Black Cohosh for the Management of Menopausal Symptoms
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Alternative medicine preparations represent a significant industry worldwide. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), a buttercup plant grown in North America, is one such popular preparation for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Because the proportion of women experiencing climacteric symptoms is high, black cohosh merits further study as to its efficacy and safety. Convincing evidence for its efficacy in this setting remains to be demonstrated. The purpose of this systematic review was to assess the current literature on the benefits of black cohosh for women experiencing climacteric symptoms. To this end, a PubMed search was conducted on 1 November 2007 using the search terms ‘black cohosh’ AND ‘menopause’. The search was limited to randomized controlled trials in the English language involving adults. Several additional reviews dealing with alternative therapies for menopause were included to capture additional older and non-English language literature. Ultimately, 16 studies eligible for review were identified. Many of the studies had conflicting results. Methodological flaws included lack of uniformity of the drug preparation used, variable outcome measures and lack of a placebo group. The benefits of black cohosh in the management of climacteric symptoms remain to be proven. Case studies suggest an additional unexplored area of adverse events that also needs to be addressed.
No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.
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