The controversy over Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) rages on. Over 40 million American women are within menopause age, and in five years the numbers will increase to over 60 million.
In the search for safe ways to reduce menopausal symptoms and discomfort without HRT, many have embraced black cohosh -- used traditionally as a remedy by Native Americans, and by Europeans since the 19th century.
A recent study found that Remifemin black cohosh extract reduced menopausal symptoms by 70 percent in 12 weeks, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability, and related occasional sleeplessness. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology (2005;105:1074-83) found that Remifemin significantly reduced menopausal symptoms. The results were similar to recent hormone replacement therapy study results showing Remifemin is a safe and effective alternative to HRT.
"Remifemin is clearly the world's most clinically tested black cohosh product, with over 15 clinical trials that demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the product," says Mark Blumenthal, Founder and Executive Director of the American Botanical Council. "Almost all of the scientific literature on black cohosh was conducted on Remifemin including recent clinical trials showing no estrogenic activity of the product." Remifemin is completely hormone-free, without plant-based estrogens that can affect breast and uterine cell growth. It is safe for women with a history of breast cancer who cannot take estrogen.
"Smart German chemists have been working on Remifemin for over 50 years," says Yale University School of Medicine Clinical Professor Mary Jane Minkin, MD, who recommends Remifemin as a standard alternative to HRT. "While its mechanism of action is unclear, black cohosh is one of the few products that seems to relieve hot flashes. Twenty percent of patients sail through menopause without problems, but eighty percent have varying degrees of symptoms, some severe," she explains. "I talk to everyone about Remifemin, along with lifestyle issues like healthy diet and exercise. I respect the personal preferences of my patients, many of whom do not want drug intervention." Dr. Minkin is author of A Woman's Guide to Menopause & Perimenopause (Yale University Press 2005).
Not all black cohosh is the same. Most products in the market lack the standardization and research that can ensure efficacy and safety, and multi- ingredient compounds can potentially create problems from drug interactions. "Remifemin, with over 90 scientific papers, is the most researched black cohosh product in the world," explains Matt Schueller, Senior VP Marketing for Enzymatic Therapy, Inc., exclusive distributors of Remifemin in North America and one of the first to introduce standardization to the U.S. supplement industry. "Comprising a proprietary, standardized extract (uniform dosage) of pure black cohosh root called RemiSure, it is the #1 OB/GYN-recommended non-prescription menopause therapy."