With hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increasingly discredited, healthcare providers have become supportive of the use of the black cohosh extract as an alternative to treat menopausal symptoms, according to a new study.
Black cohosh is a perennial woodland plant native to the eastern parts of North America, and its root has long been used to prepare herbal supplements and remedies.
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine, who designed the survey, says 63 percent of respondents admitted discussing the use of the extract with their doctors, and nearly 54 percent said their physicians were ‘supportive’ or ‘very supportive’ of the therapy.
"We hypothesize that the reason for the high level of support among healthcare providers was because the black cohosh extract is the most widely researched non-pharmaceutical therapy for reducing menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and occasional irritability," says Minkin.
The primary reason women said they used black cohosh was to avoid HRT after recent scientific studies have linked it to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease.
Results of the web-based survey of 692 women were presented at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists annual meeting in Chicago.