Black Cohosh is well known to be beneficial for women who are going through menopause because it can alleviate hot flashes, sweating, and depression. In fact it is one of the key ingredients in Fem-Support, the choice of women wanting to avoid hormone therapy. However, a recent study has suggested that black cohosh can be equally beneficial for men, and can treat stress and stress related disorders in both men and women.
Did the Study Show?
The study, which was published in the journal Biomedical Research, aimed to examine one of the benefits of black cohosh, which is stress relief. Around thirty participants, the majority of which were men, took part in the study, and were given either 200mg tablets of black cohosh extract or a placebo.
Because the trial was a double blind cross-over, all participants took both a black cohosh and the placebo at different points during the study, and their stress responses were checked with both types of tablet. The participants were asked to complete a complicated and stressful mathematics test, during and after which their stress response was monitored. The researchers measured:
- Subjective stress intensity, or how the participants felt
- Brain wave pattern measured with electroencephalography
- Concentrations of chromogranin-A and cortisol in saliva
The results of the study were quite striking and showed that the participants that were taking black cohosh felt less stressed than the group taking the placebo, and they had lower levels of chromogranin-A and cortisol in their saliva, both indicators of stress response. The impact of the stressful test on the brainwave pattern was also reversed more quickly in the group that was taking black cohosh than in the placebo group.
The researchers believe that black cohosh can have a direct impact on the central nervous system, and could be used to treat stress related disorders. They suggest that “The present results could be interpreted as indicating that a change in the central nervous system elicited the reduction of acute stress response.” They also suggest that “such reduction of physiological stress responses can be subjectively monitored, at least in part, and might reduce subjective stress feelings.”
Alternative Ways to Cope With Stress
We live in a world where stress is an everyday problem, whether it’s long working hours, money worries, peer pressure, or family concerns. Try these suggestions that may help you find a way to handle everyday stresses:
- Get active. Even if it’s just a short brisk walk in the evening, exercise can be a fantastic stress buster.
- Be positive. Writing down three things that you are thankful for at the end of each day will help to decrease negativity.
- Learn to accept. There is no point in worrying about things you can’t change so learn to accept situations you can’t influence.
- Take control. If you can make a difference to a situation that is making you stressed, create a plan and stick to it.
- Make me time. Make sure you spend a little time each week doing something just because you enjoy it.
- Share the load. Often just talking through your situation, especially with someone with similar experiences, can be a huge help.
- Avoid unhealthy habits. Tempting as they may be, alcohol, cigarettes, sodas and over eating will only make you feel worse in the long run