Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is a plant species of the Ranunculaceae family which seems to be a promising agent for relieving menopausal symptoms.
Its biological activity is due to the content of such substances as: triterpene glycosides (cimicifugoside, deoxyactein and actein), cinnamic acid derivatives (ferulic and isoferulic acid) and alkaloids (n-methylcytisine).
The mechanism of action of this plant has not been fully recognised yet. Studies suggest that triterpene glycosides have features of a phyto-selective estrogen receptor modulator (phyto-SERM), acting as agonists and antagonists of estrogen receptor α and β. In addition, active substances in the plant are believed to modulate levels of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in the hypothalamus, which may result in the optimisation of the thermoregulatory centre.
Extracts from black cohosh may prove effective in climacterium – thereby reducing unpleasant vasomotor symptoms – hot flashes and night sweats. What is more, they reduce emotional instability and prevent insomnia.