The Herbal Medicine Proposed by Iranian Traditional Medicine (Persian Medicine) for Treatment of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Review

  • Saeedeh Ghafari Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica Research Center (TMRC), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Zahra Tavakoli Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica Research Center (TMRC), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Pantea Shirooyeh Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Razieh Nabi Meybodi Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Elham Behmanesh School of Traditional Medicine and History of Medical Science Research Center, School of Traditional Medicine, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran
  • Roshanak Mokaberinejad Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Mojgan Tansaz Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Shirin Fahimi Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Keywords: Menstrual pain, Dysmenorrhea, Iranian Traditional Medicine, Persian Medicine, Medicinal plants


Primary dysmenorrhea (PD) is defined as painful menstrual in the absence of any pelvic pathology. Nowadays, the first line treatment is the use of NSAIDs that unfortunately has contraindication and side effects. Persian Medicine has noted menstrual pain with the defined treatments by use of herbs and herbal formulations. The aim of this study is to introduce the medicinal plants used to treat menstrual and uterine pains (M & UP) in Persian Medicine for evaluating in field of PD. For this purpose, first the medicinal plants used to treat M & UP were listed using prominent Persian Medicine references. In the next step, data were collected in relation to treat PD by searching in ‘Google Scholar’, ‘Scopus’, ‘PubMed’ and ‘SID’ databases between 2000 and 2016. Finally, the plants from identified Persian Medicine list, whose effect on PD have been revealed in modern literatures were introduced. According to this review, more than 100 medicinal plants were recommended for the treatment of M & UP in Persian Medicine. They belong to 60 plant families, the most frequent of which are Asteraceae, Apiaceae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae and Lamiaceae, respectively. Also, only about 13% of the aforementioned medicinal plants have been evaluated for the treatment of PD. It seems that many plants have been introduced in Persian Medicine for the treatment of menstrual pain, which have not yet been evaluated for their therapeutic effects and precise mechanisms of action. Thus, the introduced plants could be suitable candidates for future investigations.


Shirooye P, Hashem-Dabaghian F, Hamzeloo-Moghadam M, Afrakhteh M, Bioos S, Mokaberinejad R. A clinical comparative study of oral and topical ginger on severity and duration of primary dysmenorrhea. Res J Pharmacogn 2017;4:23-32.

Dawood M. Dysmenorrhea. J Reprod Med 1985;30:154-167.

Pedron-Nuevo N, Gonzalez-Unzaga L, De Celis-Carrillo R, Reynoso-Isla M, De la Torre-Romeral L. Incidence of dysmenorrhea and associated symptoms in women aged 12-24 years. Ginecol Obstet Mex 1998;66:492-494.

Habibi N, Huang MSL, Gan WY, Zulida R, Safavi SM. Prevalence of Primary Dysmenorrhea and Factors Associated with Its Intensity Among Undergraduate Students: A Cross-Sectional Study. Pain Management Nursing 2015;16:855-861.

Kannan P, Chapple CM, Miller D, Claydon LS, Baxter GD. Menstrual pain and quality of life in women with primary dysmenorrhea: Rationale, design, and interventions of a randomized controlled trial of effects of a treadmill-based exercise intervention. Contemp Clin Trials 2015;42(Supplement C):81-89.

Lewis RJ, Wasserman E, Denney NW, Gerrard M. The etiology and treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: A review. Clin Psychol Rev 1983;3:371-389.

Kashani L, Mohammadi M, Heidari M, Akhondzadeh S. Herbal Medicine in the Treatment of Primary Dysmenorrhea. J Med Plants Res 2015;1:1-5.

Marjoribanks J, Proctor M, Farquhar C, Derks RS. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010;1:1-164.

Antman EM, Bennett JS, Daugherty A, Furberg C, Roberts H, Taubert KA. Use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Circulation 2007;115:1634-1642.

Park KS, Park KI, Hwang DS, Lee JM, Jang JB, Lee CH. A review of in vitro and in vivo studies on the efficacy of herbal medicines for primary dysmenorrhea. J Evid Based Complement Altern Med 2014;2014:1-11.

Dmitrovic R, Kunselman AR, Legro RS. Continuous compared with cyclic oral contraceptives for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2012;119: 1143-1150.

Jia W, Wang X, Xu D, Zhao A, Zhang Y. Common traditional Chinese medicinal herbs for dysmenorrhea. Phytother Res 2006;20:819-824.

