Ginger and Frankincense Extracts Both Help Reduce Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of frankincense (Boswellia serrata, oleoresin) and ginger (Zingiber officinale, rhizoma) as complementary treatments for heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) among women of reproductive age.

DESIGN: Randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial.

SETTING: Gynecology outpatient clinics.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients with HMB (n = 102) were randomly assigned to three groups. All patients received ibuprofen (200 mg) and either frankincense (300 mg), ginger (300 mg), or a placebo, which contains 200 mg anhydrous lactose as the filling agent and was similar in appearance to the two other drugs. Patients received the medications three times a day for seven days of the menstrual cycle, starting from the first bleeding day and this was repeated for two consecutive menstrual cycles.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Amount and duration of menstrual bleeding and quality of life (QOL).

RESULTS: Duration of menstrual bleeding was decreased in the frankincense (-1.77 ± 2.47 days, P = 0.003) and ginger (-1.8 ± 1.79 days, P = 0.001) groups, but not in the placebo group (-0.52 ± 1.86 days, P = 0.42). Amount of menstrual bleeding was decreased in all (P < 0.05), with no difference among the study groups (P > 0.05). More improvement in QOL was observed in the frankincense (-25.7 ± 3.1; P < 0.001) and ginger (-29.2 ± 3.7: P < 0.001) groups compared to the placebo group (-15.07 ± 3.52; P < 0.001) and between the groups, differences were statistically significant (P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: Ginger and frankincense seem to be effective complementary treatments for HMB. Further studies with a larger sample size and longer follow-up are warranted in this regard.

Eshaghian R, et al. The effect of frankincense (Boswellia serrata, oleoresin) and ginger (Zingiber officinale, rhizoma) on heavy menstrual bleeding: A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:42-47. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.09.022. Epub 2018 Sep 27.