The Role of medicinal herbs in treatment of insulin resistance in patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A literature review

Biomol Concepts. 2020 Mar 26;11(1):57-75. doi: 10.1515/bmc-2020-0005.


Background Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine abnormalities in women. Due to the side effects of drugs, the tendency to use natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents to regulate metabolism, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperlipidemia in PCOS patients has been increased. This review aimed to investigate the role of herbal substances on the treatment of PCOS. Methods The present review was carried out using keywords such as polycystic ovary syndrome and/or PCOS and/or herb. Databases including Web of Science, PubMed, and Science Direct were used to collect all related articles published from 1990 to 2019. We excluded studies unrelated to the PCOS and medical herbs. Results Overall, 361 records were identified through database searching. After primary screening and the full-texts assessment, 323 records were excluded, and 38 articles were finally included. The results indicate that some medicinal herbs may have a key role in treating PCOS. The compounds in these medical herbs can affect lipid profiles (Aloe vera, chamomile, and cinnamon), insulin resistance (cinnamon, chamomile, Aloe vera, and Camellia sinensis), blood glucose (Aloe vera, cinnamon, and Camellia sinensis), hormones (Aloe vera, silymarin, chamomile, fenugreek, Camellia sinensis, Heracleum persicum, Potentilla, Mentha spicata, Foeniculum vulgar, licorice, and Marrubium), and ovarian tissue (Aloe vera, chamomile, Camellia sinensis, Mentha spicata, and silymarin). Conclusion Natural substances such as Aloe vera, cinnamon, green tea, fenugreek, and silymarin can be used as a new supportive care for PCOS. Further clinical trials are warranted to confirm their benefits and safety.

Keywords: PCOS; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; medical herbs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aloe / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Silymarin / chemistry
  • Silymarin / pharmacology
  • Silymarin / therapeutic use
  • Tea / chemistry
  • Trigonella / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Silymarin
  • Tea