Archive for Menopause

Black Cohosh – Natural Menopause Relief

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Black Cohosh for Menopause ReliefIn Europe, black cohosh is used to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, psychological difficulties, and associated weight gain. It is also reputed to be helpful for premenstrual problems and painful menstrual cramps.

Native Americans prized black cohosh and used it for a variety of purposes. The settlers learned about it from the Indians, but by the middle of the nineteenth century it was renowned as being helpful for women’s problems, and other uses were more or less forgotten.

Effect of Black Cohosh is Impressive

Some of the evidence on the clinical effect of black cohosh for menopause is impressive. In one study, sixty women under forty years of age who had undergone hysterectomy were divided into groups. One group got conjugated estrogen (available in the United States under the brand name Premarin), one was given estriol (another form of estrogen), a third received an estrogen-gestagen sequence, and the fourth group of women took a black cohosh extract.

Bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes disappeared slowly over the course of four weeks, and at that point there was no difference in response among the four groups. This suggests that black cohosh may be as good at treating symptoms of menopause as are conventional estrogen treatments.

Beginning research indicates that black cohosh can also lower cholesterol and strengthen bone, as estrogen does.

The usual daily dose is equivalent to 40 mg of the herb. It may take four weeks to get the maximum benefit; the herb should not be taken for more than six months until there is more information available on long-term effects.

Black cohosh was a key ingredient in an immensely popular patent medicine, Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.  Black cohosh has been used for menopausal symptoms in recent years. The portion of the plant used is underground: the rhizome and roots. The main ingredients are triterpene glycosides, especially actein, related compounds, and cimigoside. Black cohosh also contains tannins, fatty acids, and phytosterols. In a laboratory test of estrogenic activity, black cohosh extract did not bind to estrogen receptors.

American Indians treated sore throats and rheumatism with this herb, but these uses have not been scrutinized by modern medical studies.

Special Precautions :  Although black cohosh is not mutagenic or carcinogenic and does not cause birth defects in animals, authorities caution pregnant women not to use it. There is a report of premature birth associated with the herb and worries that it could trigger miscarriage.

This plant, native to North American forests, has a number of popular names: bugbane, black snakeroot, rattleroot, and squaw root. It sends up graceful tall spires of white flowers; the black in its common name refers to the root or rhizome, as does cohosh, Algonquian for “rough.”

How about you? Do you have experience using black cohosh for menopausal relief… or know someone who has? Share your experience in the comments below. We’d love to know what you think!


Alternative Therapies for Menopause

Monday, June 6th, 2011
Alternative Menopause Therapy

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Menopause can be very disruptive in the lives of women who experience hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms. Hormone therapy scares have led many women to seek alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms such as osteoporosis and postmenopausal cardiovascular disease.

Alternative therapies for irritability and depression during menopause are also being explored. Below are some remedies that are believed to alleviate menopausal side effects:

  • Soy – Scientific tests show that bone density is increased and depression, irritability and hot flashes are lessened. Although soy can decrease some symptoms associated with menopause, large amounts must be ingested for it to be completely effective.
  • Natural Progesterone – Extracted from plant sources, “natural” progesterone has been widely used to treat menopausal symptoms, but no scientific evidence exists to prove its effectiveness.
  • Fish Oils – Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can be a positive component in preventing cardiovascular disease in menopausal women. You can get it through the consumption of fish or via a fish oil capsule if it’s more convenient.
  • Magnesium – Studies have found that the use of magnesium significantly increases bone mineral density in both the elderly and menopausal women.
  • Evening Primrose Oil – Commonly used to treat symptoms associated with menopause, Evening Primrose Oil may reduce hot flashes and depression. Read More→