Effect of Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) on symptoms of depression and anxiety in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomised controlled trial

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2018 Jan;38(1):121-126. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2017.1342229. Epub 2017 Sep 11.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) on anxiety and depression symptoms in postmenopausal women. This study was a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, in which 60 eligible postmenopausal women were selected and then randomly assigned to fennel and placebo groups. Then, symptoms of anxiety and depression were measured using Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Zung's Self Rating Depression Scale (SDS). Following the intervention, the score of HADS (depression and anxiety subgroups) and SDS did not show any significant decrease in the sample under study. However, the analysis of patients with depression or anxiety disorder showed a borderline or significant improvement. Further studies with a larger sample size are required to confirm the findings. Impact statement Current knowledge on the subject: Based on the results of in vivo and in vitro animal studies, fennel may have anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties. The contribution made by this study: It appears that fennel is effective in menopausal women with depression and anxiety disorders. The implications of findings for clinical practice and future research: Further studies with a larger sample size are required to confirm the actual effect of fennel in clinical setting.

Keywords: Foeniculum; anxiety; depression; post-menopause.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Foeniculum / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Postmenopause / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Plant Extracts