You may have heard of the herbal remedy agnus castus before, but what exactly is it and what does agnus castus do?
In short, it is a supplement from the fruit of the agnus castus shrub found in the Mediterranean and Asia.
It is sometimes called the Chaste Tree, as its berries were believed to suppress sex drive, although there is no scientific evidence for this.
Agnus castus can be indicated for many gynecological issues, including the relief of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome including menstrual cramps based on traditional use only.
There is much more about agnus castus in this article on the Holland & Barrett Health Hub.
Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, can be experienced by anyone who menstruates.
PMS causes symptoms that some people may experience sporadically, while others go through them every month.
Common mild-to-moderate symptoms include irritability, mood swings, bloating and breast tenderness.
But some people suffer severe forms of PMS and even need to seek medical advice.
There are lesser known symptoms of PMS too.
Strangely, we do not yet know exactly what causes PMS. It is likely that changes in hormone levels during your menstrual cycle play a role.
A drop in oestrogen and progesterone soon after ovulation (if you haven’t conceived) might be behind PMS.
As well as agnus castus, there may be other options that may help provide support during those times when you are experiencing PMS symptoms.
Agnus castus berries are usually dried out, then made into either a powder (taken as capsules) or, a tincture.
There are several brands of agnus castus tablets available without prescription.
Holland & Barrett Femlieve Agnus Castus 4mg come in bottles of 30 or 60 tablets.
Or, if you are someone who does not like taking tablets, look out for A Vogel Agnus Castus Drops.
The drops dissolve in water to provide a similar dose as the tablets.
It is recommended that Holland & Barrett’s own Femlieve tablets should be taken daily while experiencing the indicated symptoms.
The agnus castus dosage is indicated in the information leaflet.
Each Femlieve Agnus Castus film-coated tablet contains 4mg of extract (as dry extract) from agnus Castus fruit.
This is equivalent to 28-52mg of agnus castus.
You should always read the product leaflet before use
Agnus castus can have a number of side effects, including nausea, headache, dizziness and the development of a rash or swelling.
Those who should not take this medication include: those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant; women who are breastfeeding; anyone under 18 years of age, or anyone suffering from a pituitary disorder.
Those who should be especially careful and talk to their doctor before taking this tablet include people with certain sugar allergies (due to the composition of the tablet); those who have had a pituitary disorder; people with an oestrogen-sensitive cancer, or anyone taking any other types of medication – including birth control pills – or herbal remedies.
If you have experienced any of these side effects, or feel like trying other natural remedies for hormonal imbalances, consult with your doctor first. You may also like to check out this article on the Health Hub.