Black Cohosh was actually introduced into medicine by Native Americans, who placed a high value on it. American Indians boiled the Black Cohosh roots in water and drank the beverage for a variety of conditions ranging from rheumatism, diseases of women, and the pain of sore throats. Black Cohosh was subsequently used, especially by the Indian medicine man, for all these conditions but mostly for so-called uterine difficulties (regularity of cycles).
Scientific studies have shown that a methanol extract of black cohosh contains substances that bind to estrogen receptors of rat uteri. Cohosh extract also causes a selective reduction in luteinizing (luetinizing is a female hormone produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland) hormone levels in rats. These results are generally universally interpreted to mean that Black Cohosh possesses some degree of estrogenic (stimulating and leveling) power.
A 1991 study confirmed an LH secretion inhibitory effect in both rats and in 110 menopausal women, demonstrating that the black cohosh extract selectively suppresses luteinizing hormone secretion in menopausal women.
Black cohosh is recommended in Europe for various conditions, including symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhea, and menopause. Reported activities include an estrogen-like action, binding to estrogen receptors, and suppression of luteinizing hormone. Occasional stomach pain or intestinal discomfort has been reported.
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