Black cohosh is one of the most well researched herbs for menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes. In fact, several clinical studies indicate that black cohosh is as effective as hormone therapy for relief of this symptom. The herb was shown to be as effective as low-dose hormone therapy within a month.
At the University of Pavia in Italy, researchers found that black cohosh was as effective as low-dose hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms. In this study, 64 postmenopausal women recorded the number of hot flashes per day for 90 days while taking either black cohosh or a placebo. Anxiety, depression, hormone and cholesterol levels were also measured. Researchers found that both black cohosh and hormone therapy had significantly reduced the number of hot flashes per day, starting in the first month of treatment. This positive effect was maintained throughout the entire study. Anxiety and depression were reduced, as were LDL cholesterol levels. HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels increased only in the herb treatment group.
Researchers at Hildesheim General Hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Germany also found black cohosh to be highly effective in the treatment of hot flashes. In this study, 304 patients were given either black cohosh or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. The researchers scored the women on their menopausal symptoms over the course of the study and found that women in the herb treatment group reported fewer hot flashes and more overall symptom relief—particularly women in the early phases of menopause. Researches found that black cohosh was also well tolerated and safe.
Sources: Gynecol Endocrinol. 2005 Jan;20(1):30-5; Obstet Gynecol. 2005 May;105(5 Pt 1):1074-83