Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rooting for coolness?

Investigators from the Mayo Clinic set out to determine whether menopausal flashers were better off using black cohosh root to treat the heat compared with no herbs at all.

132 hot women were assigned to try the supplement for 4 weeks followed by a month on fake cohosh. They all kept daily diaries (covered in hot pink no doubt) in which they scored each flash from 1-4 for severity. Total points for the fourth treatment and placebo weeks were compared to a baseline week prior to the study's start.

The average decrease in hot flash score was 20% for the week on black cohosh vs. 27% for the week on fake cohosh. This extraordinary placebo response has been noted in many other menopausal symptom treatment trials. Investigators concluded that black cohosh does not beat the postmenopausal heat.

I had one patient develop hepatitis as a result of using black cohosh. This side effect is uncommon but has been previously reported.

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