Black Cohosh: No Evidence To Support Claims Of Liver Damage

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23rd May 2009, 08:02am - Views: 824

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MENOPAUSAL women who used the medicinal herb black cohosh (Cimicifuga

racemosa) to ease their symptoms need not fear reports of liver damage, the

annual clinical meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and

Gynaecologists was told.

German-based researcher Dr Belal Naser MD told the conference that an

examination of the evidence offered to support claims that black cohosh

caused liver damage found that allegations of harm were not supported.

The medical conference was held in Chicago on 4 May.

Dr Naser came to the same conclusion as a paper published in the peer-

reviewed medical journal Phytomedicine (2009; 16:72-84) by Professor Rolf

Teschke of the teaching hospital at Goethe University, in Frankfurt.

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) had conducted an earlier review of the

evidence of 45 cases of harm attributed to black cohosh and ruled out all

but four cases. The evidence offered to support allegations of harm in the

remaining cases was classed as inconclusive, but possible.

Professor Teschke conducted a review of the evidence to support those

remaining four cases. He concluded that there was insufficient evidence to

support even one of the cases of harm attributed to black cohosh.

Black cohosh is used around the world for the relief of the symptoms of

menopause. The top-selling black cohosh product in Australia is Remifemin,

which is made by the Germany company Schaper & Brummer.

In a presentation to the Chicago conference, Dr Naser said that the

evidence forced him to agree with Professor Teschke.

"Teschke's re-evaluation of the four remaining cases considered by the

European Medicines Agency as having a 'possible' or 'probable' causality,

concluded that there was in fact no evidence for a causal relationship

between treatment with black cohosh and the observed liver problems," Dr

Naser said.

Dr Naser applied to the evidence the latest qualitative and quantitative

causality assessment and diagnostic algorithm of the Council for

International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS).

"Due to incomplete data, the case of one patient was not assessable. In the

remaining three cases, one patient diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis had


favourable course under continued steroid therapy. The two other

patients, who required liver transplants, received a final diagnosis of

herpetic hepatitis.

“In none of these four was there any causality between treatment with black

cohosh and liver disease.”

Media contact:

Carl D. Thompson

SciNat Australia Pty Ltd (Australian distributor of Remifemin)

19 Taree Street

Burleigh Heads 4220

telephone: 0438 750440

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