The Benefits of Black Cohosh Supplements for Breast Cancer
Extracts of black cohosh may halt the growth of breast cancer cells, according to a new study conducted by the French company Naturex and published in the journal “Phytomedicine.” The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
In experiments with human breast cancer cells, scientists found that black cohosh appeared to trigger a “stress response” in the cells, causing them to commit suicide.
The researchers found that compounds called triterpene glycosides, the main active component of black cohosh, appeared to change the structure of the cancer cells and push them toward committing suicide — a process known as programmed cell death. However, much more study is needed before that becomes a reality, the researchers say.
An additional epidemiological case-control clinical study of 949 breast cancer cases and 1,524 controls found that black cohosh use had significant protective effects against breast cancer development.
In this study, researchers applied extracts of black cohosh to breast cancer cells in a laboratory setting. Growth of cancer cells was inhibited in cell lines that had the extract added, apparently due to an increase in programmed cell death (apoptosis).
The researchers linked the cancer-inhibiting effects of black cohosh extract to its content of triterpene glycosides.
The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, needs significant support from future studies before it can be recommended as a breast cancer preventative, but the research could offer a new avenue of research for the herb most commonly used by women to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
After adjusting for potential confounding factors the use of black cohosh was associated with a 61 per cent reduction in the risk of breast cancer, said the researchers. This risk reduction was also observed for Remifemin, a herbal preparation derived from black cohosh. Those who took Remifemin had a 53 percent lower risk of breast cancer.
Previous studies have shown that black cohosh can block cell growth. The herb is also an antioxidant, and has been shown to have anti-estrogen effects as well.
What is black cohosh?
Cimicifugae racemosae rhizome, also known as black cohosh, is a plant in the buttercup family that is native to eastern North America, ranging from central Georgia in the south to southern Ontario in the north, and as far west as Missouri. It is also known as black bugbane, black snakeroot and fairy candle
Black Cohosh is a phytoestrogen alternative medicine promoted to alleviate menopausal symptoms without hormonal treatment. It is often used by women with a history of breast cancer. There is no real evidence that it is effective.
Black cohosh alone or in combination with other herbs, has been shown in clinical studies to be effective in the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
Black cohosh is an increasingly popular alternative to estrogen replacement therapy for the relief of menopausal symptoms, primarily hot flushes. However, an important consideration for long-term therapy is potential toxicity and carcinogenicity. Therefore, we undertook a study to assess the estrogenic activity of black cohosh to examine its safety for those with, or at high risk of developing, breast cancer
A reliable, clinically-studied black cohosh extract can provide natural relief from hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings. It allows you to have a strong alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.†
Many women are choosing dietary supplements for the management of menopausal symptoms — especially since serious health concerns have been raised about hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Doesn’t black cohosh contain plant based estrogens?
There had been some concern that black cohosh may contain plant based estrogens, or phytoestrogens, which can stimulate the growth of breast tumors.
Comprehensive research has proven that Black cohosh is not estrogenic. Research published in November 2003 in the International Journal of Oncology evaluated Black cohosh in all of the assay systems currently known to ascertain whether it was estrogenic, carcinogenic or had potential toxicity. Black cohosh was found NOT to demonstrate any estrogenic action whatsoever. It was deemed safe and not carcinogenic.
Fredi Kronenberg, PhD, director of the Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University in New York City, has recently concluded laboratory research on the estrogenic effects of black cohosh on breast cancer cells. Her research has shown that the herb contains no formononetin, an estrogenic isoflavone, as had been previously reported. She also found that black cohosh has no estrogenic effect on breast cancer cells in a test tube.
The best-known and most highly recommended black cohosh product for breast cancer is Remifemin.
Remifemin is a herbal supplement that is taken to relieve common symptoms that women experience as a result of menopause (permanent menstruation cessation). It is a natural medication that comes in tablet form. It is extracted from the black cohosh plant. Alongside the body, Remifemin works to encourage physical and emotional harmony. There are a lot of benefits associated with Remifemin.
Remifemin black cohosh extract, the most extensively researched, non-prescription menopausal therapy has been found to safely and effectively reduce hot flashes, night sweats and irritability. Now, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer has shown that this proprietary herbal product lowers the risk of breast cancer by as much as 60%.
“The standardized Remifemin black cohosh extract has antiestrogenic, antiproliferative and antioxidant properties,” said Dr. Eckehard Liske, Director of the International Medical Department, Schaper & Bruemmer GmbH & Co KG, Salzgitter, Germany. “Rebbeck’s research suggests that Remifemin may help in reducing the risk of breast cancer.”
Why use Remifemin?
Remifemin provides effective relief for a 70% reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, mood swings and occasional sleeplessness and anxiety. In fact, over 15 clinical studies prove it’s a safe and effective alternative to HRT for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, thanks to its completely estrogen-free RemiSure black cohosh.
In the past, black cohosh was believed to be a phytoestrogen, a plant-based substance that has actions similar to estrogen. However, growing evidence indicates that black cohosh does not have general estrogen-like actions. Rather, it may act like estrogen only in certain places: the brain (reducing hot flashes), bone (potentially fighting osteoporosis), and vagina (reducing vaginal dryness).
Remifemin contains a special black cohosh extract that was produced using contemporary analytical methods and results in standardized black cohosh root extract (which, unlike other types of black cohosh, has absolutely no effect on levels of hormones). Standardized black cohosh produces a better compound spectrum compared to black cohosh derived from other extraction techniques. Also, it does not contain any estrogen and is completely drug free.
Remifemin is also completely safe for women who have experienced breast cancer to use. It has been proven to not have any negative estrogenic effects (meaning, it doesn’t behave similarly to the estrogen hormone).
Suggested use: The typical dose suggested is 20 to 40 milligrams of Remifemin twice daily.