Black cohosh--Is it safe? Does it work?

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Black cohosh--Is it safe? Does it work?

Postby Zero » Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:32 am

Facts and studies on black cohosh
It's too much to post here, but this is a good list of actual studies that have been done with black cohosh.

Well, here we go again (on the "should I or shouldn't I take it"). I've really been watching the reports on this herb because I've been taking a product that contains black cohosh (more for the vitamins and minerals included than for menopause symptoms). I don't usually jump to conclusions based on one report, but I have to admit that even though this is ONE woman, because of the unknown factors of the various products, I'm inclined to stop taking it.

Read for yourself:
Oct. 17, 2003 (BALTIMORE) -- Black cohosh, an herbal remedy gaining popularity as a panacea for the hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms of menopause, can cause the body's immune system to launch an attack on the liver, doctors warn.

Stanley M. Cohen, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, tells WebMD that he and colleagues have diagnosed what they believe is the first case of autoimmune hepatitis caused by the use of black cohosh.

Read the complete article here: ... 1000_ln_03

I am taking a vitamin with herbs too!

Postby dvs91856 » Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:51 pm

I was at wits end with crying spells that lasted for months and I felt disabled from these episodes. I was placed on several different birth control pills to regulate myself and especially my emotions. I hadn't had a mentrual cycle for 3 months at the time. The first B-pill did not work, but the second one did, although I started having this numbness on the right side of my body and told the docs (family physician and OBGYN doc, but was told this is not from taking this medication. My OBGYN put me on an HRT, the Combipatch with an extra estridiol dot patch. The numbness has never subsided since the onset of taking these types of hormones. So I stopped with all the synthetic hormones on 11-9-03. I started on 11-10-03 with GNC brand Menopause Vita Pak which has all of the natural herbs and vitamins women need for this stuff....also GNC's Progesterone Cream. So far, I have not had the crying spells, but as one herbologist person told me, it could take up to 6 weeks before my body would flush out the synthetic hormones. I just hope this is my solution to the crying spells. I notice that I only get a few hot flashes (night and day), but I can handle that, its the crying spells that are so horrible for me. So I will have to look into the Black Cohosh stuff and research that for further understanding. All I know is, I don't want to have the blues/crying spells that over whelm my soul. I can handle everything okay except for that. Any advice on how to just control that for me, would be great. I am hanging in there for the moment, but don't know what I will do if I get the spells again.

Postby Zero » Sat Nov 15, 2003 2:30 pm

Glad to hear that you seem to have found something that works for you! This is exactly what each of us has to do--try different things and pay attention to what is working and what isn't. It's really tough when some of your symptoms are debilitating, like your crying jags, but sometimes it makes us even more determined to find the balance our bodies need.

Keep hangin' in there, Kiddo and please let us know how you're doing!

AP article about the cultivation of black cohosh

Postby Zero » Mon Dec 01, 2003 8:49 pm

FARM SCENE: Ozarks medicinal root could link farmers with baby-booming market
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. - American Indians and folk medicine practitioners swear by the root of black cohosh as a natural source of relief from the symptoms of menopause, ranging from fatigue to hot flashes.

With recent research linking estrogen-progestin hormone supplements with breast cancer and heart disease, the market demand for natural alternatives such as black cohosh is rising - and that could mean opportunity for farmers.

Andy Thomas, a horticulturist by training and a scientific detective in practice, tends thousands of black cohosh samples in "shade houses" at the University of Missouri's agricultural research station near Mount Vernon.

"There's still a lot we don't know about black cohosh, and we are searching for the answers," Thomas said. "We just think our farmers ought to be able to grow it better, with the right guidance."

Commercial cultivation of black cohosh is rare, and small-scale at that. It's a member of the buttercup family, and the flowers grow wild in a swath extending from Missouri across the southeastern United States, usually no more than about 10 flowers to a patch, Thomas said.

The root has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Within the last year, federally funded studies have concluded Native Americans and hill-country herbalists were on to something.

Researchers at Columbia University and The George Washington University examined the results of 29 independent studies on alternative treatments for hot flashes and found that only black cohosh appeared to work.

That review, published last November in the Annals of Internal Medicine, noted that "neither the identity of active compounds nor the mechanism of action of black cohosh is known." It also said black cohosh usually hasn't been used on a long-term basis, and that no clinical trials have lasted longer than six months.

