The hormonal changes of menopause can produce a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from hot flashes and vaginal dryness to anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Many of these symptoms are caused by the natural decrease in oestrogen production that occurs for women at that time.
Yes, we are all aware that menopause is not a disease. It is clearly a natural process, but one that many women prefer not to experience. Women are not too keen, and who could blame them, on accepting as merely part of life the decrease in libido, pain during intercourse, years of hot flashes, and other uncomfortable problems that may accompany menopause.
Oestrogen-replacement therapy can alleviate many of the problems associated with menopause. However, it creates counterbalancing risks. The most frightening issue is the increased risk of breast cancer that appears to be associated with replacement oestrogen. In addition, oestrogen therapy can cause blood clots in the legs, and it appears to raise the risk of heart disease rather than prevent it (as previously thought).
For these reason many women trust natural therapies and we do have herbs that we can use to alleviate these symptoms. They have been extensively researched. One of them is Black Cohosh. The best study was a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 304 women with menopausal symptoms. This study(1) appeared to find that black cohosh was more effective than placebo. The best evidence was for a reduction in hot flashes. So why should women suffer?
(1) Osmers R, Friede M, Liske E, et al. Efficacy and safety of isopropanolic black cohosh extract for climacteric symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;105:1074-1083.