It can counter hot flashes, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness and anxiety, and is an effective alternative to HRT (hormone replacement therapy), which has been associated with a wide range of serious side effects, including heart problems and cancer.
Researchers in Tehran discovered the powerful effects of fennel when they gave it to a group of 79 women who were all going through the menopause. They were either given a 100 mg capsule of fennel, which they took twice a day for eight weeks, or a 'dummy' capsule. Those who were given the fennel reported a "significant difference" in their menopausal symptoms from four weeks onwards. The symptoms didn't return, even two weeks after stopping treatment.
Fennel has phyto-estrogenic properties, which means it includes chemicals that can counter the symptoms of the menopause. Although it's been used before the onset of the menopause to lessen symptoms, this is the first time it's been studied as a way of countering the worst effects of the menopause once it's started.