Agnus castus – the Chaste Tree – exactly how does that help with PMS and its associated symptoms? To answer this, we need to look a little at what this ‘women’s herb’ actually does, and how the menstrual cycle works.
There are two main hormones which control the cycle, oestrogen and progesterone. During the first half of your cycle, your oestrogen levels rise, you ovulate and its levels start to fall. Progesterone levels start to rise during the second part of your cycle and this is when your PMS symptoms can start to make their effects felt if your levels aren’t sufficiently high – hello to mood swings, headaches, sore breasts etc.
So, how will Agnus castus help with this?
Well, it will balance the hormone levels as it helps to increase progesterone, thus thwarting the oestrogen dominance that’s contributing to the monthly PMS miseries experienced by so many of us ladies.
Fantastic, I hear you say, so a few drops of Agnus castus each month and PMS will be banished – it’s good, but it’s not that good. It needs to be taken every day of the month, and it can take up to 3 months to reach its full effect. However, if you think about it, that’s only 3 cycles and fortunately, the majority of women notice improvements within 1-2!
Agnus castus can be taken long term, however, once improvements are felt then there may no longer be the need to continue – you can always start to take it again should the improvements no longer be felt.
Remember that Agnus castus cannot be used alongside any other hormone-balancing products, such as the Pill or the Mirena coil, for example.
The reason for the contraindications is that contraceptives work by deliberately creating in imbalance in your hormones. Clever old Agnus castus will most likely rebalance them and in doing so, will prevent the medication from working.
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