Does this popular menopause herb really work?

January 23, 2007
Volume 04    |   Issue 04

Here they go again. The media is back bashing a popular, and effective, herb for menopausal symptoms. How like them. The source of the new round of bashing is a study that says this herb doesn?t work.

The authors of the randomized, double-blind study published their work in the Annals of Internal Medicine (December 2006). They found that black cohosh either used alone or with other herbs, didn?t work any better than a sugar pill to reduce hot flashes.

But dozens of other studies, and dozens of my patients, disagree. They say black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) reduces menopausal hot flashes, night sweats, and irritability.

For instance, a review of 19 randomized, double-blind studies, published two months earlier says black cohosh works just fine. So does a review of botanicals and dietary supplements used for menopausal symptoms out of the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

But that?s not all. Years ago, a standardized black cohosh supplement called Remifemin came on the market. Its manufacturer had it tested in more than 90 scientific studies. All of them showed that the herb is effective.

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I don?t know what quality of black cohosh the researchers used in this most recent study. There?s certainly some poor quality herbs out there. But I can tell you that this bad press undoubtedly will turn women to hormone replacement therapy, which we now know causes serious side effects - including breast cancer! Not so with black cohosh. It either reduces hot flashes or it doesn?t. But there aren?t any negative side effects.

So any woman with hot flashes should try black cohosh before turning to hormones. It?s safe and effective. More than 90 studies say so.

You can find black cohosh at any health food store or in Women?s
Preferred Hot Flash Formula (800-728-2288).

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Ben-Arye, E, et al, "Herbal medicine in womens? life cycle," Harefuah,
October 2006.

Geller, S.E. and L. Studee. "Botanical and dietary supplements for
menopausal symptoms: what works, what does not," J Women?s Health, September 2005.

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