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Black cohosh may help cut the risk of breast cancer

Black cohosh, a plant native to North America and oftentimes referred to as black snakeroot, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot and rattleweed, has been involved in a new study that suggests it may help reduce breast cancer risk. The herb is well known for treating rheumatism, and has been used more recently to lessen the effects of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.

The study, conducted by Dr. Timothy R. Rebbeck of the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, compared 949 women with breast cancer to over 1,500 healthy test subjects. The study found that five percent of African-American women reported using black cohosh, compared to only two percent of European Americans. Out of all the women that reported taking the herb, sixty-one percent were found to have a lower risk of breast cancer.

In addition, those who took a black cohosh derived herbal supplement, Remifemin, had a fifty-three percent lower risk of breast cancer. Remifemin is an estrogen-free herbal supplement with an active ingredient of black cohosh root and rhizome. It is used to treat menopausal symptoms, with each tablet containing 20 mg. of black cohosh extract.

If black cohosh and Remifemin do lower this risk of breast cancer, this is vital news to women taking the herbal supplements to deal with menopause.

Although this is a substantial finding, more research is needed before the herb can be recommended to treat breast cancer. The researchers have addressed the medical community, establishing that extensive studies must be performed over a long period of time to determine any concrete medical benefits to breast cancer.

They have urged women to alert their doctors before using any supplement containing black cohosh.

While no drug interactions have been reported by those using black cohosh and prescription medicines, the herb has been known to cause heaviness in the legs, stomach issues, headaches and in some cases, weight problems.

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