Black Cohosh and Menopause - Discussion and Benefits

What is the beneficial link between black cohosh and menopause?

As women transition into menopause, there are a number of changes that occur.

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A note about Black Cohosh and Menopause - Discussion and Benefits

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Women experience significant fluctuations in hormone levels on a daily basis, a process that produces numerous physical and psychological side effects. Luckily, there are a number of options available for women transitioning into menopause.

One of the most promising and natural remedies for the issues that arise as a woman becomes menopausal is black cohosh.

Background Information

Black cohosh is a perennial plant that is native to North America. It is part of the buttercup family and also called Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa. Other (common) names for it include rattleroot, rattleweed, rattletop, macrotys, bugwort, bugbane, and snakeroot.

Generally, for use in harnessing the black cohosh and menopause beneficial link, the roots and underground stems (rhizomes) of the herb are standarized and made into an extract, and used either in solution or pill form.

Health Benefits and Medicinal Properties

Historically, black cohosh has been used with a great deal of prevalence. In American Indian medicine, it was used for a wide variety of problems, including malaise, gynecological disorders, kidney disorders, malaria, rheumatism, sore throat, colds, cough, constipation, hives, backache, and to induce lactation. Later, it was used as a home remedy for rheumatism and fever, and as a diuretic.

In fact, practitioners that specialized in the uses of the herb prescribed it for lung conditions, rheumatism, neurological conditions, and a variety of reproductive and women's health issues. Thus, as you can see, the benefits of this herb go beyond merely the black cohosh and menopause connection.

Herb Extract

The most common form of black cohosh is an extract known commercially as Remifemin, an extract standardized to include 1 mg of (what is thought to be) active ingredient per 20 mg tablet, which is usually taken twice each day. Generally, when it comes to the benefits linking black cohosh and menopause, it takes about four to eight weeks to notice a difference after beginning to take the herb.

How Black Cohosh Works

How does the positive connection between black cohosh and menopause come about? Precisely how black cohosh works is not known. It is possible that it has effects on women's estrogen levels, but the research behind this is unclear.

Recently, the fukinolic acid found in black cohosh was found to have some estrogenic activities in vitro; other active ingredients are thought to be triterpene glycosides, resins, and caffeic and isoferulic acids.

Research has looked into the effects of black cohosh on hormone levels, the vagina, and the uterus. However, at this time, there is no clear, reliable research that has been done on the herb.

Side Effects, Adverse Reactions and Contraindications

In truth, herbs are generally much, much safer than drugs, because they are natural whole foods, rather then isolated synthetic substances. Even then, in attempting to obtain the beneficial link between black cohosh and menopause, you should bear in mind that this herb does have some possible side effects.

Black cohosh has been known to cause stomach discomfort, headaches, weight changes, and a heaviness in the legs (indicating circulation issues). Because individual bodies tend to differ so significantly in how they react to different substances, the presence of side effects usually indicates it is not the right treatment for you.

There are, however, certain people who should not take black cohosh at all. They are: pregnant women, women with breast cancer, individuals with liver disorders, and those who develop symptoms of liver problems such as dark urine, jaundice, or abdominal pain.

Black Cohosh and Menopause - Conclusion

Black cohosh is a promising herb for the treatment of perimenopausal symptoms. As we learn more about its safety and mechanism of action, it may become a cornerstone of treating the discomfort that accompanies the onset of menopause.

Until then, it is important to talk to your health practitioner about any possible advantages or disadvantages of beginning to take black cohosh.

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