Menopause is a natural biological process, but that doesn’t mean women have to endure the distressing emotional and physiological symptoms if they can help it. Hormone replacement therapy is the common prescription, but what about a natural option without the potential side effects associated with HRT? Enter fennel, an herb shown in recent research to reduce menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.

Eight weeks of twice-daily supplementation with 100 mg of fennel (in capsule form) reduced Menopause Rating Scale scores at four, eight and 10 weeks compared to study participants who received no fennel, but were instead given a twice-daily inactive capsule they thought was fennel. The Menopause Rating Scale asks patients to rate the severity of their menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, sleep problems, joint and muscular discomfort, bladder dysfunction, etc., on a 0-4 scale, with 0 meaning no symptom and 4 meaning extremely severe symptom.

The study authors believe phytoestrogens present in fennel may account for its beneficial impact on menopausal symptoms. Talk to your doctor to learn more about alternatives to hormone replacement therapy during and after menopause.