Fennel a natural remedy for menopausal symptoms
Daily intake of fennel appears to produce significant improvements in menopausal symptoms over 8 weeks, although it does not do much to improve oestradiol levels and sexual desire, a study has found.
A total of 80 eligible women aged 45–60 years were randomized equally to receive four capsules of fennel seed powder (2 grams) and starch-containing capsules (2 grams; control) daily over 8 weeks. Efficacy outcomes were menopausal symptoms and sexual desire, assessed using both the menopausal Kupperman index and Hurlbert index of sexual desire.
After the intervention, mean menopausal symptoms score markedly decreased from 30.8 at baseline to 19 in the fennel group. The scores also decreased in the control group although to a lesser magnitude, from 31.2 at baseline to 26.4 at week 8. The difference between the two groups were significant (p<0.05).
Sexual desire, on the other hand, did not improve in both treatment groups (p>0.05).
Furthermore, mean oestradiol levels decreased from baseline at week 8, although the change was smaller with fennel seed (from 60.4 to 52.6) than with the control (from 55.1 to 39.9). The intergroup differences were not statistically significant (p>0.05).
Additional studies with a larger sample size and longer duration are needed to verify the current data.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a flowering plant species that has been extensively employed by Iranian traditional medicine in the management of a host of medical conditions, such as nausea, flatulence, depression and anxiety, vaginal atrophy, and bone density, among others. The medicinal plant contains phenolic compounds, flavonoids (flavonoid glycosides and flavonoid aglycons), phenolic acids, hydroxycinnamic acids, coumarins, and tannins. [J Menopausal Med 2018;24:67-74; Pharmacogn Rev 2009;3:346-352; Avicenna J Phytomed 2014;4:110-117; Chin J Integr Med 2013;19:73-79]