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Black Cohosh for Menopause

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 27 Feb 2012 | comments*Discuss
Black Cohosh Menopause Estrogenic

The Natural Secrets of Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is also known as Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Bugwort, and Squawroot. This plant is native to shady woodlands in the United States and Canada. It is easily recognized from its rich green leaves, and tall flowering stems, which are covered with white blossoms. It is also known for its unpleasant scent. Its root is almost black and thick and knotted. Through the ages, the Native Americans and Aborigines were fond of using as a comforting brew for rheumatism, reducing inflammation of painful joints, improving circulation and relieving pain. Black cohosh contains vitamins A and B5, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, lipids and resin.

How Black Cohosh Works

Studies have led scientists to believe that Black Cohosh works on two levels. Firstly, it comes from a family of plants well known for their ability to deaden pain, so Black Cohosh acts as a painkiller. Beyond this, Black Cohosh contains a collection of steroid like compounds that are thought to be at the root of its anti-inflammatory activity. These compounds are believed to act locally (applied) and generally (taken internally) to reduce joint inflammation.

Black Cohosh has been found to contain chemicals that affect the female reproductive tract, two noted examples being formononetin and cimicifugoside. Formononetin, an isoflavonoid, has been shown to stimulate the production of estrogen and to have an anti-cancer activity. Formononetin has also been shown to be a fungicide. The presence of this anti-fungal agent can improve and prevent symptoms of Candid Albicans (thrush).

Black Cohosh and Menopause

Black Cohosh can also help to ease the passage into menopause. The herb has weak estrogenic effects which help reduce the number, severity and frequency of hot flushes and night sweats as well as warding off insomnia, mood swings, nervousness, irritability, heart palpitations and headaches. Many practitioners would recommend the short term use - up to six months- of black cohosh as a natural alternative to HRT.

Most studies of black cohosh have used the extract known as Remifemin, which is standardized to contain 1 mg of terpene glycosides per 20-mg tablet. The most commonly used dosage of Remifemin is two 20-mg tablets twice daily. Maximum effect usually occurs in four to eight weeks.

It is interesting to note that another compound found in Black Cohosh, cimicifugin, has been found to reduce blood pressure. As well as this, cimicifugin has been shown to increase coronary circulation to the heart, which may make Black Cohosh of interest to women who have already developed heart disease.

  • Applications; the rootstock should be collected in the fall, after the leaves have died down and the fruit has appeared. Decoction: boil 2-tsp. rootstock in 1 pint of water. Take 2 to 3 tbsp. 6 times a day, cold.

  • Fluid extract: a dose is from 5-30 drops in liquid daily.

  • Tincture: made by half-filling a pint or quart bottle with the powdered root, adding diluted alcohol (not rubbing alcohol) or whisky until the bottle is full, and agitating once or twice a day for two weeks. Doses range from 1-30 drops in a tsp. of water.
Black cohosh can be purchased in capsule form and the recommended dosage is 1 capsule, 3 times daily.

Caution; excessive intake of Black cohosh can cause nausea, vomiting and vertigo.

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