Being naturally rich in phytoestrogens, fennel has been shown beneficial for middle-aged women passing through the menopausal transition.1
To gain a better understanding of the effects of fennel on alleviating menopausal discomforts, scientists from the Iranian Yasuj University of Medical Sciences conducted this trial and published their findings in the 2020 edition of Menopause.
Researchers recruited 80 postmenopausal women between the ages of 45 and 60. It lasted for eight weeks.
Once they were randomly assigned to two groups, women were given either four capsules with 2 grams of fennel seed powder or four placebo capsules with 2 grams of starch daily.
Using the menopausal Kupperman index and Hurlbert index of sexual desire questionnaires, participants' symptoms were monitored before and throughout the study. Estradiol levels were measured as well.
Women treated with fennel powder capsules showed a significant decrease of the mean menopause scores, from 30.8 to 19.55. In the control group, the change in scores was insignificant, from 31.2 to 26.4.
Additionally, there was a decrease in estradiol levels in both groups, with a more significant drop among women taking placebo capsules (60.44 to 52.6 in the fennel group vs. 55.1 to 39.9 in the placebo group).
There were not substantial improvements in sexual desire scores. No side effects were reported in either of the groups.
What Does It Mean?
As evident in the results of this clinical trial, fennel is safe and effective for alleviating menopause symptoms. While this trial builds on preliminary results of previous studies, larger trials are still encouraged to gain a better understanding of its optimal uses as well as its effects on hormone levels during menopause.
These are exciting findings for middle-aged women since scientific studies on the benefits of various herbs for menopause relief are scarce. Fennel is an inexpensive and widely available herb, allowing women to take advantage of its effects at their convenience.
- Menopause. (2020). The effect of fennel seed powder on estradiol levels, menopausal symptoms, and sexual desire in postmenopausal women. Retrieved January 6, 2021 from https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2020/11000/The_effect_of_Fennel_seed_powder_on_estradiol.13.aspx
- Menopause. (2017). Effect of Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (fennel) on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Retrieved January 6, 2021 from https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/wk/gme/2017/00000024/00000009/art00006