Menopause is a natural biological process you’ll one day experience if you menstruate, but the symptoms associated with this transitional period can be managed and mitigated naturally.
One of the most popular herbal treatments for symptoms of menopausal transition, or perimenopause, is black cohosh.
Black cohosh is a perennial herb with long, white flowers, and its root systems have been used as a solution for centuries in perimenopause symptom management.
Let’s look into the details of how perimenopause manifests in the body, and how black cohosh can be a powerful tool in relieving your symptoms.
What Is Perimenopause?
The prefix “peri-” means “around”, so perimenopause is the period during your body’s transition into menopause.
You may have heard the term “menopausal transition” — perimenopause is another term for this time.
You may experience this transition at different ages than others, with some symptoms such as irregular menstruation beginning in your 40s (or sometimes earlier, in your mid- to late-30s).
However, most people will experience the beginning of perimenopause around their mid 40’s.
What Happens During Perimenopause?
During perimenopause, your estrogen levels rise and fall in irregular intervals.
This hormonal change affects the length of your menstrual cycles, and it also affects ovulation.
Other symptoms of perimenopause are similar to those associated with menopause, including:
• Hot flashes
• Vaginal dryness
• Sleep problems
• Bladder infections or incontinence
• Decreased fertility and libido
After you’ve experienced 12 consecutive months without your period, the perimenopausal period is over and you’ve reached menopause.
What Is Black Cohosh?
Black cohosh, also known as bugbane or black snakeroot, is a medicinal plant.
It belongs to the buttercup family and is native to North America; in fact, the roots and rhizomes have been used as medicine by Native Americans for centuries.
Black cohosh is commonly used as a treatment for symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
How Black Cohosh Can Help Relieve Perimenopausal Symptoms
Black cohosh contains phytochemicals, which affect your endocrine system and relieve the symptoms associated with estrogen imbalance.
Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants — one you may have heard of is beta-carotene.
Along with regulating the effects of estrogen in your body, black cohosh also helps to reduce inflammation and assist brain function.
Studies have shown black cohosh relieves night sweats and hot flashes, including this 2010 study by Shams Et Al.
Another study, this one from 2012 by Beer Et Al suggests it can be useful for a number of other menopausal concerns as well.
Research on this medicinal plant is still ongoing and uncovering more possible benefits, such as regulating body temperature.
So, how do you take black cohosh?
Black cohosh is usually dried and consumed orally in different forms, such as a powder or compressed into capsules.
Black cohosh tea is a popular option as well. It generally tastes fairly mild, and smells earthy.
These supplements are typically readily available at health food stores and some pharmacies.
Potential Risks From Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is not regulated by the FDA, so there is no recognized standard dosage and different sources of this herb may contain different potency levels.
It’s very important to consult with your naturopathic doctor or other medical practitioner before consuming any new herbal supplement.
Black cohosh may have potential long-term effects on your liver function, although this is not yet confirmed by research.
Occasional stomach discomfort is the one known side effect of this herb, but there may be other side effects that have not yet been discovered.
You should only consume black cohosh as a short-term treatment of perimenopause or menopausal symptoms as more research must be done before long-term usage is recommended.
Black cohosh should also be avoided if you are taking birth control pills, hormone therapy, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Lastly, if you have a history of breast cancer or uterine cancer, you should avoid using black cohosh because of how it works similarly to estrogen in the body.
Your naturopath can help you find the best quality herbal treatment options after discussing dosage and supplement forms.
Other Potential Benefits Of Black Cohosh
Research is still ongoing into the benefits of black cohosh. The items listed below all have varying levels of research behind them – make sure to consult with your naturopathic doctor before using black cohosh for any of the following:
• Decreasing risk of breast cancer
• As a fertility treatment
• To induce labour in pregnant people
• Reducing arthritic pain
• Decreasing risk of osteoporosis
Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic
Black cohosh is a powerful herbal treatment known to relieve the uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms of perimenopause.
This bodily transition may be unavoidable, but you do not have to suffer these symptoms in silence.
For more information on whether black cohosh is right for you and your body, contact Annex Naturopathic.
We would love to work with you on an all-natural treatment plan to help ease your transition into menopause.
Herbal medicine has countless potential benefits, and we can tell you all about how these natural treatments can benefit your health.
Book an appointment with us at Annex Naturopathic today — we can help.