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Effect of Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (fennel) on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Rahimikian, Fatemeh MSc1,2; Rahimi, Roja PhD3,4; Golzareh, Parvin MSc5; Bekhradi, Reza MD6; Mehran, Abbas MSc7

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000881
Original Articles

Objective: Preliminary data suggest that Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) can be an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. This trial was designed to assess the efficacy of fennel in the management of menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.

Methods: In this triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 90 postmenopausal women aged 45 to 60 years in Tehran were randomly assigned to treatment (n = 45) or placebo (n = 45) groups. The participants received 8 weeks of treatment with soft capsules containing 100 mg fennel or a placebo (2 per day for each group). The participants were followed for 2 weeks postintervention to assess the continuance of the effect of intervention. The Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) questionnaire was used to assess changes in menopausal symptoms at baseline and at 4, 8, and 10 weeks after onset of intervention.

Results: The groups recorded similar mean scores on the MRS questionnaire before intervention. After intervention, the treatment group showed a significant decrease in the mean MRS score. The results of the Friedman test showed significant differences between the mean score at baseline and those at 4, 8, and 10 weeks after onset of intervention in the treatment group (P < 0.001), whereas there were no significant differences in the placebo group. When the fennel and the placebo groups were compared, the independent t test showed significant differences in mean scores between groups at 4, 8, and 10 weeks (2 weeks postintervention; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Fennel is an effective and safe treatment to reduce menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women without serious side effects. More clinical trials with larger populations are required to confirm this result.

1Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center

2Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4Phyto Pharmacology Interest Group (PPIG), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Tehran, Iran

5School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6Barij Medicinal Herbs Research Center, Kashan, Iran

7Statistical Department, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Address correspondence to: Parvin Golzareh, MSc, Nursing and Midwifery Faculty, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran 13185-1678, Iran. E-mail: golzareh23@yahoo.com

Received 22 November, 2016

Revised 30 January, 2017

Accepted 30 January, 2017

Author contributions: F.R. had designed and managed the study. P.G. conducted the study and wrote the paper. R.R. had a role in traditional and herbal medicine counseling, handled pharmaceutical part of project and edited the manuscript. R.B. handled pharmaceutical part of project. A.M. analyzed data.

Funding/support: This study has been partially supported by the Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS); Grant No 31096-99-04-94.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

© 2017 by The North American Menopause Society.