Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racimosa)

Black Cohosh has been used successfully to control menopausal symptoms in a high percentage of women. It may need to be taken for several weeks before benefits are noticed. It is often found sold as an extracted form called RemeFemin, available from health food stores. The standard dose of 40mg (extract) per day is sufficient to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and seems not to be dose-dependent.

Some supplements pack more than 500mg (non extract) of black cohosh into each pill. This will leave you guessing somewhat as to what the correct dose should be. Unextracted sources of black cohosh should be considerably cheaper than the extracted sources. RemiFemin contains 20 milligrams of black cohosh extract per pill and is to be taken twice daily. The dose of extract recommended by German studies is 40 to 80mg per day.

The use of Remifemin is not associated with an estrogenic effect systemically in either perimenopausal or menopausal women, which removes the concern about increasing breast cancer risk.

 


Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racimosa) can help with the following

Hormones  

Low Estrogen Levels

Black Cohosh is well known for reducing hot flashes associated with low estrogen levels, especially during menopause.

There is a natural product which has been helpful for some women, which contains Black cohosh. It is called Estroven. Each caplet or gelcap contains: Vitamin E 30IU; Thiamin 2mg; Riboflavin 2mg; Niacin 20mg; Vitamin B-6 10mg; Folate 400mcg; Vitamin B-12 6mcg; Calcium 150mg; Selenium 70mcg; Boron 1.5mg; Purified isoflavones (from GMO-free soybeans and other plants) 55mg; Estroven Calming Herbal Blend (proprietary blend of Date seed extract [ Zizyphus spinosa ] and Magnolia bark extract) 150mg; Black cohosh root standardized extract 40mg.



Tumors, Malignant  

Breast Cancer

Researchers analyzed an extensively studied mouse breast cancer cell line to learn if commercially available extracts of black cohosh altered the response of cancer cells to radiation and four drugs commonly used in cancer therapy. The results showed that black cohosh:

Increased cell killing by two of the drugs[ (Adriamycin and Taxotere)

Decreased the effectiveness of one drug (Platinol)

Did not alter the effects of radiation or a fourth drug (4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide, or 4-HC, an analog of Cytoxan, which is active in cell culture)

Therefore, in light of these findings, researchers advise patients being treated for breast cancer to consult with their physician before using black cohosh. [Breast Cancer Research and Treatment April 2005;90(3): pp.233-239]



Uro-Genital  

Menopausal Status / Issues

A review of 29 studies of therapies for hot flashes and menopausal symptoms concluded that black cohosh and foods that contain phytoestrogens show promise for the treatment of menopausal symptoms; clinical trials do not support the use of dong quai, evening primrose oil, red clover, or vitamin E. [Ann Intern Med 2002;137(10): pp.805-13]



 

Endometriosis

As a uterine tonic, it may help relieve symptoms.



Key

May do some good
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences

Glossary

Menopause

The cessation of menstruation (usually not official until 12 months have passed without periods), occurring at the average age of 52. As commonly used, the word denotes the time of a woman's life, usually between the ages of 45 and 54, when periods cease and any symptoms of low estrogen levels persist, including hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, loss of libido and vaginal dryness. When these early menopausal symptoms subside, a woman becomes postmenopausal.

Milligram

(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Perimenopause

A transition time during which menstrual periods can become irregular and symptoms of menopause may be experienced prior to menopause. On average, the onset of perimenopause occurs around age 47 and the average duration is 4-5 years. It is increasingly seen in women even up to 12-15 years before menopause. An array of physical, mental and emotional symptoms can occur during this time.

Cancer

Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

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