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The 3 effects and side effects of black cohosh (6 contraindications should be noted)

Black cohosh is an herb. The root is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh was first used for medicinal purposes by Native American Indians, who introduced it to European colonists. Black cohosh became a popular treatment for women’s health issues in Europe in the mid-1950s.

Since that time, black cohosh has commonly been used to treat symptoms of menopause, and also conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful menstruation, weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis), and many others. However, there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Black cohosh also goes by the name “bugbane” because it was once used as an insect repellent. It is no longer used for this purpose. Frontiersmen had said that black cohosh was useful for rattlesnake bites, but no modern researchers have tested this.

Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. These are unrelated plants. The blue and white cohosh plants do not have the same effects as black cohosh, and may not be safe.


How does it work?

The root of black cohosh is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh root contains several chemicals that might have effects in the body. Some of these chemicals work on the immune system and might affect the body’s defenses against diseases. Some might help the body to reduce inflammation. Other chemicals in black cohosh root might work in nerves and in the brain. These chemicals might work similar to another chemical in the brain called serotonin. Scientists call this type of chemical a neurotransmitter because it helps the brain send messages to other parts of the body.

Black cohosh root also seems to have some effects similar to the female hormone, estrogen. In some parts of the body, black cohosh might increase the effects of estrogen. In other parts of the body, black cohosh might decrease the effects of estrogen. Estrogen itself has various effects in different parts of the body. Estrogen also has different effects in people at different stages of life. Black cohosh should not be thought of as an “herbal estrogen” or a substitute for estrogen. It is more accurate to think of it as an herb that acts similar to estrogen in some people.

Black cohosh (Black cohosh) is a popular medicinal plant (ranunculus) that originated in North America. It is often used as a popular alternative to hormone therapy to improve the discomfort associated with female menopause, including hot flashes. , Night sweats, vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, tinnitus, dizziness, sleep disturbance, nervousness and irritability

The underground rhizome of black cohosh is the main medicinal part, and the active ingredients include triterpene glycosides, isoferulic acid, Cimicifugine, etc.

Up to now, the exact pharmacological mechanism behind black cohosh has not been fully established, but some studies suggest that it is related to selective estrogen effect or serotonin and dopamine receptor blockade

  1. Menopausal symptoms

Menopause is the final stage of the female birth cycle. The average age is about 51 years old. It is often accompanied by a variety of early and late symptoms, including hot flashes, insomnia, sweating, anxiety, palpitations, headaches, inattention, and loss of libido

Most of the uncomfortable symptoms will be relieved within 2 years, but there are cases that persist for more than 10 years. Due to advances in medical treatment and an increase in average life expectancy, more than 90% of women will go through this stage (200 years ago, regardless of men and women, the chance of living for more than half a hundred was only 30%)

A Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, containing 16 studies with 2027 participants) pointed out that as of 2012, there is insufficient evidence to prove that black cohosh does not help improve menopausal symptoms (due to high Heterogeneity, insufficient number of studies and not statistically significant). Note 1

However, another double-blind controlled study published in 2013 (8-week period and 84 postmenopausal women) pointed out that, compared with placebo, black cohosh can reduce the scores of menopausal symptoms and other sub-scale standards. Symptoms such as vasomotor, mental, physical and sexual function also improved in varying degrees. Note 2

  1. Sleep disorders (caused by menopause)

Sleep disturbance is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. About 28%–63% of women have experienced this symptom, including difficulty falling asleep, partial sleep, night awakening, inability to return to sleep, fatigue and daytime sleepiness

Most women at this stage sleep for less than 6 hours or less, which may cause various health problems (anxiety, memory and cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, etc.) in the long run

A double-blind controlled study (for 6 months, with 48 postmenopausal women) found that black cohosh can help improve sleep efficiency, reduce the time to wake up after falling asleep (15.8%, wake after sleep onset) and improve Sleep quality index (but due to the small number of samples, it needs more empirical confirmation in the future). Note 3

  1. Bone health

Bone is a dynamic tissue in the human body, which has a structural and metabolic role. From a structural point of view, bones can protect important organs from external force damage, and also serve as a lever for exercise.

From the perspective of metabolism, bone has the function of producing blood cells and is also an important calcium store. To maintain bone health, nutrition, exercise, hormonal status, and lifestyle habits are indispensable.

A double-blind controlled study (12-week period and 62 postmenopausal women) pointed out that black cohosh is beneficial to bone metabolism, stimulates the activity of osteoblasts, and helps bone remodeling. Note 4

However, another controlled study found that compared with the benefits of increasing bone density and weight loss brought by exercise training alone, adding black cohosh did not improve the effect, which needs to be further confirmed. Note 5


Are there any side effects of black cohosh?

Black cohosh is a relatively safe herbal health product. Short-term use at the recommended dosage of the product has few adverse reactions, but possible side effects include: abdominal pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, joint pain, skin rash, nausea, slow heart rate, Shaking, unclear vision, vomiting, weight gain, etc. (especially when used in large doses or when used in combination with other drugs and health ingredients)

Safety precautions (use taboo)

Do not use it if you have female hormone-related diseases or have a family history, such as breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer or fibroids (black cohosh has a weak estrogen effect and may worsen symptoms, but currently No research has confirmed)

There have been cases of liver damage (hepatitis, liver failure, liver index increase) after use, but there is no sufficient evidence to prove that there is a direct causal relationship between the two (may also be related to quality and counterfeit), but for safety, use Please consult your local doctor or pharmacist beforehand. Note 6-7

Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children, and people with poor liver and kidney function should not use it (there are safety concerns, and use in pregnant women may increase the risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery)

People who have been allergic to black cohosh related plants (Ranunculaceae), aspirin or other salicylate components should not use it

Do not combine with medicines, herbs or other health ingredients (may cause unknown risks or interfere with metabolic processes)

People with Protein S Deficiency (Protein S Deficiency, also known as congenital thrombosis) should not use it (may increase the risk of thrombosis)

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