If you routinely experience the following symptoms up to two weeks before
your period, you are probably among those women (about 40% of the population)
that suffer from premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.
cravings for sweet
constipation, then diarrhea.
Emotional symptoms may include irritability, depression, anxiety, confusion,
and feeling out of control. For some women, symptoms are severe and make life
very difficult. While a healthy diet, vitamin supplements, rigorous exercise and
relaxation techniques can go a long way toward alleviating PMS, herbs may also
be helpful in quelling symptoms. Among herbs studied for the treatment of PMS,
Vitex agnus castus (commonly known as chaste tree berry) is certainly the
most extensively studied. German health authorities approve the use of chaste
tree fruit for menstrual irregularities and premenstrual complaints. In one
German study, vitex had a response rate of 90% among women who received
treatment for 135 days or so.
Although some women using vitex may experience side effects such as nausea,
diarrhea, mild skin rash, and increased acne, there have been no reports of
toxic interactions involving vitex. One researcher has suggested that vitex may
undermine the effectiveness of birth control pills and The German Commission
E discourages using vitex during pregnancy. In contrast, herbalists and
midwives in the United States occasionally recommend vitex during the first
trimester to prevent miscarriage. Again, there is no documented evidence to
support the use of vitex in this way. More research needs to be done on the
varied use and efficacy of vitex.
Low Dog, T. The Use of Vitex for Premenstrual Syndrome. The Integrative
Medicine Consult. October 2000.
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of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage
to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or
otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents
of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds
currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a
guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information
provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare
practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts)
regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications
before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed