While many women choose to manage premenopausal and menopause symptoms with hormone treatments, there is one herb hailed to be incredibly effective at naturally tackling some of the worst side effects — black cohosh.
This white starburst flower is most notably favored by Native American tribes as a natural treatment for menstrual health and menopausal symptoms. Plus, due to its positive and powerful effects, black cohosh is still available as an alternative treatment and is now available in easy to consume supplement form.
Let’s take a deep dive into black cohosh and learn a bit more about this herbal remedy!
What is Black Cohosh?
Black cohosh is an herb native to North America that belongs to the buttercup family. This particular herb goes by a variety of names including bugbane, rattleweed, black snakeroot, macrotys, and rheumatism weed. While there are many traditional and historical uses of black cohosh, today it’s used most commonly for “menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes … and night sweats … vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, tinnitus, vertigo, sleep disturbances, nervousness, and irritability.”
A Very Short History of Black Cohosh
Traditionally, black cohosh has been used by Native American tribes to treat a myriad of ailments including “menstrual irregularities, menopause symptoms, and to ease childbirth,” as well as treatment of “musculoskeletal pain, fever, cough, pneumonia, [and ]sluggish labor.” When European settlers came to the Americas, they used “black cohosh as a tonic to support women’s reproductive health.”
How Black Cohosh Treats Menopause Symptoms
In the 1950s, black cohosh was discovered to have other benefits including helping to manage and treat premenopausal and menopause symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood changes, heart palpitations, vertigo, bone density loss, and heart disease, to name just a few.
How does black cohosh work?
While research is still very slim when it comes to the effectiveness of black cohosh, they have determined that its known efficacy has to do with the herb’s effect on estrogen. Some studies have focused primarily on the herb’s effect on estrogen attempting to ascertain if it “raises the body’s level of estrogen, which is present in lower levels in menopausal women than in premenopausal women,” as well as looking at whether or not black cohosh affects “levels of luteinizing hormone or follicle-stimulating hormone.”
Other studies focused on black cohosh in relation to the brain, specifically whether the herb “might exert its effects through a brain-related action, such as moduation of serotonergic pathways, or through its ability to act as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or selective estrogen receptor modulator.”
With all that said, the most foundational evidence is that triterpene glycosides, resins, and aromatic acid derivatives may be the main culprit for the herb’s ability to thwart various menopause-related symptoms.
All-in-all, black cohosh is found to be incredibly effective through treatment, yet science still has a long way to go to determine exactly what it is about this herb that makes it so.
Black Cohosh Herbal Supplements
If you’re looking to get your hands on a black cohosh herbal supplement, make sure you speak with your doctor first. Beyond a few research studies and historical accounts, there isn’t a wealth of information regarding long term use of black cohosh. With that said, there are a few ways to make sure you’re choosing a valid supplement.
First off, black cohosh supplements are made “from its roots and rhizomes (underground stems” and are sold as “powdered whole herb, liquid extracts, and dried extracts in pill form.” Depending on the type of black cohosh you buy, you’ll be getting a different chemical composition. The standard black cohosh supplement should generally “provide at least 1 [milligram] triterpene glycosides per daily dose,” and yet this is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Secondly, it’s always a good idea to find a vegan-friendly dietary supplement, which is generally easier on the stomach and friendly to the digestive system.
To get you started, here are a few trusted vegan-friendly supplement brands offering black cohosh!
This Nature’s Way Black Cohosh supplement is verified by an independent testing program called TRU-ID, which means you know exactly what you’re getting in every capsule. This supplement is non-GMO project verified, vegan-friendly, vegetarian-friendly, and contains no sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, corn, soy, diary, or artificial products such as coloring, flavors, and preservatives. While black cohosh may be useful for many ailments, this supplement was specifically engineered to support menopause. A 180-capsule bottle costs $9.42.
NOW is one of the most trusted brands for vegan-friendly and clean supplements. This NOW Black Cohosh provides a unique blend of black cohosh root, licorice root, and dong quai, all of which are known to support middle-aged women through menopause. A 90-capsule bottle costs $19.35.
This Oregon’s Wild Harvest Organic Black Cohosh is root grown, certified organic, and sustainably farmed. As black cohosh is a top-selling women’s herb, sustainability is an incredibly important aspect of cultivating this herb. A 90-capsule bottle costs $17.01.
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