Fennel can relieve the typical discomforts of menopause – announces the North American Menopause Society. Fennel is a plant that has many uses: as a vegetable, as a spice and as a remedy. Fennel is known for its use as a gastrointestinal tea, which is instilled in infants for flatulence. However, since fennel contains plant substances with estrogen-like effects, it has now also proven to be a side-effect-free helper against menopausal complaints. Apparently, the intake of two fennel capsules daily was sufficient for this purpose.
Autor: Dr. med. W. Tönnes
Fennel for menopausal symptoms
Phytotherapy is gaining more and more popularity. Because it works and helps – and rarely has serious side effects. Fennel, too, is often used as part of herbal medicine, especially in countries where the plant is native, such as Iran. There, researchers now studied how fennel can affect menopausal symptoms.
Fennel: vegetable, spice and medicinal plant
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a plant that tastes like anise from virtually head to toe (from bulb to seed). The bulb of the vegetable fennel is used for vegetable dishes, the seed of the spice and bitter fennel as a spice, remedy and for the production of essential oil.
The healing properties of fennel
The seeds in particular have been used for a very long time as a home remedy for digestive problems such as flatulence and bloating, and are included in almost every gastrointestinal tea. Even infants are given fennel tea when they suffer from abdominal pain.
Due to its antispasmodic effect, fennel is also considered a medicinal plant for menstrual cramps. And even in premenstrual syndrome ( PMS) fennel can be used very well. Moreover, it is often a component of lactation teas, as it can promote the flow of milk in nursing mothers. The essential oil of fennel also helps with respiratory infections such as sore throat and cough.
Fennel contains plant estrogens
The Iranian study, presented in May 2017 in the journal Menopause, had now shown that fennel can be used just as well in the treatment of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and anxiety – and without side effects.
The use of naturopathic methods for menopausal symptoms is very popular, as it is not uncommon to be able to avoid hormone replacement therapy, which has many side effects. Since fennel contains so-called phytoestrogens, i.e. plant substances that have estrogen-like effects, it can help with symptoms caused by corresponding hormonal disorders (estrogen deficiency, estrogen dominance).
Two capsules of fennel extract per day for menopausal symptoms
In the above-mentioned study conducted by the University of Tehran, 79 Iranian women between the ages of 45 and 60 had received capsules (each containing 100 mg of fennel seed extract or a placebo) twice a day for 8 weeks. The age of the test subjects appears somewhat low from a European perspective, but women in Iran enter menopause at a somewhat younger age – namely, on average three years earlier than is usual in Europe or the USA.
Fennel helps against menopausal symptoms after only two weeks
The researchers led by Dr. Fatemeh Rahimikian found that the fennel group’s condition differed more than significantly from that of the placebo group after just two weeks, so they recommended fennel as a safe, side-effect-free as well as effective treatment option for reducing menopausal symptoms.
An earlier Iranian study (2016) had already investigated the effect of a cream containing 5 percent fennel extract on vaginal atrophy. In vaginal atrophy, the mucosa of the vaginal wall recedes, which can result in painful vaginal dryness.
The study group included 60 postmenopausal women. Half were allowed to use the fennel cream, while the other half received a placebo cream. In the fennel group, vaginal pH normalized and atrophy improved significantly.
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- Rahimikian F et al, Effect of Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (fennel) on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial. May 15, 2017, Menopause, (Effect of fennel on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial).
- Yaralizadeh M et al, Effect of Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) vaginal cream on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Maturitas, February 2016, (Effect of a fennel.
- vaginal cream on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial).
- Fennel relieves menopausal symptoms in two studies, 5/18/2017, Aerzteblatt.