Medicinal Properties: Colonial settlers soon learned
what Native Americans long knew: Black cohosh is an herbal panacea for
all sorts of female-specific health problems. One of the isoflavones
in the plant's roots acts physiologically like a weak estrogen, making
it potentially beneficial for everything from childbirth and menstrual
cramps to menopause and premenstrual tension. In one study, the plant
relieved menopause related vaginal dryness just as well as
pharmaceutical estrogen. In another experiment, black cohosh matched
prescription strength hormone replacement in reducing luteinizing
hormone, which increases as natural estrogen declines, bringing on
typical menopausal symptoms.
Findings form a few studies indicate that the Black
Cohosh herb has estrogen like effects that may help control menopause
and related health issues.
Black cohosh offsets a decline in estrogen by providing powerful
plant compounds called phytoestrogens that mimic the hormone's
effects. These phytoestrogens bind to hormone receptors in the uterus,
breast, and other parts of the body. As a result, black cohosh is
reported to lessen hot flashes, vaginal dryness, headaches, dizziness,
depressed mood, and other hormone-related symptoms. This makes the
herb useful as a substitute for estrogen replacement therapy,
especially when compared with synthetic hormone replacement therapies.
Black cohosh does not appear to simulate the growth of breast tumors,
unlike conventional hormone replacement therapy, which has been linked
to a slightly increased risk of breast cancer when taken over the long
term. Some researchers even think the phytoestrogens might prevent
tumor growth by keeping the body's own estrogen from stimulating
breast cells. Black cohosh compounds likewise regulate estrogen
production before menopause, and are especially useful for treating
blurred vision and migraine associated with PMS. It has antispasmodic
properties that may lessen menstrual discomforts. Black cohosh may
increase the blood flow to the uterus, reducing the intensity of
particularly painful cramps.
Fibroids - (uterine myomas).
Black cohosh contains at least three classes of compounds that act to
regulate hormone use. First, these compounds bind to receptor sites in
the reproductive tract, the brain, and other organs that otherwise
would receive estrogen. This reduces overall estrogen activity when
estrogen levels are high. Second, these substances block the formation
of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates a surge of estrogen
production in the first fourteen days of the menstrual cyde. This
stimulates estrogen production when estrogen levels are low. The dual
action of the herb allows it to stabilize the body's estrogen usage.
Infertility - One of the
chemical constituents of black cohosh, ferulic acid, increases the
motility and viability of sperm cells by protecting their cell walls
from oxidation by compounds released from environmental toxins.
Black Cohosh is also known as:
- Black Snakeroot,
Some people report an upset stomach or other gastric complaints. Be
careful if you take black cohosh for longer than 6 months. Prolonged
use could cause abdominal pain, dizziness, diarrhea, headache, joint
pain, nausea, uterine irritation, and vomiting. Women should not take
it while pregnant or nursing a newborn. Overdoses might cause
premature birth, nausea, and headache. Normal dosages are between 50
and 1500mg a day.