The moriche palm bears fruits, also known as aguaje, that have a characteristically deep red peel, yellow carotenoid-rich flesh, and pleasant flavor. In South America, they are popularly eaten in beverages, ice cream, and other desserts.
The aguaje fruits are also known to contain phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that help alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalance. However, the use of aguaje for period relief has not been studied yet.
This trial was conducted to evaluate whether moriche palm extract can relieve menstrual discomforts.
There were 44 women recruited for this 2020 randomized clinical trial, conducted at Takara Clinic in Tokyo, Japan. Participants reported indefinite menstrual complaints, including headaches, fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, and more.
For eight weeks, researchers gave half of them capsules with 100 mg of moriche palm extract (made from the dried aguaje pulp). The other half received the placebo capsules.
The severity of women's discomforts was assessed through a variety of questionnaires, including the menstrual distress questionnaire (MDQ). Their blood and urine samples as well as their body parameters were also taken.
In comparison to the placebo group, women in the aguaje group had considerably lower MDQ scores during periods, most specifically in the following categories:
- Water retention: weight gain, painful breasts, skim blemishes etc.
- Impaired concentration: insomnia, confusion, difficulty concentrating etc.
- Control: feeling of suffocation, heart pounding, numbness etc.
The arousal category of the MDQ (excitement, feelings of well-being, affection etc.) was significantly lower in the aguaje group than in the placebo group.
What Does this Mean?
This study has shown that aguaje may alleviate menstrual discomforts. These findings add to the body of evidence of aguaje's estrogenic properties, particularly useful for women going through the menopausal transition.1
Researchers suggest considering aguaje a safe and gentle treatment of PMS symptoms, enabling women not to depend on medications on a monthly basis.
- Functional Foods in Health and Disease, Moriche Palm (Aguaje) Extract improves indefinite complaints in Japanese females: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, 2020
- Bioactive Compounds in Health and Disease. (2019). Hydroxypterocarpans with estrogenic activity in Aguaje, the fruit of Mauritia flexuosa (Peruvian moriche palm). Retrieved September 23, 2021 from https://ffhdj.com/index.php/BioactiveCompounds/article/view/585