Recovering Yourself: Natural Menopause Relief

There are times when it can feel like menopause is a force that has hijacked your life. This inevitable fact of life can bring a host of symptoms – sometimes severe, and sometimes not – that need to be addressed in order to live a healthy, vibrant life and keep a positive perspective.

Unfortunately, you may want to skip the conventional choices for treating menopause symptoms; many of them carry the risk of serious consequences, including an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and heart attack. There is a better way. You can fight the irritability, night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms without resorting to risky pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy (HRT). And for that, you need an effective dosage level of concentrated black cohosh from a trusted source, to give you relief without the risks.

For many years, HRT was considered standard conventional treatment. Then, in 2002, a clinical trial known as the Women’s Health Initiative spotted a correlation between combined hormone therapy and the increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer.  As a result of these findings, many women experiencing menopause are looking for a natural alternative that works with the body, and without the risk.

Finding Black Cohosh That Works

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is an interesting botanical in many ways. It appears to have estrogenic effects as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), but unlike soy or red clover, it doesn’t appear to have any phytoestrogen content. The lack of phytoestrogens makes it safe to use for women who have had breast cancer. And, black cohosh is time-tested: over the course of decades of study and use, it has been proven to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other troubling menopause symptoms.

A scientific study has found that unlike HRT, black cohosh does not bind to estrogen receptors and does not have estrogenic effects on mammary cancer cells due to its mild modulating activity. For this reason, it has been considered an excellent intervention for breast cancer survivors who need to reduce menopause symptoms, but don’t want to deal with the risks of standard hormone therapy. In one 12-month clinical trial, 46 percent of the women taking black cohosh were free of hot flashes, while none in the placebo group were.

This is all good news, but I have heard from many women who say that black cohosh didn’t relieve their menopause symptoms at all, or only worked for a little while after they’d passed the eight-week average for the botanical to take full effect.

The effectiveness of black cohosh comes down to many things, and foremost among them are concentration, a full spectrum of compounds, and dosage levels. Even hundreds of milligrams of black cohosh, with the wrong extraction or concentration, just won’t work. In fact, European clinical studies have found that an effective dose of black cohosh is much less than you might expect – from a range of 6.5 to 13 mg daily. One review stated that other black cohosh preparations weren’t as effective because doses were too high or because they were adulterated with inert plants. In fact, doses of hundreds of milligrams are ineffective. This is one case where less is definitely more! In some cases, as reported by the American Botanical Council, adulterated black cohosh supplements actually caused harm. So it is critically important to choose wisely.

Choose the Right Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is probably one of the best recognized herbs for menopause. I’d bet if you asked people you know – even people who don’t use supplements – to name any five botanicals they’d find in a health food store, black cohosh would be one of them.

But there’s more to herbal effectiveness than simply knowing its name. It’s important to learn the differences between extraction methods, concentration, dosage levels, and how well it relieves symptoms. If you’re dealing with the frustrating symptoms of menopause or perimenopause, I urge you to try a 13 mg level of black cohosh, or black cohosh combined with rhodiola. Be sure to give it some time and use it each day to get the best effect.

I recommend taking 13 mg of concentrated black cohosh daily to relieve the mood swings, night sweats, hot flashes, and other symptoms associated with menopause.

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