Chinese medicinal herbs in relieving perimenopausal depression: a randomized, controlled trial

J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Jan;15(1):93-100. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0267.


Objective: To explore the effects of GengNianLe (GNL, also called perimenopausal depression relieving formula), a defined formula of Chinese medicinal herbs in relieving perimenopausal depression in Chinese women.

Methods: Between September 2004 and April 2008, 47 Chinese women were randomized into a GNL group (n = 21) and a control group which received tibolone (n = 26) using a randomization chart. Depression was rated with the 24-item Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD). The serum levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and estradiol (E(2)) were detected before and after the treatment.

Results: After 12 weeks of treatment, HAMD scores in both groups decreased significantly (p < 0.05) with no significant difference between the groups (p > 0.05). The levels of FSH decreased significantly and the level of E(2) increased significantly in both groups, and they changed more in the control group. No side-effect of treatment was reported in either group during treatment.

Conclusions: The Chinese medicinal formula GNL showed promise in relieving perimenopausal depression and merits further study.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China
  • Depression / blood
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Estrogen Receptor Modulators / pharmacology
  • Estrogen Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Magnoliopsida*
  • Middle Aged
  • Norpregnenes / pharmacology
  • Norpregnenes / therapeutic use
  • Organotherapy
  • Perimenopause / blood
  • Perimenopause / drug effects
  • Perimenopause / psychology*
  • Phytotherapy*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Estrogen Receptor Modulators
  • Norpregnenes
  • Estradiol
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • tibolone