According to new research, black cohosh may not relieve menopausal symptoms.
Black cohosh is one of the highest selling herbs in the United States and is popular as an alternative to hormonal therapy in the treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood disturbances, diaphoresis, palpitations and vaginal dryness. Several controlled trials and case series have reported black cohosh to improve menopausal symptoms for up to six months. Although these initial studies are suggestive, they have been few in number and have universally suffered from methodological weaknesses.
The new study obtained data on 2,027 women from sixteen studies. All women were perimenopausal or transitioning to menopause. The average dose of black cohosh was 40 milligrams daily, for an average of 23 weeks. The studies compared black cohosh supplementation to hormone replacement therapy, placebo, red clover and fluoxetine.
Data analysis showed that compared to placebo, black cohosh did not significantly improve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. However, hormone therapy significantly reduced hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The authors concluded that strong evidence supporting the use of black cohosh for menopause is lacking. Further research is warranted.
For more information about integrative therapies for menopause, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness database.