Millions of women could be at risk of liver disorders due to their consumption of a herbal remedy to counter menopause symptoms.
An official alert was issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency yesterday over Cimicifuga racemosa, and such warnings are to soon appear on all products containing the plant extract. Black cohosh, as the extract is known, is also sold as black snakeroot, rattlesnake root and squawroot, and has a market worth of £4.6 million a year.
Black cohosh, sold as drops or capsules, costing between £5 and £10 for a month's supply, has been available in Britain for several years. Its demand increased since 2003, when a study related HRT with higher risks of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.
People partaking the remedy are not being advised to stop, but are counseled to seek medical advice if they suffer from unexplained nausea, or flu-like symptoms.