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Black Cohosh Not Always What It Seems

Study Shows Some Supplements Sold as Black Cohosh Contain Other Herbs

How Can Consumers Tell? continued...

The best known and best-selling black cohosh supplement now available is Remifemin, marketed by Enzymatic Therapy Inc. of Green Bay, Wis.

It is also one of the few products to have been tested in clinical trials, says Pam Boggs, who is a spokeswoman for the North American Menopause Society.

Boggs tells WebMD that the findings have been mixed, but some studies do suggest that Remifemin does relieve mild hot flash symptoms in perimenopausal women.

"We rarely mention brand names, but this is one time when we will," she says. "The Remifemin formulation has been studied, and we don't know of any other formulations that have undergone the same degree of scientific scrutiny."

But Boggs adds that none of the herbal supplements or other over-the-counter products has been shown to be effective for severe hot flash symptoms.

Estrogen therapy is still the best treatment for more severe hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, but not all women can take them.

Other prescription medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and the epilepsy drug Neurotonin, have also been shown to reduce hot flashes in some women.

"The prescription medications work for many women, but they all have their own side effects," Boggs says. "There is no free lunch."

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