For most women, menopause passes by uneventfully .But for about 10% to 20 % of women menopausal period can be quite appalling.They suffer symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes (sensation of heat which comes on all of a sudden), and many more.
Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the conventional treatment of choice that is advised for women who suffer unpleasant symptoms during their menopausal period. Hormone therapy offers great relief from hot flashes and night sweats but raises the risk of cardiac complaints and breast cancer.
Black Cohosh, a dietary herbal supplement, was considered an effective alternative to hormone therapy,by many women .But a recent study has proven that Black Cohosh and certain other herbal supplements are ineffective in reducing hot flashes and night sweats.
Reseachers studied about 351 women in their late forties and early fifties, in whom the effect of using Black Cohosh was scrutinised .The lead researcher Katherine Newton, in Seattle, opined that it was disappointing but true that Black Cohosh or other natural remedies are not effective to supplement HRT. The Annals of Internal Medicine published the study.
A member of Buttercup family, Black Cohosh, is plant that grows in North America, from which various medicines are made by native Indians to treat illnesses, including female disorders. Black Cohosh was used by many women to ease night sweats and hot flashes.
The women who took part in the study were randomly divided into five groups. One group were treated with Black Cohosh, the second group was given a concoction of Black Cohosh along with other herbal ingredients like, oats, licorice, alfa alfa, Siberian ginseng and pomegranate. The third group were advised addition of soy supplements to their diet in addition to the herbal concoction given to group 2.The fourth group were advised hormone therapy. The last group were put on placebo.
The women on hormonal therapy showed significant changes in hot flashes, whereas those on Black Cohosh showed very little change almost like those on a placebo treatment.
The lead researcher pointed out that menopause is a natural phenomenon that occurs in women close to the age of 50, when due to aging the ovaries stop production of oestrogen, the female hormone. The hot flashes and night sweats cease eventually. Women should try avoiding consumption of alcohol and hot drinks, drink lots of chilled water and dress in layers to control intense hot flashes.
The executive director of the American Botanical Council begs to differ from the key findings of this research. He believes that the study was faulty in structure and this research cannot be the final judgement on Black Cohosh and other natural remedies for menopausal symptoms.