Black cohosh is native to the Eastern coast of North America where it was used medicinally by Cherokee and Algonquin healers. The herb has been widely used to alleviate symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause, but despite theories that it is estrogenic, research does not support this idea, but rather that it affects the hypothalamus and is regulating. Laboratory experiments have failed to prove that it occupies estrogen receptor sites, meaning it does not promote breast cancer or other diseases associated with excess estrogen.
Though the most common use today of black cohosh is as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy, it is presented here as something to consider in relationship to xenoestrogens. Even if the plant itself is not precisely what is understood as a phytoestrogen, to the extent that the body is directed to produce natural estrogen to occupy the estrogen receptor sites, there is a potential protective function to consider.
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