Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism Of Black Cohosh Versus Hot Flashes Revealed

Date:
December 26, 2006
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
The natural herb black cohosh is commonly used by women to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, but the molecular mechanisms underlying its action have eluded scientists -- until now.

The natural herb black cohosh is commonly used by women to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, but the molecular mechanisms underlying its action have eluded scientists -- until now.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the National Institutes of Health Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research have discovered that black cohosh may act on human opiate receptors, which play a role in regulating a body's temperature.

Z. Jim Wang, assistant professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutics, led the study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; the paper is currently available on the journal's web site.

Opiate receptors are chemical sensors that respond to opiates like morphine and endorphins, Wang said. Chemical substances with opiate activity bind to the receptors and produce the appropriate response, including the regulation of pain, temperature and appetite.

"We used several extracts of black cohosh and found that elements of the herb could bind to the human 'mu' opiate receptor," Wang said. "The opiate receptor system affects several aspects of female reproductive neuroendocrinology, such as the levels of sex hormones and neurotransmitters that are important for temperature regulation."

Black cohosh (known as both Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa) is a member of the buttercup family. A perennial plant, it is native to North America. It has been used by Native Americans to treat malaise, gynecological disorders, kidney ailments, malaria, rheumatism and sore throat, as well as colds, cough, constipation, hives and backaches, and to induce lactation.

Women experience a variety of symptoms of menopause, but the hot flash is the most common. Although the exact mechanism of the hot flash is unclear, estrogen withdrawal during menopause clearly plays an important role, Wang said. It is assumed that declining estrogen concentrations may change the levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.

As a result, the thermoregulatory center located in the hypothalamus functions irregularly, which leads to inappropriate peripheral vasodilatation that causes hot flashes.

"The hypothalamic thermostat setting can be controlled directly or indirectly by the opiate system," Wang said.

Wang said this is the first time black cohosh has been linked to the activity of the opiate receptors. The ethanol extract used in this study, he said, is currently being used in a phase II clinical trial conducted by researchers from the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Mechanism Of Black Cohosh Versus Hot Flashes Revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061222092334.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2006, December 26). Mechanism Of Black Cohosh Versus Hot Flashes Revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061222092334.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Mechanism Of Black Cohosh Versus Hot Flashes Revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061222092334.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins