What are the Risks of Taking Black Cohosh During Menopause?
Black Cohosh Ginkgo Biloba Dong Quai Ginseng Red Clover Soy Vitex Macafem
Black Cohosh
Black cohosh grows in the woods of eastern North America
Ginkgo Biloba
Traditionally used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Dong Quai
Dong Quai is often referred to as "the female ginseng"
Ginseng
The Chinese word "rénshén" means "man root" in English
Red Clover
Originates from Asia, parts of Northern Africa, and Central Europe
Soy
Traditionally used in the Orient as a source of protein and medicine
Vitex
Vitex agnus-castus is also called chaste tree
Macafem
Originates from the Andean mountains of Perú

Should I Take black cohosh?

For decades, black cohosh has been championed as a treatment for female-related ailments like PMS symptoms and menopause symptoms. In particular, the herb is a popular choice for the treatment of menopausal hot flashes and night sweats. Yet little clinical research has been done to support these claims or to evaluate the side effects of the herb, leaving many women to wonder whether or not usage of the herb is safe. Read on to learn more.

How Does Black Cohosh Work?

Black cohosh is a perennial flowering plant that grows in the eastern woodlands of North America. Until recently, it was believed that the herb contained phytoestrogens, or plant-based compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen when introduced into the body. Thus in theory, black cohosh would alleviate menopause symptoms by balancing hormone levels in the body.

Black cohosh helps to treat hormone imbalanceHowever, new research suggests that black cohosh works as a selective estrogen receptor modifier and that it also may exert an agonistic effect on serotonin receptors to treat hormone imbalance. Click here to read more about what is black cohosh or continue reading below to learn about its side effects.

Side Effects of Black Cohosh

Black cohosh has no known drug interactions. However, the effects of the herb have not been studied long-term, so usage should be limited to a 6 month period. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that it is not clear whether black cohosh helps prevent the growth of breast cancer cells or stimulates their growth. Women with sensitive hormone or liver conditions are also advised not to use the herb for treatment of menopause symptoms.

Short-term side effects of usage occur when women are prescribed too high of a dosage of black cohosh. The recommended dose of black cohosh ranges from 40 – 80 mg per day. Reported side effects include:

High doses of black cohosh can produce side effects. • Abdominal pain
• Diarrhea
• Nausea
• Dizziness
• Headaches
• Joint pain

Click here to learn more about the side effects of black cohosh.

Recommendation

Women considering the use of black cohosh to treat menopausal symptoms should consult with a health care professional. He or she will be able to discuss your options for treating menopausal symptoms.

Sources:

• Carroll, Dana G., PHARM.D. "Nonhormonal Therapies for Hot Flashes in Menopause". American Family Physician. 2006 Feb 1;73(3):457-464. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0201/p457.html#afp20060201p457-b42

• Geller, Stacie E., Ph.D., Associate Professor and Laura Studee, MPH. "Botanical and Dietary Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms: What Works, What Doesn’t". J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2005 September; 14(7): 634649. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1764641/?tool=pubmed

• Office of Dietary supplements: Black cohosh http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/blackcohosh/

• University of Maryland Medical Center: Black cohosh http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/black-cohosh-000226.htm

Main Sections
Macafem
Is an Andean plant regarded as one of the best treatments for menopause symptoms because of it boosts the endocrine system.
Dong Quai
Is an Asian plant that has been used for thousands of years to treat gynecological problems, blood disorders, and as a sedative.
Ginkgo Biloba
Is a popular and ancient Chinese herbal remedy used to improve circulation, mental performance, and menopause symptoms.
Ginseng
Is a root widely used by Chinese, Koreans and Native Americans as a preventative treatment and to increase vitality.
Soy
Is a healthy, low-fat source of protein and is used as treat menopause because of its high amount of phytoestrogens.
Red Clover
Is a variety of Clover with a high nutritional value and it's widely used as an immune-booster and menopause relief, but it has some side effects.
Black Cohosh
Is a phytoestrogenic herb from eastern North America and it is used as a supplement to treat several illnesses, including menopause symptoms.
Vitex
Used since roman times to help women with hormonal imbalances, but pregnant women should avoid it.
Which herb should women try? Today women are looking for relief from their menopause symptoms with herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs and non-estrogenic herbs are good in relieving menopause symptoms, but recent studies show that non-estrogenic herbs have no side effects because they help the body to produce its own hormones instead of introducing hormones like the phytoestrogenic ones. Learn more about non-estrogenic herbs for menopause.
What are the Risks of Taking Black Cohosh During Menopause?