Agnus Castus

Vitex agnus castus

Botanical family: Verbenaceae
Parts used: Dried fruit and leaves
Main active constituents: Alkaloids, flavonoids, and glycosides
Actions: Hormone balancer
Good for: Premenstrual syndrome, menstrual irregularity and menopausal symptoms
Available forms: Capsule, tablet, tea, tincture

Description

Also called vitex, chaste berry or monk’s pepper, agnus castus is a large shrub native to southern Europe. The plant produces small, fragrant white or lilac coloured flowers in the height of summer and after pollination develops dark reddish-brown-to-black fruits about the size of peppercorns.

History

Agnus castus has been used in herbal medicine for centuries to relieve symptoms associated with female hormonal imbalances such as menstrual cramps, mood swings and water retention.

Current uses

For PMS symptoms

Agnus castus is thought to work by prompting the pituitary gland into sending a signal to the ovaries to balance the body’s natural oestrogen-progesterone ratio. This in turn helps to relieve some of the familiar symptoms of PMS such as irritability, depression, breast pain and bloating, which are thought to be triggered by an imbalance of these hormones.

For menopausal symptoms

Taken in the years leading up to the menopause, agnus castus can help to regulate the menstrual cycle and control bleeding. It can also be used alone or in combination with other herbs such as black cohosh or sage to help relieve or prevent menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats and headaches.

How to take it

  • You need to take 4mg of dried extract a day.
  • Agnus castus can be taken with other supplements.
  • Agnus castus can be taken continuously. Symptoms may improve after as little as 10 days, but it may take as long as three months to benefit from the full effect of this herb.

Watchpoints

  • Agnus castus should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • There is no evidence that agnus castus interacts with prescribed drugs if taken at the correct dosage.

Agnus castus can be found in PremHerb - A traditional herbal medicinal product used to help relieve symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome based on traditional use only.

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