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Black Cohosh Does Not Treat Hot Flashes

The effectiveness of Black cohosh, a drug used to treat post menopausal women was checked by a federally funded study// and was proved to be no better than a dummy pill.

There was a marked decrease in the severity and frequency of symptoms by 30% in a year’s span irrespective of the fact whether women took Black cohosh or a placebo.

Black cohosh, a perennial herb member of the buttercup family, is the most widely used herbal remedy for hot flashes.

The Herbal Alternatives for Menopause Trial (HALT), was a one-year, double-blind, randomized, and controlled trial comparing the effects of three formulations of black cohosh with hormone therapy and placebo for relief of hot flashes and night sweats.

Researchers assigned 351 women aged 45 to 55 to one of five groups:

? black cohosh alone

? multi-herb pill with black cohosh and nine other ingredients

? the multi-herb pill plus counseling to increase intake of dietary soy

? hormone therapy (estrogen with or without progestin)

? placebo (dummy pill)

"About 80 percent of women who go through menopause experience hot flashes," said Katherine M. Newton, PhD, Associate Director for Research at Group Health in Seattle, and lead author of the study.”

"Many women are looking for alternatives to hormone therapy which is the most proven remedy for hot flashes, and many are using alternative medicines," Newton said. "The most commonly used alternative is black cohosh. But we found that black cohosh was no better than placebo in treating hot flashes."

The study found that hormone therapy gave women most relief, reducing symptoms by an average of about four symptoms per day more than placebo.

Hormone therapy was included in the HALT study because it is a well-known and proven treatment to reduce menopausal symptoms. The HALT study began in 2001 and stopped the hormone therapy arm of the trial after the Women's H
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