Black cohosh and St. John's wort for climacteric complaints: a randomized trial

Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Feb;107(2 Pt 1):247-55. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000196504.49378.83.


Objective: To investigate the efficacy of the fixed combination of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) extracts in women with climacteric complaints with a pronounced psychological component.

Methods: In this double-blind randomized placebo-control study, 301 women experiencing climacteric complaints with psychological symptoms were treated with ethanolic St. John's wort extract and isopropanolic black cohosh extract or a matched placebo for 16 weeks. Climacteric complaints were evaluated by means of the Menopause Rating Scale mean score, and psychological complaints were evaluated using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale sum score.

Results: The mean (+/- standard deviation) Menopause Rating Scale score decreased 50% (0.46 +/- 0.13 to 0.23 +/- 0.13) in the treatment group and 19.6% (0.46 +/- 0.14 to 0.37 +/- 0.15) in the placebo group. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale total score decreased 41.8% in the treatment group (18.9 +/- 2.2 to 11.0 +/- 3.8 points), and 12.7% in the placebo group (18.9 +/- 2.1 to 16.5 +/- 4.3). The treatment was significantly (P < .001) superior to placebo in both measures. There were no relevant group differences regarding adverse events, laboratory values, or tolerability.

Conclusion: This fixed combination of black cohosh and St. John's wort is superior to placebo in alleviating climacteric complaints, including the related psychological component.

Level of evidence: I.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cimicifuga*
  • Climacteric / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypericum*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Plant Preparations