Moghadam ZB, Rezaei E, Gholami RS, Kheirkhah M, Haghani H. The effect of Valerian root extract on the severity of pre menstrual syndrome symptoms. J Tradit Complement Med 2016;6: 309-315.

Rezaeizadeh H, Alizadeh M, Naseri M, Ardakani MS. The Traditional Iranian Medicine Point of View on Health and. Iran J Publ Health 2009;38:169-172.

Mirabi P, Alamolhoda SH, Esmaeilzadeh S, Mojab F. Effect of medicinal herbs on primary dysmenorrhoea-a systematic review. Iran J Pharm Res 2014;13:757-767.

Bahmani M, Eftekhari Z, Jelodari M, Saki K, Abdollahi R, Majlesi M. Effect of Iranian herbal medicines in dysmenorrhea phytotherapy. J Chem Pharm Res 2015;2:519-526.

Shirooye P, Afrakhteh M, Bioos S, Mokaberinejad R. Uterine pain explanation from Iranian traditional medicine point of view and comparison with pelvic pain from contemporary medicine. Iran J Obstet Gynecol Infertil (IJOGI) 2016;19:9-25.

Behmanesh E, Nabi Meybodi R, Mokaberinejad R, Tansaz M, Mozaffarpour SA, Shirooye P. Menstrual pain explanation from iranian traditional medicine point of view compared to contemporary medicine: A review article. Iran J Obstet Gynecol Infertil (IJOGI) 2016;19:22-31.

Soltani A. Encyclopedia of Traditional Medicine, Medicinal Plants. Arjmand. Tehran 2005.

Ghahreman A, Okhovvat A. Matching the old medicinal plant names with scientific terminology. Tehran University publication. Tehran 2009.

Dini M. Investigation of various common names of plants used in traditional medicine. Institute of forests and ranges. Tehran 2005.

Dadkhah N, Eskandarian R, Rahimi-Madiseh M. The medicinal plants and plant-based products of Iran effective on dysmenorrheal. Int J PharmTech Res 2016;9:392-406.

Heidarifar R, Mehran N, Heidari A, Koohbor M, Mansourabad MK. Effect of Dill (Anethum graveolens) on the severity of primary dysmenorrhea in compared with mefenamic acid: A randomized, double-blind trial. J Res Med Sci 2014;19:326-330.

Khodakrami N, Moatar F, Ghahiri A. The effect of an Iranian herbal drug on primary dysmenorrhoea-A clinical control trial. The Horizon of Medical Sciences 2008;14:11-19.

Jaafarpour M, Hatefi M, Khani A, Khajavikhan J. Comparative effect of cinnamon and Ibuprofen for treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. J Clin Diagn Res 2015;9:QC04-QC07.

Tavasoli F, Sharifian J, Mazlom R. Comparison of the effect of Mefenamic acid and Carum carvi on the severity of primary dysmenorrhea in Mashhad high-school students. J Sabzevar Uni Med Sci 2002;8:4-9.

Delaram M, Forouzandeh N. The effect of Fennel on the primary dysmenorrhea in students of Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences. Jundishapur Sci Med J 2011;10:81-88.

Moslemi L, Bekhradi R, Moghaddam G. Comparative effect of fennel extract on the intensity of primary dysmenorrhea. Afr J Pharm 2012;6:1770-1773.

Nasehi M, Sehhatie F, Zamanzadeh V, Delazar A, Javadzadeh Y, Chongheralu BM. Comparison of the effectiveness of combination of fennel extract/vitamin E with ibuprofen on the pain intensity in students with primary dysmenorrhea. Iran J Nurs Midwifery 2013;18:355-359.

Namavar Jahromi B, Tartifizadeh A, Khabnadideh S. Comparison of fennel and mefenamic acid for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. ‎Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2003;80:153-157

Samadi N, Amani F, Naghizadeh M, Alahiari I, Ghezelbash S, Kazemzadeh R. Effect of Using Combination of Fennel, Chamomile and Ginger on Relieving Symptoms of Primary Dysmenorrheal among Students in Ardabil University of Medical Sciences in 2012. J Ilam Uni Med Sci 2015;22: 159-164.

Karimian Z, Sadat Z, Abedzadeh M, Sarafraz N, Kafaei Atrian M, Bahrami N. Comparison the effect of mefenamic acid and Matricaria chamomilla on primary dysmenorrhea in Kashan Medical University Students. J Ardabil Uni Med Sci 2013;13:413-420.

