No pause in hot flashes from black cohosh

Natural remedies do little to relieve menopausal symptoms
Drs. Susan Reed (left) and Andrea LaCroix
Drs. Susan Reed (left) and Andrea LaCroix determined that black cohosh and other popular natural remedies do not reduce the frequency or severity of hot flashes. Photo by Stephanie Cartier

Common natural therapies for treating menopausal hot flashes and night sweats work no better than a placebo, according to recent study results from Hutchinson Center researchers and colleagues.

Drs. Susan Reed and Andrea LaCroix of the Public Health Sciences Division collaborated with scientists from Group Health Cooperative's Center for Health Studies and Bastyr University to determine that black cohosh alone, a multibotanical herbal product (which included black cohosh) and increased soy intake did not reduce the frequency or severity of hot flashes and night sweats.

The researchers, led by Group Health's Dr. Katherine Newton, followed 351 women aged 45 to 55 for one year. Study results appeared in the Dec. 19, 2006, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

WHI connection

Use of natural or herbal therapies for menopausal symptoms is popular among women, particularly since 2002, when the Women's Health Initiative found women who took hormone therapy had a higher risk for heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. However, there has been little research to evaluate the effectiveness of natural therapies.

For more information, view the complete journal article at

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