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Black Cohosh Questions
Greetings... have just started taking
black cohosh, the one I bought contains licorice and dong quai
as well...can someone give me some "laymens" insight
into the combination of these three herbs? Taking the BC due
to some "change" symptoms I've been experiencing...Many
Black Cohosh [Cimicifuga
racemosa] - also called Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Rattleroot,
Rattleweed, Squawroot It is a herb having a powerful action
as a relaxant and a normalizer of the female reproductive system.
It may be used beneficially in cases of painful or delayed menstruation,
ovarian cramps or cramping pain in the womb. This was a familiar
herb used by the Algonquins for the very reasons I mention.
It was said in "Folk Wisdom" the root tea was taken
in the treatment of rheumatic pains, and also for in muscular
and neurological pain. It finds use in sciatica andneuralgia.
As a relaxing nervine it may be used in many situations where
such an agent is needed. It has been found beneficial in cases
Despite all of Black Cohosh's benefits
there can be risks associated with its use.
Liqorice is a traditional herbal
remedy with an ancient history and world-wide usage. Modern
research has shown it to have effects upon, amongst other organs,
the endocrine system and liver.
There is a small possibility of effecting electrolyte balance
with extended use of large doses of liquorice. It has an ACTH
like effect causing retention of sodium thus raising BP.
The whole herb has constituents that
counter this but it is best to avoid Liqorice if you have hypertension,
kidney disease or during pregnancy.
Dong quai is an aromatic herb that
grows in China, Korea, and Japan and is considered an all-purpose
woman's tonic herb used for almost every gynecological complaint
from regulating the menstrual cycle to treating menopausal symptoms
caused by hormonal changes. Dong quai, sometimes called "female
ginseng," contains vitamins E, A and B12 is given as a
general tonic and energy booster and is said to produce a balancing
effect on estrogen activity. Another herb that should never
been taken during pregnancy.
Sometimes what we see is not what we get. I always caution anyone
to please not medicate themselves but to seek the help of a
professional licensed Holistic Practitioner.
Nods in agreement with
Lotus. I hate to be a party pooper, but there are various negative
connotations with the herbs you mention. It is always wise,
when affecting the hormonal system of our bodies, to consult
with a professional. Hormones are essential to our systems,
even well after menopause. Self-medication that affects our
hormones, even for a month, can upset and deregulate the entire
system for decades, which can cause more severe issues than
you are treating at the moment.
Also, for some, menopause isn't about estrogens. For some, it
is about progesterones. Most hormone replacements, whether naturopathic,
herbal or allopathic, concentrate on the estrogenic decline.
We are not all alike, and therefore our personal hormone balance
needs to be taken into account before taking what is readily
available for the "average" menopause. These herbs
are NOT to be taken during pregnancy, to induce labor, or to
encourage energy levels during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Black Cohosh has some negative implications
when used for menopause issues. It can cause headaches, gastric
complaints, heaviness in the legs and weight problems. It has
also been noted that liver issues can arise from long term (more
than six months) continuous use of black cohosh. Long-term use
may adversely affect uterine or breast tissue. No studies have
been published on long-term safety in humans, particularly regarding
abnormal stimulation of cells in the uterine lining or breast.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, it is not advisable
to use black cohosh until further long time studies have been
done. Licorice root helps with joint and stomach lining issues
that are related to the stress hormone cortisol and the adrenal
glands. The steroid-like compounds in licorice can change to
estradiol and estrone which are estrogen precursors. These give
licorice mild estrogenic properties -very helpful during the
menopause. Licorice may increase blood pressure and increase
intake of licorice root is discouraged and should only be undertaken
if prescribed by a qualified health care professional.
Dong Quai, one of the most important
of the Chinese tonic herbs, is used as a nourishing blood tonic
and to regulate the menstrual cycle. Dong
Quai has been used for centuries by Asian healers to balance
female hormones and to prevent the troublesome symptoms of menopause
and PMS. Clinical research has indicated that Dong Quai also
contains antispasmodic compounds that aid in relaxing muscle
tissue, explaining its effectiveness in treating menstrual cramps.
Unfortunately most of the studies on Dong Quai were carried
out in China and are of poor quality. Since there are only very
few, and very small, studies done in North America, it is not
possible to say how differently Dong Quai reacts to our western
diet and lifestyle, or how our western bodies can react to it.
Dong Quai may cause sensitivity to the sun.
It is advisable
to consult with a trained and registered Traditional Chinese
Medicine (TCM) professional if you feel that you may benefit
from the use of Dong Quai for hormonal purposes. This professional
will be able to determine for you whether it suits your Chi
and general constitution.
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