The popular herbal supplement black cohosh does not relieve hot flashes among women going through menopause, according to a study by researchers from Group Health Cooperative, a Seattle-based health care system.
Published in the December 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, this study is the first of its kind to compare various forms of black cohosh to a placebo and to hormone therapy (estrogen with or without progestin).
"Black cohosh used alone or as part of a multibotanical supplement shows little potential as an important therapy for relief of hot flashes," the researchers concluded. The herbal interventions were no better than placebo. Hormone therapy, on the other hand, significantly reduced the frequency of hot flashes.
"We were disappointed by the findings because many women want an alternative to hormone therapy, and many have assumed that black cohosh is a safe, effective choice," said Katherine M. Newton, PhD, associate director of Group Health Center for Health Studies and the principal investigator of the study. "While hormone therapy is still the most effective treatment for hot flashes, recent studies have shown that it poses serious risks."
Newton estimates that 80 percent of women experience hot flashes around the time of menopause, which typically happens between ages 45 and 55. The average age of menopause is 51.
To conduct the study, the researchers randomly assigned 351 peri-menopausal or post-menopausal women, aged 45 to 55, to one of five therapies:
1) black cohosh (160 mg daily)
2) multibotanical supplement, including black cohosh (200 mg daily), alfalfa, boron, chaste tree, dong quai, false unicorn, licorice, oats, pomegranate, and Siberian ginseng
3) multibotanical supplement plus diet counseling to increase consumption of soy
4) menopausal hormone therapy (estrogen with or without progestin)
The study was double-blinded, meaning that the study participants and the staff did not know which treatment was assigned to any given woman. Evaluating the women at three, six, and 12 months, the researchers found no significant difference between the numbers of daily hot flashes in any of the herbal supplement groups when compared to the placebo group. Specifically, women taking the herbal treatments reduced their hot flashes by about one half an episode per day when compared to women taking the placebo. The women taking hormone therapy reduced their hot flashes by about bout four episodes per day when compared to placebo.
"Prior to our study, the trials of black cohosh were small and of short duration," explains Susan Reed, MD, MPH, co-investigator and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington. "Our study was the largest and longest to date. Plus, we had good controls with both the placebo and hormone therapy arms, allowing us to definitively show differences between the groups taking herbs and the placebo group."
With no strong evidence that herbal alternatives work for hot flashes, Newton suggests several behavioral changes women can make. These include dressing in layers, sleeping in a cooler room, keeping ice water and a fan nearby, and avoiding possible triggers such as very hot liquids and alcohol.
Newton also notes that hot flashes decreased during the 12-month course of participation in all the study groups, including the placebo group. "We call this the ‘tincture of time'—that is, over time, hot flashes nearly always go away on their own," Newton said.
Joan DeClaire | EurekAlert!
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy