In my last post – PCOS and Depression – I mentioned that I had been suffering with bad PMT due to a long delay in my period. In order to resolve the problem, I turned back to a herbal medicine I have used in the past – Agnus Castus (also known as Vitex and Chaste Tree Berry).
Agnus Castus and PCOS
Agnus Castus can be a useful natural treatment for PCOS. It has been used to help regulate female hormones for centuries.
It can lengthen the menstrual cycle in women who are experiencing menstruation too often, and shorten it in women who are not experiencing it often enough. It raises production of the luteinizing hormone (LH), while decreasing the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This in turn increases Progesterone levels.
In simple terms, it means a better ratio of oestrogen to progesterone and so a more natural cycle.
The Benefits of Agnus Castus
Studies into Agnus Castus have shown it can:
- increase fertility (due to the increase in progesterone during the 2nd half of the cycle)
- reduce PMT/PMS (water weight, bloating, irritability, fatigue, cramps and headaches)
- reduce acne and excess hair by neutralizing excess testosterone
- reduce the health risks of excess oestrogen, such as breast cancer and obesity
Risks and Side Effects of Agnus Castus
In general, Agnus Castus has been proven to have very few side effects. It can also be taken consistently for long periods of time (18 months is the recommended maximum).
However, due to the way it alters your hormone levels, you should avoid taking it:
- as soon as you think you might be pregnant
- if you are on the Birth Control Pill or Hormone Replacement Therapy
- if you are taking a dopamine agonist (used for treating Parkinson’s disease, Restless Leg Syndrome etc.)
What Else Should I Know About Agnus Castus?
To experience the benefits of Agnus Castus you should continue taking it for at least a month. It can take up to 6 months to take full effect.
I prefer to take a tincture rather than capsules and stick to the recommended dosage (usually 20-30 drops in a little water first thing in the morning).
If you are concerned about taking Agnus Castus, then consult a qualified herbalist or natural health professional for more information and recommended dosages. This blog post is not designed to be a substitute for professional medical advice.
Try Agnus Castus (Chaste Tree Berry) Organic Herbal Extract from Pure Formulas
Ingredients: Organic Chaste Tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) in Organic Grain Alcohol USP (60-70%)‚ in water.
Minimum Dry Herb Strength Ratio: 1:4.