Agnus Castus: An Effective Remedy for PMS

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a term used to describe the many physical and mental symptoms that occur a week or two before menstruation. These symptoms include sore muscles, migraine headaches, stomach cramps, irritability, intense food cravings, fatigue, and mood swings. PMS also cause abdominal bloating, tenderness of the breasts, weight gain, and fluid retention. Because this condition is caused by hormonal fluctuations, women experience different combinations of PMS symptoms.

Although there is no drug made specifically to treat PMS, you can turn to herbal remedies to reduce the many discomforts caused by menstruation. One of the most effective treatments for PMS is agnus castus or Chasteberry.

Chasteberry is a type of flowering shrub that belongs in the family Lamiaceae. This plant is a native of the Mediterranean region.

How Chasteberry Soothes PMS Symptoms

Normalizes Hormones

PMS is caused by hormonal fluctuations. Most women suffering from PMS has a higher level of prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. This hormone upsets the balance between progesterone and estrogen in the body.

Chasteberry helps reduce the level of prolactin in the body. It regulates the balance between estrogen and prolactin, easing PMS symptoms. Chasteberry also enhances the production of progesterone, reducing irritability, depression, and bloating, which are hallmarks of PMS.

Rich in Vitamin B6

Chasteberry is high in vitamin B6. This nutrient eliminates excess estrogen in the body that causes a myriad of PMS symptoms. A German study noted that the vitamin B6 found in chasteberry is an effective treatment for irritability, mood swings, severe food cravings, and headaches. In fact, almost 90% of test subjects that took a regular dose of chasteberry saw a remarkable reduction in PMS symptoms.

Reduce Breast Tenderness

Breast tenderness is a common PMS symptom caused by fluctuations of the hormones. Usually, the breasts start to hurt a week before menstruation and then disappear altogether as soon as period starts. Chasteberry reduces breast tenderness associated with fibrocystic breasts. The herb’s ability to reduce prolactin concentrations in the brain brings balance to the estrogen and progesterone in the body, providing noticeable relief from breast tenderness.

Regulates Ovulation

Too little progesterone or too much prolactin could cause irregular period. As such, a woman with imbalanced hormone may not ovulate regularly, making pregnancy near impossible.

Chasteberry regulates the hormones in the body, allowing regular ovulation to occur. High levels of prolactin in the body will lead to amenorrhea or the absence of menstrual cycle. By re-establishing regular menstrual cycle, you have a higher chance of conceiving a child.

Treats Menopausal Discomforts

The decline in hormone levels leading up to and after menopause causes hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mild depression, and abnormal sweating. Chasteberry brings balance to the hormones, controlling and even delaying the usual discomforts caused by menopause. You can take chasteberry alone to relieve these symptoms or mixed with other herbs such as black cohosh or dong Quai.

Prevents Hormonal Acne

Do you suffer from painful acne breakouts a week or two before getting your period? The abnormal shift in hormones causes many changes on your skin, including pronounced oiliness that leads to acne flare-ups.  Chasteberry helps keep the skin clear, smooth, and blemish free by restoring the balance of hormones in the body.