Jenabi E, Ebrahimzadeh S. Chamomile tea for relief of primary dysmenorrhea. Iran J Obstet Gynecol Inferti (IJOGI) 2010;13:39-42.

Roknabad M, Sarafraz N. Comparison between the effect of supermint and ibuprofen on primary dysmenorrheal: a randomized clinical trial. Qom Uni Med Sci J 2011;1:37-41.

Tseng YF, Chen CH, Yang YH. Rose tea for relief of primary dysmenorrhea in adolescents: a randomized controlled trial in Taiwan. J Midwifery Womens Health 2005;50:e51–e57.

Saadat E. The effect of aromatherapy with rose oil on primary dysmenorrhea. Complementary Medicine Journal of faculty of Nursing & Midwifery (CMJ) 2014;4:787-797.

Bani S, Hasanpour S, Mousavi Z, Garehbaghi PM, Gojazadeh M. The effect of rosa damascena extract on primary dysmenorrhea: a double-blind cross-over clinical trial. Red Crescent Med J 2014; 16:e14643.

Younesy S, Amiraliakbari S, Esmaeili S, Alavimajd H, Nouraei S. Effects of fenugreek seed on the severity and systemic symptoms of dysmenorrhea. J Reprod Infertil 2014;15:41-48.

Inanmdar W, Sultana A, Mubeen U, Rahman K. Clinical efficacy of Trigonella foenum graecum (Fenugreek) and dry cupping therapy on intensity of pain in patients with primary dysmenorrhea. Chin J Integr Med 2016:1-8.

Aksoy AN, Gözükara I, Kabil Kucur S. Evaluation of the efficacy of Fructus agni casti in women with severe primary dysmenorrhea: A prospective comparative Doppler study. J Obstet Gynaecol Res 2014;40:779-784.

Shobeiri F, Zeraati F, Mansouri Z, Araghchian M, Nazari M. The comparative effect of herbal extract of vitagnus and mefenamic acid on primary dysmenorrhea. Zahedan J Res Med Sci 2012;14: 30-33.

Iravani M. Clinical effects of Zataria multiflora essential oil on primary dysmenorrhea.

J Med Plants 2009;2:54-60.

Direkvand-Moghadam A, Khosravi A. The impact of a novel herbal Shirazi Thymus Vulgaris on primary dysmenorrhea in comparison to the classical chemical Ibuprofen. J Res Med Sci 2012; 17:668-670.

Su S, Hua Y, Wang Y, Gu W, Zhou W, Duan J-a, et al. Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of individual and combined extracts from Commiphora myrrha, and Boswellia carterii. J Ethnopharmacol 2012;139:649-656.

Ostad S, Soodi M, Shariffzadeh M, Khorshidi N, Marzban H. The effect of fennel essential oil on uterine contraction as a model for dysmenorrhea, pharmacology and toxicology study. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;76:299-304.

Almeida RN, Navarro DS, Barbosa-Filho JM. Plants with central analgesic activity. Phytomedicine 2001;8:310-322.

Valério DA, Cunha TM, Arakawa NS, Lemos HP, Da Costa FB, Parada CA, et al. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of the sesquiterpene lactone budlein A in mice: inhibition of cytokine production-dependent mechanism. Eur J Pharmacol 2007;562:155-163.

Nkeh BC-A, Njamen D, Wandji J, Fomum ZT, Dongmo A, Nguelefack TB, et al. Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Effects of Drypemolundein A, a Sesquiterpene Lactone from Drypetes molunduana. Pharm Biol 2003;41:26-30.

Ahmed M, Rahman M, Alimuzzaman M, Shilpi J. Analgesic sesquiterpene dilactone from Mikania cordata. Fitoterapia 2001;72:919-921.

Casey M, MacDonald P, Mitchell M. Despite a massive increase in cortisol secretion in women during parturition, there is an equally massive increase in prostaglandin synthesis. A paradox?. J Clin Invest 1985;75:1852-57.

How to Cite
Ghafari S, Tavakoli Z, Shirooyeh P, Nabi Meybodi R, Behmanesh E, Mokaberinejad R, Tansaz M, Fahimi S. The Herbal Medicine Proposed by Iranian Traditional Medicine (Persian Medicine) for Treatment of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Review. Trad Integr Med. 3(1):30-42.
Review Article(s)