How Black Cohosh Can Tame a Woman's Hot Flashes
January 11, 2007
Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, has been traditionally used to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
New research has determined that it may work by acting on human "mu" opiate receptors, which help to regulate body temperature.
Opiate receptors respond to opiates endorphins and morphine. The opiate receptor system also affects levels of sex hormones and neurotransmitters, and can cause responses including the regulation of pain, temperature and appetite.
Hot flashes may be caused by declining estrogen levels, which can change neurotransmitter levels. This causes the temperature regulation center of the brain, located in the hypothalamus, to function irregularly. The hypothalamic temperature setting can be controlled directly or indirectly by the opiate system.
Black cohosh is a perennial plant native to North America. It has been used by Native Americans to treat disorders including malaise, kidney ailments, malaria, rheumatism, sore throat, colds, cough, constipation, hives, gynecological disorders, and backaches, and also to induce lactation.