Complete guide to black cohosh

Introduction to black cohosh

Black cohosh, or Actaea Cimicifuga racemosa, is a medicinal plant primarily recognised for its effectiveness in relieving menopause-related symptoms. Used in phytotherapy, it offers a natural alternative to alleviate both neurovegetative (hot flashes, sleep disturbances, night sweats) and psychological (irritability, nervousness, mood swings, anxiety) issues. The WHO (World Health Organisation) acknowledges black cohosh for its beneficial effects on hot flashes and sleep disturbances related to menopause.


Health benefits of black cohosh

Regulation of menopause symptoms

The roots and rhizomes of black cohosh contain active compounds such as triterpene glycosides, phenolic acids, and alkaloids. These substances play a key role in regulating the nervous and hormonal systems, balancing the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters essential for emotional balance and control of menopause symptoms.

Emotional and psychological support

Beyond its impact on physical symptoms, black cohosh contributes to better emotional balance, alleviating irritability, nervousness, and mood swings often experienced during menopause.


How does black cohosh work on menopause symptoms?

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) works on menopause symptoms primarily through its active phytochemical compounds, which influence the endocrine and nervous systems. Here’s how it acts on menopause symptoms:

Influence on the hormonal system

  • Modulation of estrogen receptors: Black cohosh contains phytoestrogens, plant substances that can mimic or modulate the activity of estrogen in the body. Although their action is much weaker than that of human estrogen, these compounds can help partially offset the decline in estrogen levels during menopause, thereby reducing hot flashes and other symptoms.
  • Hormonal balance: The triterpene glycosides in black cohosh may play a role in balancing hormones, helping to reduce symptoms related to hormonal fluctuations during menopause.

Effect on the nervous system

  • Sedative action: Black cohosh has a calming effect on the nervous system, which can help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia as well as irritability and anxiety often associated with menopause.
  • Regulation of neurotransmitters: The compounds in black cohosh can influence the production and activity of key neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, which play a role in mood regulation and stress response.


Precautions and side effects of black cohosh

Black cohosh is a well-tolerated plant that does not present a risk of major side effects. However, in rare cases (intolerance or extreme overdose), occasional adverse effects may occur such as gastrointestinal disturbances, a feeling of heaviness in the legs, headaches, or dizziness. Consumption of black cohosh is not recommended for people with liver disorders or a history of hormone-dependent cancers. If undergoing any medical treatment, it is advisable to seek the opinion of a doctor or pharmacist to avoid any risk of drug interactions.


Usefulness of Actaea racemosa in menopause

The usefulness of black cohosh in menopause is well established, offering women going through this period a natural option to manage symptoms without resorting to hormone treatments.


Dangers and contraindications of black cohosh

It is important to note that the use of black cohosh should be done with caution, particularly for individuals at risk mentioned previously. Its consumption should be avoided in case of known allergy to the plant.


How to consume black cohosh?

Black cohosh is available in various forms, such as infusions or dietary supplements to overcome the symptoms of menopause. The recommended dose varies depending on the chosen form and should be adjusted according to the advice of a healthcare professional to avoid any risk of overdose or interaction with other ongoing treatments.


History of black cohosh

The Latin name of black cohosh, "Cimicifuga," comes from "cimex" for bug and "fugo" meaning to flee, because this plant was once used to repel bugs. This is why black cohosh is sometimes called bugbane!

Combining tradition and modern science, black cohosh is a valuable ally for women going through menopause, requiring thoughtful and safe use.