Recently I heard that Dr. Oz had given a response to a woman’s question “What can increase my libido?” with a simple answer of “Black Cohosh”. Hmmm… I would not have thought of black cohosh as the answer for increasing libido. Yes, it is known to increase energy, but it is also known to help one sleep, to calm the nerves and lessen agitation. Not exactly what I would think would enhance the libido.
Then I considered how I use black cohosh myself and why I recommend its use for women experiencing PMS and menstrual irregularities, as well as for menopausal and postmenopausal women. (Men, you may want to switch to another article…).
As any woman knows, estrogen levels, in particular the changing of levels, effect emotions. Thus prior and during the menstrual cycle, a woman can feel irritable or anxious. Hormonal levels can also effect menstrual flow and cause inflammation, both which can result in menstrual pain. Black Cohosh helps alleviate these symptoms.
For menopausal women their hormones are having to readjust in order to get back in balance. With the ovaries no longer providing estrogen in a consistent cyclic manner, the other hormones must work to find that eventual balance with ultimately the lesser amount of estrogen provided by primarily adipose (fat cells). You might say that “the change” is about the body working to find balance. The body’s temperature is controlled by hormones, as well as by sweating. Notice how many times we (even men) wake up around 2 or 3 AM feeling very warm (or even very HOT) and yank the covers off. Our livers, according to Chinese Medicine, become especially active (increasing metabolism) during that time. With the increase of temperature, we awake. So it is really easy to understand that with hormonal changes, menopausal women can experience hot flashes and night sweats and especially around 3 AM! Clinical studies support the use of black cohosh for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, headache, vertigo, heart palpitations, ringing in the ears and a range of associated psychological symptoms, including irritability, sleep disturbances, and depressive moods,
Fortunately I am of an age that no longer has these experiences. So why do I take black cohosh? Like other postmenopausal woman I now experience the atrophy of tissue cells of the female organs, resulting in dryness and shrinking. This in turn can lead to incontinence. Eventually this can lead to prolapsing of the uterus, vagina, bladder and/or rectum. Even though black cohosh is NOT estrogenic, as was once thought, and therefore is not a risk for breast cancer, it does have the same effect as estrogen does in providing lubrication and elasticity to the tissue cells. Thus taking black cohosh increases vaginal lubrication and counteracts prolapses.
So upon reflection, I have to agree with Dr. Oz. Libido is truly enhanced by black cohosh since it alleviates symptoms that surely reduce libido!