Agnus castus – the ‘female herb’ explained

Is this herbal remedy the best option for all women?

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Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
Ask Emma

06 September 2017

Understanding your hormones

Understanding your hormones is key! Although many of us learnt this in school, it’s easily forgotten and misunderstood. 

So, the two main female sex hormones are called oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones take part in a delicate balancing act throughout the month in order to prepare the lining of your womb for potential impregnation, trigger ovulation and then prompt the arrival of your period. Both hormones have an important role and fluctuate throughout the month, however, if one becomes dominant relative to the other when it shouldn’t, we can suffer as a result. 

Still not up to speed on the monthly cycle? Read our blog for a step by step guide.

Oestrogen dominance

All women (even men actually) need oestrogen, but, in the wrong balance it is thought to give rise to a whole host of symptoms – and is even though to be responsible for many cases of PMS and the symptoms we associate with it. Think heavy, painful periods, often arriving more frequently than every 28 days (21-27 day cycles may need some Agnus attention), plus, not to mention the tender breasts, water retention, and erratic mood swings (more irritable or angry than sad) to go with them. 

If these symptoms sound familiar, then Agnus castus is quite likely to be the right remedy for you, so many women are on the right tracks. Agnus castus gently helps to support the hormone progesterone. I like to think of progesterone as oestrogen’s little minder. By supporting your progesterone levels you can help keep oestrogen in check and nicely in balance.

Progesterone dominance

Progesterone dominance, however, is a totally different type of hormone imbalance which is thought to be affecting more and more women in modern times – the use of progesterone-based methods of contraception may or may not, have something to do with this. Although we don’t advocate the use of hormone balancing herbs whilst on hormonal meds, when women eventually come off of them, this is often when hormonal imbalance becomes apparent and needs addressing.

Although we know that progesterone helps balance oestrogen, too much the other way and it can become overbearing and oestrogen doesn’t stand a chance to shine. Oestrogen is important for supporting everything from our mood to our skin, so too little oestrogen (ask any menopausal women) can leave us feeling low in mood, lacking in confidence, tired, it can affect our skin, and leave our periods few and far between. 

So, what’s the solution? Agnus castus? Well, no, and this is key. We already know that Agnus castus helps support progesterone, so we probably don’t need any more help on that front, what we want instead, is to support our oestrogen levels. This is where fermented soy isoflavones come in.

Now traditionally, fermented soy isoflavones have been used by women approaching the menopause. This makes perfect sense, as we know that oestrogen levels start to drop off around this time in our lives. 

However, we are now beginning to understand that younger women may need to support their oestrogen levels too. Fermented soy isoflavones may instead be the remedy to help gently support your oestrogen levels and bring some welcome relief from an undesirable set of symptoms. 


Agnus castus


£ 10.85

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A traditional herbal remedy used to relieve the symptoms of PMS
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A.Vogel Menopause Support tablets with Soy Isoflavones, Magnesium and Hibiscus for all stages of menopause

30 tablets

£ 7.75

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Menopause Support can be used to help you through all stages of the menopause.
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Here's what I recommend

As the A.Vogel Women's Health advisor, I recommend Agnus castus to help relieve symptoms such as menstrual cramps, breast tenderness and irritability.

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