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Black Cohosh for Hot Flashes

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

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Black Cohosh has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples for a variety of women’s health issues, including menstrual issues and childbirth. The herb is sold both separately and as part of many supplements to treat menopausal symptoms, most commonly to reduce hot flashes. It has also been shown to moderate mood disruption caused by menopause. I have personally used Black Cohosh to reduce hot flashes and have found it to be effective. It does not seem to eliminate them completely, but reduces them significantly. Therefore, I have made it part of my arsenal of weapons for treating menopause symptoms.

The plant is a member of the buttercup family, is perennial, and is native to North America. According to the US National Institute of Health, at the turn-of-the-last century, “black cohosh was part of Lydia E. Pinkham’s vegetable compound used by women to ease ‘all those painful complaints and weaknesses so common to our best female population’ and that next to soy, “black cohosh is the most widely studied botanical for menopausal symptoms.”

The results of studies have been mixed, sometimes showing a reduction of menopause symptoms and sometimes not showing any change. However, the German government has done extensive research on Black Cohosh and the most recent review suggests reliable efficacy and an overall excellent safety profile. The study was based on an assessment of 11,073 patients receiving black cohosh products in 28 clinical trials published between 2000 and 2015.

The exact mode of action of Black Cohosh remains unknown. Research suggests that it does not have a direct estrogenic affect but that constituents of black cohosh could have an effect on the central nervous system. Women in the United States currently use Black Cohosh to reduce hot flashes.

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