Herbal Menopause Treatment Fails to Impress Researchers
As women weigh potential risks of traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) versus its benefits as a treatment for the symptoms of menopause, more and more women are turning to alternative therapies. But do the alternative remedies work?
Black cohosh is among a group of plants and herbs known as phyto estrogens, which have been marketed as herbal substitutions to HRT. But while hormone replacement therapy has been proven to help prevent bone density loss, a new study shows that black cohosh does not have the same effect. Moderate exercise however, is an effective way to maintain bone density.
Researchers at the University of Erlangen, Germany recruited 128 post-menopausal women. They divided the women into two groups, one of which was randomly assigned to a regular exercise program, while the other group maintained a "wellness" program of very light exercise and stretching. A portion of women from the exercise group were also given 40-milligrams of black cohosh per day. After one year, the active group maintained their bone density, while the wellness group showed a 2 percent decline in bone density. The addition of the supplement made no significant difference, and the exercisers who took the supplement showed results similar to the rest of the active group.