Can You Mix Maca and Black Cohosh? What is the Difference?

You have most probably read that the favorite plants’ such as maca and black cohosh, can liberate you from menopausal discomforts such as hot flashes and other hormonal problems.

That fact is that both maca and black cohosh are widely used to relieve menopausal symptoms. Research on maca supports benefits in menopause and balancing hormones. Several clinical trials on black cohosh also demonstrate positive results in helping to treat women’s hormone-related symptoms.

Okay, all that’s great, but what about mixing these two plants ? The answer is yes. You can combine these two supplements if you are positive about the two following things. First, you are not allergic to neither of these two plans. Second, if you are on hormone therapy, your health practitioner approves of your choices.

Menopause – A Roller Coaster

As we age, our hormone levels start to decline, periods become irregular and by the fifties, periods end. This era is the era of menopause. Menopausal symptoms are believed to be the result of hormonal imbalance.

While some women ‘fly’ through all these changes without even being aware of what is going on, other, on the other hand, may be strongly affected by the symptoms from the beginning until the end, where life becomes an emotional roller coaster journey.

For many, the menopause journey can compromise the quality of life. With some women, menopause comes on very suddenly while other women experience the symptoms occurring at intervals.

How Can Maca and Black Cohosh Help With Menopause Symptoms?

The use of hormone replacement therapy is not so popular anymore due to its adverse effects in women with cancer. As a result, a surprisingly significant amount of women are turning to herbs, such as maca and black cohosh, as a natural treatment for menopausal symptoms.

– Maca boosts the body’s ability to produce hormones naturally.
Black Cohosh contains chemical compounds which help improve estrogen levels.

The herb that has been studied most for treatment of hot flashes of menopause is black cohosh (Actavea racemosa).

Black Cohosh Efficiency and Side Effects

Native to North America, black cohosh is being described as sweet, and its medical properties are found in its roots and stem with the most significant compounds being phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen).

This plant is widely used in many countries including the United States and Germany. It can be consumed fresh, dried or as a strong herbal tea, tincture, pill.

Traditionally, black cohosh has been used by women to treat PMS, to treat menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness), menstrual irregularities.

Scientific reviews of Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

Improves sleep in menopausal women – In 2016 study, black cohosh effectively enhanced sleep in early postmenopausal women with a major sleep complaint, and it may be a safe measure in managing menopausal sleep disturbance. (source)

Treats Uterine Fibroids – In the treatment of uterine fibroids, black cohosh (Remifemin) was shown to be a valid treatment option and appropriate choice in alleviating menopausal symptoms in women with uterine fibroid, as it provides adequate relief from menopausal symptoms and avoids increase in uterine fibroid size, which is usually a cause for concern for the patient.(source)

Safe Alternative to HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) –  In Germany, an extract of black cohosh has been used in clinical practice since the mid-1950s with safe and effective results. The German government even approved black cohosh as nonprescription medications for treatment of menopausal symptoms. The German government supports black cohosh as a prescription alternative to hormone therapy (source). Nowadays, more than one million German women are using Black Cohosh as a treatment for conditions caused by lack of estrogen.

Side Effects & When Not to Take Black Cohosh

A high number of studies has been done on the effect of black cohosh on balancing hormones and menopause. Unfortunately, as there has been inconsistency during the studies, regarding dosage, specific compounds, different product vendors, and so on, the results vary and are inconclusive.

The European drug regulatory authority, however, advises women not to take black cohosh together with estrogen. Women who have breast cancer are also encouraged not to use black cohosh. (source)

Also, a potential side effect that has been consistently linked to black cohosh is a negative effect on the liver. So, if you suffer from liver disease, perhaps it would be great to speak to your doctor before taking black cohosh.

Other potential side effects might include stomach discomfort, diarrhea, headaches, seizures, nausea and vomiting, constipation, low blood pressure. These side effects, however, are not consistent in women and the reason might be due to the type of black cohosh used in treatments, the amount administered, the length of study, and so on.

