohosh could stand to be tested some more in larger studies before any major conclusions are made about the herbal remedy.

You might have picked up on the fact that the last study mentioned tested hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, along with black cohosh. This is interesting because a lot of women have turned to herbs like black cohosh because they do not want to take HRT or they cannot tolerate it. While black cohosh does not appear to stimulate the growth of breast tumors like HRT has been linked to possibly doing, it also does not provide the protection from heart disease and osteoporosis like HRT may provide.

What about premenstrual symptoms? Black cohosh seems to do pretty well in this regard. Because it has been found to have natural substances that prevent spasms, it might help women who have super painful cramps. And because of its apparent ability to stabilize hormone levels in certain parts of the body, it might help with PMS as well. And for the women who get painful migraines related to their menstrual cycles, black cohosh might help reduce the chances of getting them. But again, more research is definitely needed in this area to back up these assertions.

If you decide to give black cohosh a try and if you want to purchase the capsules or tablets, be sure to look on the bottle for the term “2.5% triterpenes glycosides”. This is the active ingredient in black cohosh and the amount that was often used in clinical trials. If you go with a tincture, this amount should be even higher, or about five percent.

If you are already taking HRT, black cohosh may interfere with these medications, so be sure to consult with your physician first if you want to give black cohosh a try. It might also not get along well with some medications for high blood pressure so again, caution is needed and please consult with your physician first.

Have you tried black cohosh before, or are you currently taking it? If you are, please feel free to share your experiences by commenting on this article below. Did it ease your symptoms of PMS or menopause, or do you tend to do better with another herbal remedy or medication? I look forward to reading your comments!





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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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