Dr. Wulf Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society and a gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said the Missouri research - growing black cohosh and analyzing it - could benefit patients yearning for more information.

"There may be within the black cohosh an active ingredient that may be isolated, extracted and identified, and undergo appropriate testing according to FDA guidelines. The far bigger and most important issue is how is it tested in humans for safety and efficacy," Utian said.

Dee Adams says she hears from menopausal women who would gladly join a clinical trial.

"For some women, menopause is just hellish - such an onslaught of so many changes, which is why it's called `The Change,' because it's awful," said Adams, 55, an Oxford, Mich., woman who teaches laughter as the best menopause medicine, using her online cartoon character, Minnie Pauz.

Black cohosh is among the most frequently mentioned alternatives for women visiting her Web site, Adams said.

"It's something that has been out there for years and years, so that is the buzz I hear - it's been used for so long, give it a try," she said.

It is sold in various commercial permutations. At Clover's Natural Market in Columbia, Bruce Topping said his shelves have a variety of black cohosh capsules - a pinch of the flower root blended with other components - and "it is a popular seller." Clover's gets $8.50 for a container with 100 capsules, each about 500 milligrams.

But black cohosh isn't easy to find in the wild. Most of the flowers are found in the shade of dense woods, in rocky soil with good drainage. Thomas said there is an active market in "poaching" the flowers from national and state forests, which can lead to fewer natural specimens.

At the research center, the "shade houses" are long structures with roofs covered by special fabric of varying densities, all to simulate stages of shade and sunlight. Thomas is keeping tabs on how the black cohosh flowers develop under assorted conditions, and those flowers and findings will be sent to the University of Missouri-Columbia for further lab research. The black cohosh project is just a part of alternative medicine research under way at the university, much of it financed by federal funds.

"If we find a particular chemical in the root is of interest medicinally, maybe I want to grow my crop to harvest more of that. It may be that some plants under stress - meaning exposed to more sun - will produce more of a certain chemical," Thomas said.

Rieva Lesonsky, editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine, said the Missouri research is targeting a slice of the baby-boom market on the upswing. The magazine estimates more than 4,000 boomers start menopause each day.

"The more people harvest it, the more frequently you'll see it outside of health food stores and the more demand grows," Lesonsky said. "It's a hot market."

Black it safe

Postby patrina » Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:08 pm

I've read that women have been using Black Cohosh for menopause symptoms for years. I don't believe doctors anymore when they claim an herbal supplement isn't safe. I think it is their way of getting us all to go on HRT. More money for them, more money for the manufacturers, more money for the pharmacists!!!!! Black Cohosh was one of the ingredients in Lydia Pinkham's (Tonic ?) or Compound? years and years ago. My mother's mom took Lydia Pinkham's for years and lived to be quite old. So what gives here? If Black Cohosh isn't safe then why the heck are Drs still trying to get us to go on HRT when we ALL know that synthetic hormones are dangerous! Breathing issn't safe either but we all do it 24/7. I'm going to go with the Black Cohosh that European doctors have been prescribing for 100 years. Afterall, Doctors a nd medicine in Europe are way ahead of the United States.
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Lydia Pinkham's Compund/Black Cohosh

Postby patrina » Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:12 pm

Many websites about Lydia Pnikham's Compound (Black Cohosh) here is one
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black cohosh

Postby biocce » Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:13 pm


I used black cohosh for over a year and the feeling of being tossed into a volcano significantly diminished. I was also able to hold a non teary conversation with my lover after being on it for a month (poor thing, we started our relationship just when my hormones went full into hell mode. My kids kept saying "what is wrong with you? she's not like this...").

Anyway, Lehman college has a phd program, some of their students are doing black cohosh studies

as well as Columbia hospital's alternative medicine research area:

They were doing clinical trials but i am a very young Pauz so was disqualified.

Also helpful is red clover. Valerian root (not in sleeping doses) helps with anxiety, and in larger quantities, helps sleep. Although a nice chamomile tea with linden leaf adn the occasional lavender addition makes a nice relaxing tonic before bed. I'm the kind that has the brain switch broken, so relaxing is a challenge. Too bad i can't remember anything anymore! :oops:

On Fire!
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