Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is a member of the buttercup family and a native plant to North America. Black cohosh has a long history of use. Native Americans used it to treat musculoskeletal pain, fever, cough, pneumonia, sluggish labour, and menstrual irregularities and European settlers used black cohosh as a tonic to support women’s reproductive health.
Today, black cohosh has commonly been used to treat symptoms of menopause, heart palpitations, tinnitus, vertigo, sleep disturbances, nervousness, irritability, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful menstruation, acne and osteoporosis.
With research revealing the dangers of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) in treating hormonal imbalances, health-conscious women are looking for safer, natural treatments for menopause symptoms and menstrual disorders. Black cohosh has proven an effective remedy for women suffering the unpleasant effects of menopause such as hot flushes and sleep disturbances.
Studies indicate that black cohosh relief menopause (especially hot flushes) symptoms among other significant health benefits.
Preparations of black cohosh are made from its roots and rhizomes. Black cohosh supplements are available in the form of powdered whole herb, black cohosh tablets, black cohosh capsules and black cohosh extract in liquid form. Black cohosh menopause preparations will often combine black cohosh with other traditional herbs known to alleviate symptoms.
Products containing black cohosh extract are frequently standardized to provide at least 1 mg triterpene glycosides per daily dose.
In 2007, the Australian Department of Health began requiring that products containing black cohosh carry the following label statement: “Warning: Black cohosh may harm the liver in some individuals. This came about due to reported cases of liver damage—including hepatitis, liver failure, elevated liver enzymes, and assorted other liver injuries—associated with black cohosh use. However, there is no evidence of a causal relationship. It is possible that at least some reported cases of hepatotoxicity were due to impurities, adulterants, or incorrect Acteae species in the black cohosh products used. However, no one independently analysed these products to confirm the existence of these problems.
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