Black Cohosh Dosage

It is not yet very obvious how much of black cohosh is needed to help prevent menopausal symptoms, and there is no standardized dose for black cohosh. In a study black cohosh was administered to 2000 women, from 80 to 160 mg orally daily, over a period of 12 months with no side effects reported. So a proper dosage could be 160 mg a day or 80mg twice a day. If in doubt and to be safe, follow the product suggestions or consult your health practitioner. The most popular formulation is Remifemin-estrogen free commercial product, an extract of the rhizome, produced by a German company.

Maca Benefits

While black cohosh is connected to increasing estrogen levels, maca provides the ingredients to support the entire endocrine system and menopausal health. As hormonal levels decline with age, maca will help stabilize and alleviated the symptoms of hormonal balance. This root is a nutrient-packed food, and it brings about all the benefits of healthy, balanced hormone levels in the body.

To view, the full spectrum of maca benefits, click here: maca benefits for men and women.

Also, to view the complete maca dosage info, please visit our page here: maca dosage.

How to be Sure if You Can Take Maca and Black Cohosh Together?

Increasing number of women and men are turning to herbs for relief from different kind of health issues and symptoms such as infertility, erectile, gynecological, hormonal imbalance and so on. However, most of the studies on herbs are open trials and lack long-term follow-up. This makes it difficult to draw reliable conclusions from their results. Some herbal remedies might even have harmful interactions with conventional drugs.

Maca vs. Black Cohosh

There are two types of plants that improve low hormone levels. The non-estrogenic, such as maca; and phytoestrogenic herbs, such as black cohosh.

Black cohosh can increase low estrogen levels. Maca, on the other hand, does not contain estrogen but nourishes the hormonal glands, so they produce the necessary hormones naturally (including estrogen).

Many people have used Maca with black cohosh, etc., have not experienced any adverse reactions. Neither did I. At one point I was taking both black cohosh and maca together, and except for a slightly fuller (firmer) breasts, I have not experienced any other significant side effects (although cannot complain about having fuller breasts). Although many women did not have any positive results whatsoever, I belong to a group of women who reported that black cohosh and maca effectively relieve hot flashes and night sweats, as well as vaginal dryness.

Whether or not these two herbs will work for everyone, it is difficult to say because it doesn’t consistently work for all women.

How Long Before Results are Visible?

It is important to first take one supplement at the time, for a minimum of 4-8 weeks and follow the results. Then, discontinue using the first supplement and start taking the second supplement for 4-8 weeks. Write a note or two to yourself, record how you feel, what is your experience with these two herbs. Did you feel better? Did you have any side effects? How about positive effects? Right it all down and then compare your notes. If your experience with both plants was nothing but positive, perhaps it is good to move forward to the next level where you will mix these two plants. In that case, start with a small dose and increase in a couple of days if you feel you are getting some kicks.

Always Good to Remember

– Maca is a staple food. Peruvians are consuming maca on a daily basis. However, the maca supplement you are planning to buy might be concentrated, so always follow the dosage stated on the label. Start slow, then increase the dosage, if you feel like.
– Black cohosh is super useful when estrogen levels drop too low. Use it only for the short term periods of six months or less.
-To be on the safe side, do not combine maca or black cohosh with hormone therapy or birth control pills.
– Black cohosh nor maca should not be used during pregnancy.
– When introducing new supplements, reduce (or eliminate) how much you take of the other supplements as less may be required for the desired effect.
– Take herbs regularly as recommended to asses whether or not they are working.
– When you start taking a supplement, give it some time. Do not move onto another supplement in a day or two because you have not noticed any improvement. If you are not consistent, it will be impossible for you to know whether the new supplements are effective.

Herbs are great. No doubt about it. However, not all research studies are thorough and not all provide resourceful information. Things that are natural are not necessarily always safe. And you do not want to play with your hormones. We believe that when hormones are in question, one should be super cautious when mixing herbs. Choosing on an already tested product like Remifemim-estrogen free would be probably safe option (if your doctor agrees). When it comes to maca, check out our recommended maca products pages.

Mixing maca and black cohosh might be okay because maca is more of food than a supplement.  But if you are taking meds and are planning to start taking herbal remedies, you should let know your physician.