Black/Blue CohoshHeart DiseaseMenopauseOsteoporosis

The Training and Cimicifuega racemosa Erlangen study

Researchers from the University of Erlangen, in Germany studied the effect of adding black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) to exercise.

They were looking for evidence of greater benefit with black cohosh over exercise alone in bone mineral density and coronary heart disease risk during early post menopause.

First, the details.

  • 128 women were randomly assigned to three treatment groups.
    • Exercise
    • Exercise + black cohosh 40 mg/day
    • A control group
  • Both exercise groups followed a 4-part routine, each for a 10-week interval.
    • 60 minutes per week high-intensity-resistance/high-impact exercise dedicated to bone parameters
    • Low-intensity exercise program
    • 60 minutes per week high-intensity-resistance/high-impact exercise focused on heart disease parameters
    • Low-intensity exercise program
  • Changes in bone mineral density and 10-year heart disease risk were measured in addition to changes in body composition and menopausal symptoms.

And, the results.

  • Bone mineral density
    • Bone mineral density at the lumbar spine was maintained in both exercise groups but significantly decreased in the control group.
    • There were no differences between the exercise groups with and without black cohosh.
    • Femoral neck bone mineral density did not change significantly in any group coronary heart disease.
  • Coronary heart disease
    • The 10-year risk significantly increased in the exercise + black cohosh group and the control group.
    • There was no corresponding change in the exercise only group.
    • However, there was no significant difference between the exercise groups with respect to this outcome.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded that their “exercise program favorably affected bone, menopausal symptoms, [and] lean body mass… in early postmenopausal women.”

Overall, giving black cohosh as a supplement to these women failed to provide any significant advantage over exercise alone.

Perhaps we’re asking too much. There’s greater support for taking black cohosh to improve menopausal symptoms.

3/12/10 17:12 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.