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Black Cohosh


Black cohosh continues to be increasingly popular and is the most widely-used natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). (See also Natural Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.) The herb’s popularity with menopausal/periomenopausal women and gynecologists grew significantly after the summer of 2003 when a large-scale government-sponsored clinical trial on HRT was halted prematurely after evidence that HRT was responsible for an increase in cancer and cardiovascular disease in menopausal women.

Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) is also another natural hormone replacement alternative and it has gained popularity. Flaxseed is the richest known source of lignans, one of the three major classes of phytoestrogens, and is also a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and soluble and insoluble fibers. Clinical studies are needed to measure its effectiveness.

However, an extract of black cohosh has been used in German clinical practice since the mid-1950s with safe and effective results, and black cohosh preparations have been approved by the German government as nonprescription medications for treatment of menopausal symptoms.

Remifemin is the world’s leading black cohosh product. It has been shown effective in numerous clinical trials concluding that Remifemin was effective in relieving menopausal symptoms.

A particular controlled trial on 304 menopausal women demonstrated that 40 mg of the German black cohosh preparation produced clinically significant benefits, especially in women in their early stages of menopause, with no significant adverse side effects.

“The evidence supporting the benefits and relative safety of this traditional herb is becoming increasingly clear... Most of the clinical trials published to date on black cohosh have demonstrated positive results in helping to treat various symptoms of menopause,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council.

Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes (or flushes), as well as night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings.

Gail Mahady, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has reviewed most of the research on black cohosh for the World Health Organization. She states that at least 14 clinical trials on black cohosh preparations support their safety and efficacy in treating menopause-related symptoms.

Most of the published clinical trials are based on the two leading black cohosh products: Remifemin® (an extract produced by the German company Schaper and Brümmer, and imported into the U.S. by GlaxoSmithKline) and Klimadynon® (an extract produced by the German company Bionorica and imported by Bionorica USA).

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa) is a member of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) native to the Eastern United States. The roots and rhizomes (lateral roots) of the herb have a long history of use by women in the native American tribes.

More information on Black Cohosh

More information on Natural Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

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