Cimicifuga racemosa, commonly known as black cohosh or fairy candle, is a plant of the Ranuncolaceae family, it grows spontaneously in North America but in all the herbalist’s and chemists’ shops it is possible to find its extract.
Black cohosh and its beneficial properties in menopause
The cimicifuga, so called because the plant releases an unpleasant smell to insects, is a very interesting natural remedy that is useful in menopause thanks to the substances contained called triterpenes glucosides. Triterpenes glucosides are, in fact, able to inhibit the secretion of the luteinizing hormone, which instead is in high quantities during the menopause. Thanks to this action, the black cohosh is beneficial and able to alleviate various symptoms related to menopause such as flushing, dryness of the private parts but also bone problems. In fact, as evidenced by scientific studies, 3 months of treatment with black cohosh in post menopausal women have been able to stimulate the activity of osteoblasts thus counteracting bone erosion (Wuttke et al, Menopause, Mar 2006). Another study (Sakineh Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi et al, Chin Med, 2013) showed that taking for 2 months tablets containing 6.5 mg of cimicifuga extracts generally reduced all symptoms related to menopause such as anxiety, depression, flushing, irritability and fatigue. In particular, the cimicifuga was able to alleviate the severity of flushing but also to reduce the number of these phenomena and this action was more effective than other natural remedies used to fight these annoying menopausal symptoms such as, for example, common evening primrose, scientific name Oenothera biennis (Mehrpooya et al, J Educ Health Promotions, Mar 2018).
Cimicifuga, safety and side effects
The cimicifuga is considered a safe remedy if it is taken for a limited period of time. However, in some cases, side effects such as nausea, headache and dizziness have been reported. For what concerns, instead, the intake for long periods of time, at present still no scientific studies are available to show the possible safety of the remedy (Huntley et al, Expert Opin Drug Saf, Nov 2004). In any case, always ask your doctor for advice to assess your personal situation and any interactions with other drugs.