Chaste berry

Saga correspondent

Chaste berry is used to treat menstrual disorders, menopausal symptoms and some forms of acne.



Background

Chaste berry or agnus castus products use the whole fruit, making standardised extracts for tablet and capsule preparation.

Uses of chaste berry, or agnus castus

It is used to treat menstrual disorders, menopausal symptoms and some forms of acne.

Research found Chaste Berry reduces the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Almost 90% of patients reported improvements in headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, tiredness and mood swings.

Chaste Berry also gets periods back to normal and successfully treats types of acne caused by hormone imbalance.

It helps menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, dryness, dizziness and depression. It could become an alternative to HRT, but more testing is needed to confirm its effectiveness.

Chaste Berry appears to work by restoring the normal hormone balance by some indirect means. One possibility is that it may reduce the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland.

Dose

Doses depend on manufacturers advice, but it doesn’t work quickly. It can take at least two weeks to have any effect on PMS, and may even take more than three months to give the best results.

Safety

Side effects are rare. A few patients complain of gastrointestinal upsets or minor skin rashes. It lacks the side effects of steroid treatment sometimes used for menstrual problems.

Don’t take agnus castus along with the birth control pill or hormone treatments. It may interfere with the actions of the hormones.

Note: PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is the name of a group of symptoms that start 7 to 14 days before a period and stop soon after the period begins. Most women feel some discomfort before their periods but those with PMS may feel so anxious, depressed or uncomfortable that they can't cope at home or at work.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.