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The Impact of Black Cohosh on Menopause Symptoms

A new study suggests that taking black cohosh can help reduce menopausal symptoms and hot flashes, providing relief and improving overall well-being for women during this stage of life. The study was published in the July 2023 issue of The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

What is black cohosh?

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is an herb native to North America. It is an herbal supplement used for centuries for various reasons, including women's health. Today, it’s gaining attention for its potential benefits in managing symptoms associated with menopause. 

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Black cohosh is commonly taken as dietary supplements, such as capsules, tablets, or liquid extracts

Menopause and black cohosh

A new study published in July 2023 in the reputable medical journal Menopause set out to assess the impact of black cohosh extract on symptoms reported by menopausal women. 

The authors found that black cohosh can moderately but meaningfully improve menopause symptoms, hot flashes, and somatic symptoms.

Symptom Impact of black cohosh Statistical significance?
Overall menopausal symptoms Moderate improvement Yes
Hot flashes Moderate improvement Yes
Somatic symptoms Moderate improvement Yes
Anxiety Not enough data No 
Depressive symptoms Not enough data No
Adapted from “Black cohosh extracts in women with menopausal symptoms: an updated pairwise meta-analysis” published in the July 2023 issue of The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Our conclusion

The findings from this new study provide evidence that taking black cohosh extract can lead to a moderate improvement in menopausal symptoms and hot flashes. This suggests that black cohosh may offer relief and improve overall well-being for women experiencing these symptoms during menopause. 

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Notably, while the study furthers our knowledge of black cohosh, it does not provide specific recommendations for managing menopause symptoms.

It is worth noting that black cohosh is not FDA-approved for menopause symptoms. However, there are FDA-approved prescription treatments available for menopausal symptoms which women may also consider in consultation with their healthcare provider:

As with any prescription treatment, there can be side effects and risks. And not all women want or can take these medications.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is among the FDA-approved treatments available by prescription. It is applied to the skin as a patch or taken orally as a pill.

The strength of this new study on black cohosh is that it utilized a systematic approach. It pooled data from many different randomized controlled trials, a method which helps identify patterns across various studies. However, it is important to continue conducting further research to enhance our understanding of black cohosh and its effects on menopausal symptoms. 

Ultimately, this study contributes to the knowledge of black cohosh and its potential benefits. It provides women with valuable information to make informed decisions about managing their menopause symptoms.

Women considering black cohosh or any other treatment options for menopause should consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice and help determine the most suitable course of treatment based on individual needs and health conditions.