Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Chamomile: A Natural Approach to Treatment
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders affecting women of reproductive age, with 10-15% of women developing it during their lifetime.
The diagnostic criteria for PCOS, as outlined in the Rotterdam criteria, include menstrual irregularities (amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea) and clinical or biochemical hyperandrogenism. Alternatively, ultrasound features of PCOS, after excluding other conditions with a similar phenotype, encompass congenital adrenal hyperplasia, adrenal and ovarian neoplasms, Cushing’s syndrome, hypo- or hypergonadotropic disorders, hyperprolactinemia, and thyroid diseases.
In PCOS, the pituitary gland can secrete high levels of luteinizing hormone, while the ovaries produce elevated androgen levels. This disrupts the menstrual cycle and can lead to infertility, hirsutism, and acne. Several factors contribute to the incidence of PCOS, including diet, environmental factors, physical activity, genetics, and neuroendocrine factors.
Treatment methods and medications for PCOS include contraceptives, medroxyprogesterone acetate, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, glucocorticoids, ketoconazole, spironolactone, cyproterone acetate, flutamide, cimetidine, finasteride, and insulin sensitizers.
Medicinal plants are among the selected choices to alleviate PCOS symptoms. Recent extensive studies have explored the effects of various herbs on PCOS.
Chamomile, scientifically known as Matricaria chamomilla, belongs to the daisy family and its extract contains flavonoid compounds and antioxidants, including gallic acid, chamazulene, farnesene, matricin, coumarin derivatives, apigenin, and choline, which possess anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile also exhibits antidiabetic effects and menstrual regulation. Chamomile has shown antidiabetic effects in female rats. Chamomile flowers contain anthemin oil extract, tannin, phytosterol, and a bitter compound called anthemonic acid.
There are various drugs available for the treatment of this condition, each with its own side effects. Chamomile is an herb with anti-estrogenic and menstrual cycle-regulating effects.
To date, no studies have been conducted on the effect of chamomile on PCOS. Given the affordability of this plant, which grows readily in most of Iran, is easily accessible, and lacks the side effects of chemical products, this research compared the effect of chamomile to a placebo on oligomenorrhea and hirsutism symptoms, as well as changes in hormonal parameters, including testosterone levels, and metabolic parameters, including glucose and lipids, in PCOS.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is the most common cause of infertility and endocrine disorders in women due to anovulation. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of chamomile on oligomenorrhea and hirsutism symptoms and hormonal parameters in patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
This study is a randomized clinical trial conducted on 70 patients diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome according to Rotterdam criteria at a university hospital’s infertility clinic.
Patients were randomly assigned to an intervention group and a control group: the former received two 500 mg chamomile capsules for three months, while the latter received two placebo capsules for three months. Both groups were assessed for laboratory parameters (FBS, LDL, and testosterone) on the third day of the first and third cycles. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS 20.
The mean age, body mass index, marital status, history of infertility, and pregnancy rate showed no significant differences between the two groups. In the chamomile group, clinical symptoms of hirsutism (p<0.001) and oligomenorrhea (p=0.048) decreased following treatment, but a significant difference between the two groups was only observed in hirsutism symptoms (p=0.028).
Regarding FBS (p=0.06), HDL (p=0.224), cholesterol (p=0.99), triglycerides (p=0.106), testosterone (p=0.894), and LDL (p=0.61) parameters, no significant differences were observed between the two groups.
However, after treatment, testosterone levels decreased both in the placebo group (p=0.005) and the chamomile group (p=0.001).
Overall, the chamomile-based therapeutic regimen was relatively effective in alleviating clinical symptoms and testosterone levels in patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The use of chamomile as a simple, cost-effective, and effective measure may be suggested for improving and treating PCOS patients, pending further studies.
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Source:Afiat M, Akbari Lor A, Najaf Najafi M, Ghazanfarpour M, Jafarabadi M. Examining the Effect of Chamomile on Clinical Symptoms and Hormonal Parameters Among Patients With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. J Family Reprod Health. 2022 Dec;16(4):248-253. doi: 10.18502/jfrh.v16i4.11355. PMID: 37465426; PMCID: PMC10350545.