Fennel is an herb with a licorice-like taste and celery-like crunchy texture. It has been a traditional remedy to ease the cramps. Contained in Fennel seeds is a kind of volatile oil known as anethole, along with other powerful phytochemicals, which are effective in calming the cramps (1,3).
Menstrual cramps, also known as primary dysmenorrhea, are a common condition affecting women. It is a recurrent pain around the lower abdomen occurring immediately before or during menstruation in the absence of underlying conditions. Its symptoms include dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches, sweating, and diarrhea (2).
A 2015 study examined the effects of a fennel extract (fennelin) and vitagnus compared to the pain medication mefenamic acid for primary dysmenorrhea. Participants, which involved 105 women with mild to moderate dysmenorrhea, took either fennel extract, vitex extract, mefenamic acid, or a placebo. Results showed that both fennelin and vitagnus had a greater effect compared with mefenamic acid. This study was published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research (4).
Another study also suggests that fennel can be used to relieve the signs and symptoms significantly on primary dysmenorrhea (5).
In a separate study, 80 female students were randomly divided into two groups with the aim to assess the effectiveness of fennel on primary dysmenorrhea symptoms and menorrheal duration. The intervention group received one soft capsule of Fennel (30 mg) every 4 hours, 3 days before menstruation till the 5th day, and continued for 3 months. On the other hand, the control group received no medication. At the end of the study, researchers found that the intervention group experienced less nausea intensity and weakness as well as a significant difference in terms of quality and feelings of well-being as compared to the control group (6).
A tea made from dried Fennel seeds may help relieve menstrual cramps. Here’s how to make it:
Place one teaspoon of crushed Fennel seeds(dried) in a teapot infuser. Pour a cup of boiling hot water over the seeds and let it steep for 5 minutes. Now strain and serve the tea. Consume hot.
Drinking this tea 2 times a day may provide some relief.
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