Dysmenorrhea means painful contractions of the lower abdomen during menstruation. The pains are due to uterine contractions and can be severe. Sixty percent of the world’s population depends on natural products, such as herbs, for health care. Many natural remedies have been used for dysmenorrhea, but fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is one of the most popular.
Fenugreek can be used as a spice for flavor. It was used in ancient Egypt to “facilitate birth and increase mother’s milk,” and continues to be used for dysmenorrhea in Egypt today. The seeds have been documented to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Fenugreek seeds contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogen).
The researchers studied the effects of fenugreek on the severity of dysmenorrhea in 101 students. This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial. The subjects had moderate-to-severe dysmenorrhea and the study lasted through two menstrual cycles. Part of the group received fenugreek, and part received placebo. The fenugreek seeds were ground and put in capsules of 900 mg. Students took capsules three times a day of either fenugreek or placebo.
Results of the study showed that the students on fenugreek had a significant reduction in severity of pain during their periods as compared with those on placebo. Duration of the pain was reduced between the two cycles. The fenugreek-treated students required fewer sedatives for pain than did the control group.
CONCLUSION: Taken during menstruation, fenugreek seed powder orally reduces the pain of dysmenorrhea.
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