The herb, Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa, is used in complementary and alternative medicine to help with hot flushes, the herb works by targeting the serotonin receptors in the brain to help regulate the body temperature. It is also said to help with other menopausal symptoms that women go through during their change. However there are insufficient studies into the herb and its effects on the symptoms of the menopause, in order for the herb to be recommended by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. There are, however, side effects of Black Cohosh that every women needs to consider before opting for this alternative treatment.
Long term studies are required to ensure that the usage of the herbal product is safe with regards to using it to treat women suffering from the effects of the menopause. Black cohosh has recently become very popular amongst women who are suffering from the menopause even the product is not yet approved by medical organisations. It is reported to have an estrogen-like action with regards to women’s hormones. The herb has been used since 1962 to help women suffering from menopausal symptoms in spite of the side effects of black cohosh.
The black cohosh plant is a member of the buttercup family and it can be found growing in North America. The tablet is made from the roots of the plant which are grown and turned into solution along with other ingredients. The herb has been used to treat a number of conditions such as gynaecological disorders, general malaise and rheumatism, since the nineteenth century.
Black cohosh is said to reduce the symptoms of hot flushes, insomnia, and depression for women who are suffering from the menopause. It can also aid women who prefer to use complementary medicine after having undergone a hysterectomy. Black cohosh is thought to contain an ingredient known as estrogenic which is one of the hormones that reduces during the change. Black cohosh is generally sold as a dietary supplement and therefore does not require regulating by the FDA for side effects.
Side Effects of Black Cohosh
The side effects of black cohosh are thought to be that the herb can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and stomach discomforts. Producers of black cohosh have placed a label on the packaging warning users that there may be a risk of liver damage. The women who have developed liver damage have been small in number but it is worth noting. Professor Philip Routledge, Chair of the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee, has said “After reviewing all available data, the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee has come to the conclusion that black cohosh may be associated with liver disorders. This is rare, but can be serious.”
Other adverse side effects recorded are weight problems, heaviness in the legs and gastric complaints. If taken for a long time, it is thought that the herb may cause problems with breast and uterine tissue; this is because of the unnatural hormones that are similar to estrogens. These fake hormones are thought to promote metastasis of cancer tissue that is sensitive to estrogens and then the cells are stimulated in the area of the endometrium and breast. These findings have been recorded through studies on mice that have ingested black cohosh.
Other problems recorded with black cohosh are that there have been problems during and after labour with the mother and child if used during childbirth. It is recommended that women who have breast cancer should avoid taking this herb or any product containing it as an ingredient. Also women who suffer from heart conditions, low or high blood pressure, are recommended to contact a health practitioner before taking this product.
If you suffer from any of the side effects you should avoid driving or using mechanical machinery and thus contact your doctor. Black cohosh has become even more popular interest wise since the recent research carried out by the Women’s Health Initiative that showed that the health risks of hormone replacement therapy are higher than the benefits of taking the herb.