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Black cohosh for menopause symptom and hot flash relief

When we look to natural remedies for managing menopause symptoms, black cohosh is a prized ingredient. Native to North America, the flowering plant is a traditional medicine for hormonal discomforts including hot flashes and night sweats, moodiness and vaginal dryness. 

Black Cohosh is an effective herb for menopause and hot flashes relief.

Black cohosh has a long history as a health remedy. Native Americans used black cohosh as a tonic to support women’s reproductive health; a practice adopted by European settlers. The herb has been studied over the past several decades and we now have a body of modern research that backs up black cohosh’s effectiveness as a natural remedy for menopause symptom relief.   

Table Of Contents

  1. What does black cohosh do for menopause?
  2. How much black cohosh should women take for menopause?
  3. Black cohosh side effects
  4. Final Thoughts

What does black cohosh do for menopause?

Black cohosh is used to help ease a wide variety of menopause symptoms, including: 

  • Vasomotor symptoms: hot flashes and night sweats 
  • Vaginal dryness 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo
  • Sleep disturbances  
  • Irritability and mood swings 

How does black cohosh work?

Phytochemicals in black cohosh have far-reaching effects in the body, including helping with immune function, reducing inflammation and boosting feel good neurotransmitters in the brain. 

For women in menopause, black cohosh appears to have similar effects to estrogen. Does black cohosh increase estrogen? The answer to this common question is no, black cohosh does not increase hormone production nor is black cohosh an "herbal estrogen" as it is sometimes mistakenly called. Rather, black cohosh has adaptogenic properties that increases the effects of estrogen you’re already producing where needed in the body, and decreases the effects of excess estrogen elsewhere.

Recent research on black cohosh 

A growing body of research supports the use of black cohosh in women seeking natural relief for their menopause symptoms and related women’s hormonal health issues. Among recent research findings:

  1. Black cohosh reduces hot flashes. In a study of 80 menopausal women who were experiencing hot flashes, those who supplemented with 20 mg of black cohosh daily for 8 weeks reported significantly fewer and less severe hot flashes than before they started the supplement.
  2. Black cohosh decreases fibroids. When researchers studied 244 postmenopausal women with uterine fibroids, women who supplemented daily with 40 mg of black cohosh had their fibroids decrease in size by up to 30%.
  3. Help for menstrual cycle regulation. In women with irregular periods, especially women with PCOS, black cohosh helped to improve regularity of menstrual cycles. 

How much black cohosh should women take for menopause?

For therapeutic use, women may take anywhere from 20–120 mg of standardized black cohosh extract or powder daily for therapeutic use. For menopause symptoms, taking in 20 mg of black cohosh daily appears to be optimal. 

Black cohosh supplements made from the roots and stems of the plant can come in liquid tincture, pill or powder. Some women may prefer brewing dried and crushed black cohosh as a tea.  

Black cohosh may be found in herbal supplements for menopause along with other natural ingredients that can work synergistically with black cohosh, including red clover and chasteberry. Black cohosh, red clover and chaste berry are all ingredients in our multi-herbal Herbal Equilibrium supplement for menopause symptom relief. 

Black cohosh side effects

Black cohosh has been studied since the 1950s and is considered safe for women using the correct dosage for their menopause symptoms. At very high dosages and extended use (going more than a year without taking a break), there is risk, though extremely rare, for liver injury and jaundice. Black cohosh should be used during pregnancy only with the advice of a women’s health practitioner as it may stimulate labor. 

Other rare side effects from high doses of black cohosh include: 

  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Headaches
  • Irritability 
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Menstrual spotting between periods
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Breast pain or tenderness

Final Thoughts

Black cohosh can be a safe and effective way for women to find natural relief from their menopause symptoms. Look for multi-herbal formulas like Herbal Equilibrium in which black cohosh has been carefully blended with other ingredients for optimal effects.

Published: July 11, 2021

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