How Certain Herbs Combat Obesity and Boost Fertility in Females

Jenn Hoskins
12th May, 2024

How Certain Herbs Combat Obesity and Boost Fertility in Females

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a rat study, diets with fennel and coriander improved fertility despite high-fat intake
  • These herb-supplemented diets also reduced negative health markers linked to obesity
  • The findings suggest plant-based diets could enhance metabolic and reproductive health
Obesity is a growing global health concern with significant implications, not only for metabolic health but also for reproductive functions. The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980, with changes in diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors contributing to this trend[2]. In women, obesity can disrupt the hormonal balance and reproductive system, leading to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and infertility[3]. Moreover, the gut microbiota has been identified as a key player in obesity, influencing energy balance, inflammation, and even reproductive health[2][4]. Recent research conducted by the National Research Centre has explored the potential of plant-based diets to mitigate the effects of obesity, particularly focusing on their capacity to improve fertility in the context of a high-fat diet (HFD)[1]. The study involved eighty rats divided into four groups, with one group receiving a standard diet and the others consuming an HFD, supplemented with different combinations of herbs known for their medicinal properties. Group 1 (G1), the control group, maintained a basal diet, whereas Group 2 (G2) was fed an HFD, which typically leads to weight gain and associated health issues. Group 3 (G3) received an HFD along with chia seeds and Hibiscus sabdariffa L., while Group 4 (G4) was given an HFD supplemented with Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) and Coriandrum sativum L. (coriander). The intervention lasted for 10 weeks, during which various biochemical parameters were measured to assess the impact of the diets. The results showed that G4, which consumed fennel and coriander, experienced a significant reduction in all measured biochemical parameters compared to G3, suggesting that these herbs might have a stronger effect in counteracting the negative impacts of an HFD. Furthermore, G1 and G4 had a considerably higher average number of embryonic lobes and offspring after birth compared to G2 and G3. This finding indicates that the herb-supplemented diet, particularly the one including fennel and coriander, might promote fertility in the context of obesity. The implications of these findings are significant, as they suggest that certain plant-based diets could offer a dual benefit in the context of obesity: improving metabolic health and enhancing reproductive outcomes. This aligns with previous studies that have shown weight loss through lifestyle modification can restore menstrual cyclicity and ovulation, thus improving the likelihood of conception in obese women[3]. The study's focus on the reproductive aspect is particularly relevant given the increasing rates of obesity among women of childbearing age in the United States and the associated risks to fertility[4]. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, common in obesity, can impair ovarian function and oocyte quality. The findings from the National Research Centre offer a promising avenue for addressing these issues through dietary interventions. While the study provides valuable insights, it's important to note that it was conducted on rats, and further research is needed to determine if the same effects would be observed in humans. Additionally, the mechanisms by which fennel and coriander exert their beneficial effects are not fully understood. They may involve modulation of the gut microbiome, which has been linked to ovarian function and inflammation in obesity and PCOS[4]. In conclusion, the study presents a compelling case for the use of specific plant-based diets as a strategy to combat the detrimental effects of a high-fat diet on both metabolic and reproductive health. This research adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that natural dietary supplements could play a role in managing obesity and its associated complications, potentially offering a more holistic approach to treatment that includes the promotion of fertility.

HerbsHealthAnimal Science


Main Study

1) The protective effects of some herbs on mitigating HFD-induced obesity via enhancing biochemical indicators and fertility in female rats.

Published 15th May, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Probiotics in prevention and treatment of obesity: a critical view.

3) Obesity as disruptor of the female fertility.

4) Obesity induces ovarian inflammation and reduces oocyte quality.

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