The effect of the active ingredients in black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) strongly resembles estrogen’s influence in the body. The herb is therefore very useful for alleviating menstrual cramps and menopausal problems such as hot flashes and night sweats. A daily 16 mg tablet or capsule usually diminishes symptoms within two weeks.
Black cohosh is also an excellent nervous system tonic for both women and men, and it brings desperately sought relief from the unexplained muscle pains of fibromyalgia.
Supplements of this vegetable, not to be confused with the traditional Thanksgiving treat, have been hailed far and wide as a natural sex hormone. Don’t be duped. Mexican yam extracts have been pitched to men as a natural muscle building, erection-raising supplement and to women as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy. According to the advertised claims, the body converts the extract’s active ingredient, called diosgenin, into either progesterone, testosterone, or DHEA—precisely which depends on the targeted audience.
In the real world, the body doesn’t turn diosgenin into anything, at least not anything that resembles either gender’s sex hormones. To accomplish the feat, you may start with dioscorea, but you also need a laboratory, knowledge of a complicated chemical procedure, and a supply of sulfuric acid. Be that as it may, I and thousands~ of my patients find that supplements, and especially creams, containing Mexican yam have minimized their menopausal and premenstrual maladies and allowed many of them to stop taking estrogen.
Dioscorea, however, does not deserve all of the credit. The most effective of these products have been spiked with synthetic versions of natural progesterone or contain other natural substances, such as pregnenolone and vitamin A, that help the body generate a little more of its own female hormones.
This wonderful plant, called the chaste berry because of its reputation for suppressing a woman’s libido, has been used for centuries as a tonic for general female health. It seems to nourish the pituitary gland, a control center for balancing hormonal activity. If a 175 mg capsule is taken once every morning, the extract can curb premenstrual tension and various symptoms of menopause. Don’t expect immediate results.
Sometimes three to six months may pass before you notice Vitex’s influence.