The Scoop on Black Cohosh for Menopause Symptoms

Natural HerbsWhile navigating through menopause, many women experience intense symptoms of night sweats and hot flashes. These menopause symptoms are very uncomfortable, at the very least. As the natural health care industry becomes more popular, finding natural remedies to help reduce these symptoms becomes more common as well.

The root, Black Cohosh, is a natural supplement that has reduced the frequency and intensity of night sweats and hot flashes in many menopausal women. While some women rave about taking this supplement, others have not experienced quite the same outcome. So, what gives? We have asked our panel of expert contributors to explain to us the science behind Black Cohosh and tell us, straight up, should we take it or not?

Here’s the scoop on Black Cohosh:

The studies done on Black Cohosh have not shown consistent results.In a few, it is better than placebo, and in others, it’s no better than placebo. However, one thing I explain to my patients, is that with ANY menopause treatment, the placebo response can range from 30-50%, so if if works for you, then it works.

Part of the problem when looking at Black Cohosh, is that there are so many different formulations and it’s available in different strengths. It also seems that some women do very well with it, while others are left scratching their heads wondering what the big deal is. I’ve spoken to many researchers in the area of hot flashes and night sweats and many of us believe that women may have certain receptors that uptake black cohosh differently than other women and thus see relief when using it.

Since Black cohosh is generally considered a “relatively safe herb”, though it’s not recommended for women on statins or any medication that has potential liver toxicity. For a complete list, I use the WebMD list.

Black Cohosh is a choice for hot flashes and night sweats. It won’t help vaginal dryness or protect our bones from loss of mineralization. The things I tell my patients to watch out for are stomach cramps and diarrhea.

I tried Remifemin, a pharmaceutical grade Black Cohosh and found that it reduced my night sweats and hot flashes by about 25-30%. This helped me for about 4 months, then for some reason, it stopped working. I’ve also heard this from other patients, who find that it relieves their symptoms for a while, but few of my patients stay on it for more than 6-12 months. I’ve found that they either decide to use something else or put up with their symptoms.

Barb Dehn NP, Author of Your Personal Guide to Menopause


Bottom line?…  we are all different.  And what works for some of us, may not work for others.  Consult your physician to see if Black Cohosh is something you would like to try to see if it works for you.

What is your outcome when taking Black Cohosh for your menopause symptoms?

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