Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder to affect women of childbearing age that is characterized by high levels of androgens (hyperandrogenism) and insulin resistance. Typical symptoms include increased body hair, acne, hair loss, unexplained weight gain, and infrequent or absent menstruation leading to infertility. Conventional therapies often present unwanted side effects. Oral contraceptive pills, for example, can increase heart rate, while Metformin may cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lactic acidosis, metallic taste and vitamin B-12 deficiency. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is among the growing list of natural therapies used to treat the condition.
Researchers at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Shiraz, Iran randomly assigned 90 women aged 15-45 years to take 370 mg of encapsulated dried chamomile flowers or placebo capsules three times daily for 12 weeks. A total of 80 patients that completed the trial (five withdrew from each group). Compared to baseline measurements, the researchers observed a significant decrease in serum testosterone levels in the treatment group over the placebo group. However, they did not find significant changes in lipid parameters or LH/FSH ratio and, although DHEAS concentration in both groups increased slightly, the change was not clinically significant.
The authors of the study, which was published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, surmised that phytoestrogens and phytosterols found in chamomile flowers inhibit the synthesis of androgen hormones, most notably testosterone.
Heidary M, Yazdanpanahi Z, Dabbaghmanesh MH, et al. "Effect of chamomile capsule on lipid- and hormonal-related parameters among women of reproductive age with polycystic ovary syndrome." J Res Med Sci. April 2018;23:33.