Agnus Castus – Chasteberry (60)

R244.00

Agnus Castus (Chastetree Berry) has traditionally been used to help balance hormones.

SKU: Sfera-Agnus Categories: ,

Description

Technical information:

Mechanism of action

The basic mechanism of action underlying agnus castus is its effect on enhancing corpus luteal development (thereby correcting a relative progesterone deficiency) via effects through the pituitary gland.  Agnus castus has a profound effect on the hypothalamus and on pituitary function, helping normalize other hormones and reducing both prolactin and the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio.

PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME – many PMS sufferers exhibit elevated prolactin levels, especially in women experiencing breast pain or fibrocystic breast disease.  Studies in PMS sufferers using agnus castus have shown up to ninety percent having improvement or resolution of symptoms.  Hormonal imbalances often cause cramps, breast pain, and acne flare-ups during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, the phase that occurs after an egg is released from the ovary.  Sometimes, the corpus luteum, the yellowish ovarian scar that forms after the egg is released, produces inadequate amounts of estrogen and progesterone or excessive amounts of testosterone.  Chasteberry stimulates the production of estrogen and progesterone, while it stops the excessive amounts of testosterone by providing compounds that are very similar to it.  In addition to balancing the hormones in these conditions, chaste berries can reduce pain.

Chasteberry may also be helpful in treating menopausal symptoms and treating acne in teenagers (male and female).  These benefits may take anything from 10 days to 6 months.

MENSTRUATION DISORDERS – Agnus castus has demonstrated effectiveness in aiding menstruation disorders, including; secondary amenorrhoea, metrorrhagia, and lengthened and shortened cycles, especially when due to progesterone deficiency.

ANTI-MICROBIAL ACTIVITY – Extracts of agnus castus have shown antimicrobial activity against a broad range of organisms, including; staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, E. coli, and candida Albicans. This may offer additional benefits, as dysbiosis is a common problem and may aggravate existing menstrual disorders.

INFERTILITY – Research suggests that agnus castus can enhance corpus luteal functioning, thus lengthening the luteal phase and normalizing progesterone levels often found to be low in infertile women.

The therapeutic effects of chaste berry have primarily been attributed to its indirect effects on various neurotransmitters and hormones.  Chasteberry seems to affect dopamine, and possibly acetylcholine and opioid receptors (1).

Chasteberry extracts contain multiple constituents that seem to have agonistic effects on pituitary dopamine (D2) receptors when used in higher doses.  This dopaminergic activity inhibits basal and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) – stimulated prolactin release. (2). In women with hyperprolactinemia, chaste berry seems to suppress prolactin release.  This may normalize luteal phase defects in the menstrual cycle. (3).  In healthy men, chasteberry’s hormonal effect seems to be dose-dependent.  Lower doses of chaste berry extract of approximately 120mg per day seem to increase prolactin release. Higher dosages seem to suppress prolactin release. Chasteberry does not appear to affect testosterone. (4). Traditional use indicates that men wanting to become fathers should avoid taking chaste berries as the seeds may affect sperm production.

The essential oils of chaste berries also seem to have antibacterial and antifungal effects. (5)

Safety Concerns

Adverse Reactions

Orally, the chaste berry is usually well tolerated.  However, some patients can experience gastrointestinal upset, headache, nausea, itching and urticaria, rash, acne, insomnia, weight gain, and irregular menstrual bleeding. (6).

Do not use if weak and anemic.

Interactions with herbs and other dietary supplements

None known

Interactions with drugs
1. ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUGS:  Theoretically, chaste berry might interfere with the action of dopamine antagonist drugs. (7)
2. CONTRACEPTIVE DRUGS:  Theoretically, chaste berry can interfere with the efficacy of oral contraceptives because it seems to have hormone-modulating activity. (8)
3. DOPAMINE AGONISTS:  Theoretically, chaste berry might potentiate the actions of dopaminergic agonists due to the dopaminergic effects of chaste berry. (9)
4. OESTROGENS AND PROGESTERONE:  Theoretically, chaste berry can interfere with the efficacy of hormone replacement therapy because it seems to have hormone-modulating activity. (10)

Interactions with foods

None known

Interactions with lab tests

None known

Interactions with Diseases or Conditions
1. HORMONE SENSITIVE CANCERS/CONDITIONS:  Because chaste berry seems to have hormonal effects and might affect estrogen levels, women with hormone-sensitive conditions should avoid chaste berry.  (11)
2.IN VITRO FERTILIZATION:  There is some evidence that using chasteberry during in vitro fertilization procedures might prevent an ensuing pregnancy despite having a viable embryo.  (12)

Pregnancy and lactation

Possibly unsafe when used orally.  The hormonal effects might adversely affect pregnancy or lactation.

Dosage and Administration

Take one capsule per day with food.  200-600mg daily.

It is common practice for agnus castus to be taken as a single dose each morning (throughout the cycle) before food to assist with hormonal regulation.  May be used long term within normal dosage range.

Vitex Agnus Castus

INGREDIENTS:  one vegetarian capsule provides:
Chastetree BerryExtract 4:1 (Vitex agnus castus) 200mg
Chastetree Powder (Vitex agnus castus) 200mg
Other ingredients:  Cellulose vegi-capsule, vegetarian magnesium stearate

Disclaimer: All information contained on this website is for information only and should not be used to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease, health or medical condition. The products (food supplements) are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health or medical condition. Do not exceed stated dose or use with prescribed medication unless advised by a doctor or medical practitioner. Do not take if pregnant or lactating. Keep out of reach of children. Consult doctor for all medical advice.

References

1.  Forschende Komplementarmedizien 1996;3:329-30.  Exp Clin Endocrinol 1994;102:448-54.  Phytomedicine 2000;7:373-81.

2.  Forschende Komplementarmedizien 1996;3:329-30.  Exp Clin Endocrinol 1994;102:448-54.  Phytomedicine 2003;10:248-57.

3.  Arzneimittelforschung 1993:43:752-6.

4.  Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1996;104:447-53.

5.  Fitoterapia 2001;72:698-7

6.  Br Med J 2001;322:134-7.  Exp Clin Endocrinol 1994;102:448-54

7.  Forschende Komplementarmedizien 1996;3:329-30.  Exp Clin Endocrinol 1994;102:448-54.

8.  J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:2472-9.  Phytomedicine 2003;10:348-57.

9.  Phytomedicine 2000;7:373-81

10.  J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:2472-9.  Phytomedicine 2003;10:348-57.

11.  Eagon PK, Elm MS, Hunter DS, et al. Medicinal herbs:  modulation of estrogen action.  Era of Hope Mtg, Dept Defense; Breast Cancer Res Prog,Atlanta,GA 2000; Jun 8-11.

12.  Hum Produc 1994;9:1469-70

Sources
1.Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.  Therapeutic Research Faculty.  www.naturaldatabase.com
2.Prescription for Herbal Healing.  Phyllis A. Balch. 2002.

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