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Agnus Castus - The Hormone Balancer.

Updated on March 7, 2008

Everyone! I Give You... Agnus Castus!

If you suffer with PMS or PMDD I urge you to try Agnus Castus and measure the results for yourself.It is a heaven-sent herb for those suffering with this condition. You should start to notice changes within a few weeks.

Chantal :) 

Also Known As:

Vitex Agnus Castus, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry

The common name of this herb is agnus castus; the full Latin name is Vitex Agnus Castus. It is also known as plain 'Vitex'.

It is a member of the Verbena family, a shrub best seen in its native Mediterranean where it thrives in the warm climate. In the UK it is likely to be found growing in the warmer southern parts, though it is not found often.

Uses Of Agnus Castus:

Agnus Castus is traditionally known as a remedy which is used by women to balance their female hormones. It's balancing or normalising characteristics make it effective for many conditions including menopause.

Agnus Castus can help improve:

* Fatigue

* Feeling irritable.

* Stomach bloating.

* Feelings of aggression.

* Acne outbreaks.

* Fluid retention.

* Weight gain.

* Mood swings and depression.

* Tearfulness.

* Tender swollen breasts.

* Hot flushes.

* Night sweats.

* Help with infertility.

* Irregular cycle.

* Amenorrhoea (absence of periods).

How It Works:

Agnus Castus acts directly on the Pituitary Gland. The pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland located more or less in the centre of the head where it hangs by a stalk from the base of the brain. This gland plays a pivotal role in the body's hormonal system. It is sometimes referred to as the 'master gland' because it controls several of the other hormone glands in your body such as the Adrenal Gland and the Thyroid Gland.

Some of the hormones produced by the pituitary gland act directly on parts of the body; others stimulate other glands in the body to produce and release hormones. Agnus Castus works on the pituitary gland by balancing the levels of Luteinising Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). In women, LH stimulates ovulation and the secretion of Oestrogen.

However,it is high oestrogen levels which are associated with the symptoms of PMS. An increase in the secretion of LH will boost the production of Progesterone during the second half of the menstrual cycle, which helps alleviate many of the symptoms associated with PMS/PMDD. Women are aware of the hormone oestrogen, but most aren't aware it is important to have enough progesterone too.

"A trial published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 showed Agnus Castus to have a beneficial effect on PMS symptoms, ranging from anger and irritability to bloating and breast fullness. The herb was well tolerated and did not cause unwanted side effects.

Another trial published in 2000, showed 42% of the 1,634 women involved reporting that they no longer suffered from PMS! Overall, 93% of the women on the trial reported that their PMS symptoms either disappeared or decreased. Interestingly, 23 of the women on the trial fell pregnant whilst taking Agnus castus, and 19 of them had previously had fertility problems."

- Extract from www.HealthyWayMagazine.com

Not only does it increase progesterone, it has also been reported to possess the ability to inhibit Prolactin, which in high levels have been connected to infertility. If you're having trouble conceiving, Agnus Castus can be very effective in aiding conception.

When To Avoid:

* Do not take during pregnancy.

* Do not take if breastfeeding.

* DO NOT TAKE AGNUS CASTUS WHILST ON THE

CONTRACEPTIVE PILL OR ANY HORMONAL CONTRACEPTIVE,

SUCH AS HRT.

Seek professional advice from a Doctor or Medical Herbalisr if using any product or drug which affects the female hormone system. Remember, if you take the pill it is purposely imbalancing the hormones in your body to avoid pregnancy. Taking Agnus Castus will reverse that and consequently the effect you are receiving from the pill.

Dosage:

Agnus Castus is available as a tablet or tincture. Both are equally effective, it is down to your preference.

Usually the dosage is as follows:

Raw Agnus Castus Herb (powdered whole berry): 1-2 grammes or 2-4 capsules daily

Agnus Castus Tincture: 60-120 drops daily, or 1-2 teaspoonsful, or 3-6ml (ie 20-40 drops three times a day)

Or just follow the instructions on the pack you've bought. If taken as a single dose the best time is first thing in the morning when the pituitary gland is at its most active.

How Long Should I Take It For?

Personally I saw results within the first month I took it. There were signs my cycle was regulating and my moods had diminished dramatically - which was FANTASTIC! I felt like myself the whole month through as opposed to feeling slightly deranged for the majority of it.

Don't give up taking it for at least two cycles. If you begin to see improvements take it for a further four months, so six months in total for PMS/PMDD related symptoms (you may have to take it for longer for other conditions). By this time your hormones should be balanced. Reduce the dose by half for a weeks after, then stop.

Monitor yourself, if the symptoms start to come back then begin taking it again for a further 2-3 months. It doesn't damage you to take it long-term but with all supplements, if you don't need it then there is no point taking it unnesccesarily.

If the symptoms keep returning when you try to wean yourself off, then visit a Medical Herbalist for an examination as there might be a more fundamental imbalance which you may need professional help in treating.

Are There Side Effects?

The characteristics of agnus castus are so gentle that reports of negative reactions are few. One in 50 people may develop mild indigestion or a mild skin rash. If this happens, stop taking the herb for a few days and slowly reintroduce it with a lower dose.

This lens gives you information about Agnus Castus; it's origin,

it's usage and associated benefits. If there is anything else you would like to know, contact me and I will try to include it in this lens.

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