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Hot flashes are the worst. Night sweats? Ugh. If you're seeking a natural remedy for these frustrating issues, it's time to look into black cohosh. Native Americans and Chinese herbalists have traditionally used the plant to treat a variety of ailments and as an insect repellant, but more and more women today are using it to alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Though the current body of research on the relationship between black cohosh and menopause is limited, studies do show promising results. One published in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion in 2018 noted that the plant, which is native to the United States and Southern Canada, was an "effective alternative treatment in relieving the severity of hot flashes and improvement of quality of life in menopausal period." It reduced the number of hot flashes participants experienced more than evening primrose oil, another common natural remedy for menopause symptoms.
Experts say more information is needed to learn exactly how black cohosh works, but research suggests it has an affect on the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones both increase during menopause, so black cohosh may be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes by lowering LH and FSH levels.
Common side effects include upset stomach and rash, though some rare cases of serious liver damage have been reported, so it's best to consult with a doctor before adding a black cohosh supplement to your diet. Once you get the okay, many women recommend Nature's Way Black Cohosh 540 milligram capsules ($9.30, Amazon), which are gluten-free, soy- and dairy-free, and vegetarian. This thrice-a-day supplement has reduced the frequency of hot flashes for some women, and totally stopped them for others.
"I’ve had TERRIBLE night sweats for the last six months or so. Total Hysterectomy 2011. Occasional day time hot flashes. Night sweats have been keeping from sleeping well. I have to take a shower twice a day and change my sheets daily. Wash pillows three + a week. I’ve used this one time a day in the morning for a week and I have had ZERO night sweats!!! Energy has increased during the day too," one woman raved.
Some people use black cohosh along with other natural menopause supplements like St. John's wort, evening primrose oil, sage, and red clover, but you should ask your doctor first before starting any new medications.
While menopause is a normal part of aging, its debilitating symptoms don't have to be. You may find black cohosh will help you sleep through the night sweat-free.