Anxiety (Panic)/DepressionBlack/Blue CohoshElderlyMenopauseSt. John's Wort

Black cohosh and St. John’s wort in women during the climacteric

Here are the results of a study in 301 women experiencing climacteric complaints with psychological symptoms.

The women were treated with black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) extracts, or a placebo for 16 weeks.

The results
Menopause Rating Scale (health-related quality of life or severity of complaints in aging women)

  • Decreased 50% with treatment, but only 20% with placebo

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (evaluates depressed mood, symptoms of depression, and anxiety symptoms)

  • Decreased 42% with treatment, but just 19% with placebo

Both differences were statistically significant in favor of the fixed combination.

So, what should we think about these findings?

Adriane Fugh-Berman, associate professor in the complementary medicine program at Georgetown University has chronicled the lack of good treatment alternatives for hot flashes. She’s not impressed with black cohosh. Click the black cohosh button on the right to read all about it.

St. John’s wort, on the other hand, has documented positive effects on depression.

Makes one wonder what black cohosh is actually contributing to these patients’ response?

12/14/06 19:11 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.