WOMEN’S HEALTH: Black Cohosh is an Old Female Cure All

wh-april-1.jpgHot flash help may be available from the Native American herb, black cohosh.

If you’re following current trends, you’re probably at least mildly interested in what natural solutions are available for common women’s health problems. Oddly enough, much of what are considered ‘new’ natural options have actually been in use by native cultures for centuries. One option is black cohosh, the herb used by Native Americans for the gynecological aspects of women’s health.

Black cohosh is a perennial plant, and a member of the buttercup family, native to North America. Preparations are made from its roots and rhizomes (underground stems). It was also used in 19th century America as a home remedy for rheumatism and fever, and to bring on menstruation. A group of alternative practitioners from this era called it ‘macrotys’, and prescribed it for menstrual problems, inflammation of the uterus and ovaries, infertility, miscarriage prevention, and to ease labor pains.

Today, black cohosh is recognized by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as possibly being helpful on a short term basis for women experiencing hot flashes during menopause.

Exactly why black cohosh helps to relieve hot flashes is not known. Most likely, its helpful properties come from phytoestrogens — substances found in plants that act as a weak form of estrogen in the female body when ingested.

Much is not yet known about this powerful herb. It is suggested that you consult with your health care practitioner before using black cohosh, especially if there is any chance you could get pregnant, as it could act to stimulate the uterus.

The use of black cohosh, in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, may decrease hot flashes and other menopausal discomforts.

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