Actaea racemosa has long been used to treat ”female problems”, and it grows up to 2.5 meters. It is easily recognizable – it has high stem with white flowers. Actaea racemosa is a wild flower in North America and has many local and indigenous names (bugbane, squawroot, rattle root). Her most famous ”nickname”, the black snakeroot, describes a winding, wrinkled root that has medical use. It contains complex mixtures of natural chemical substances, some of which are as powerful as much as modern medicines.
How does it work?
It is traditionally used to relieve menstrual problems, postnatal pain, nerve disorders, and joint pain. Today it is generally recommended to relieve waves of heat (valunga), which occur in some women during menopause.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: actaea racemosa is an increasingly popular remedy to relieve waves of heat, excessive sweating, vaginal dryness, and other menopausal symptoms. Scientific researches have shown that taking this plant may lower the level of LH, a luteinizing hormone, which is produced by pituitary gland. During the menopause, its level increases and is considered to be one of the causes of waves of heat. In addition, the actaea racemosa contains phytoestrogens, herbal substances that have the same effect as the estrogen produced by our organism.
They bind to hormone receptors in the breast, uterus and elsewhere in the body, and they relieve menopausal problems without increasing the risk of breast cancer, which is a possible side effect of hormone replacement therapy. Some phytoestrogens may even help to prevent breast cancer by preventing endogenous estrogen binding to breast cells.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: actaea racemosa has spasmolytic action. This means that it mitigates menstrual cramps because it reduces the intensity of uterine contractions and increases blood flow to the uterus. It can therefore be useful during and after delivery. This plant, in addition, balances the hormone level and can be useful in women suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), although hemp-agrimony is more effective in that.
Although rarely mentioned, actaea racemosa has a mild sedative and anti-inflammatory effect, which can be of benefit in the treatment of muscular pain, as well as pain associated with the nerves – ishialgia or neuralgia. This plant helps to cleanse excess mucus and can be recommended against coughing. It has also been shown to be successful in treating tinnitus (”ringing” in the ears).
How to take it?
DOSAGE: look for tablets or capsules that are standardized to contain 2.5% triterpenes, the active ingredient of actaea racemosa. For symptoms of menopause or PMS: take 40 mg of actaea racemosa extract twice a day. To relieve PMS, start taking these preparations ten days before the menstrual period. For menstrual cramps: if necessary, take 40 mg of extract three to four times a day.
USE GUIDELINES: actaea racemosa can be taken at any time, but to reduce the likelihood of mild stomach problems it is recommended to take it with meals. Rate its effect after four to eight weeks of taking. Many researchers recommend that you should not take actaea racemosa for more than six months, but recent studies indicate that longer use is safe and that no more severe side effects occur.
Possible side effects
Although there are no toxic effects, actaea racemosa may cause mild stomach discomfort ins ome people. According to one study, some women may experience mild body mass gain or dizziness. Lowering of blood pressure is also possible. Very high doses can cause nausea, vomiting, slower heart rate, excessive sweating and headaches.
IMPORTANT: do not take actaea racemosa preparations during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This plant can interfere with the function of hormone drugs, such as contraceptive pills. If you are taking medicines against high blood pressure, avoid actaea racemosa; it may enhance the action of that drug.