Chaste Tree for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is very beneficial for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is one of my favourite herbs for women’s health and regularly prescribe it. Depending on the presenting symptoms, I typically combine Chaste Tree with other herbs, such as Dong Quai, Corydalis, Crampbark, Dandelion Root, Ginger, Milk Thistle, Paeony, and Turmeric. This combination covers most women’s health issues. Ginger and Turmeric work via anti-inflammatory effects. Corydalis and Crampbark help with pain relief. Dandelion Root and Milk Thistle are for liver function and Milk Thistle improves detoxification. Dong Quai and Paeony are for female reproductive health and have been found beneficial for premenstrual syndrome. I increase broccoli for its health benefits and suggest to consume it every day. Big fan of Broccoli and one of my favourite vegetables. Highly nutritious. I co-prescribe Magnesium and tend to prescribe 150-200 mg twice daily. I may prescribe an additional dose if bad cramping and pain. Vitamin B6 is for hormone and neurotransmitter regulation. It also works with the metabolism of delta-6 desaturase and the metabolism of fatty acids. Depending on the situation, I might increase Vitamin B3 for its circulation effects, along with energy production, neurotransmitter regulation, and metabolism of fatty acids. Vitamin C can be added for additional antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. I am a big fan of Ashwagandha and regularly prescribe it for anxiety, stress, and as an adaptogen. Ashwagandha is very beneficial for supporting women’s health, particularly with PMS, anxiety, and stress.

A randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel group comparison over three menstrual cycles. The trial consisted of either active (fruit extract ZE 440: 60% ethanol m/m, extract ratio 6-12:1; standardised for casticin; one 20 mg tablet once daily) or placebo (matched for appearance, size, colour, taste, and smell).

Main outcome measures: Main efficacy variable: change from baseline to end point (end of third cycle) in women’s self assessment of irritability, mood alteration, anger, headache, breast fullness, and other menstrual symptoms including bloating. Secondary efficacy variables: changes in clinical global impression (severity of condition, global improvement, and risk or benefit) and responder rate (50% reduction in symptoms).

Improvement in the main variable was greater in the active group compared with placebo group (P<0.001). Analysis of the secondary variables showed significant (P<0.001) superiority of active treatment in each of the three global impression items. Responder rates were 52% and 24% for active and placebo, respectively.

Chaste Tree was found to be an effective and well tolerated treatment for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome.

Reference: Schellenberg R. Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study. BMJ. 2001 Jan 20; 322(7279): 134-7.

PS I am enjoying writing these articles for my website on top of the regular newsletter mailouts. Eventually I will reduce the number of mailouts and focus on my website as in the future it will be more accessible for people and reduce paper.

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