Margaret B Artz

Summary

Vitex agnus-castus is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years in Europe for female reproductive system disorders, is well-tolerated, and has established efficacy in helping with some symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. The major active constituents of V. agnus-castus are iridoid glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, and essential oils. Its dominant pharmacological effect on the body is inhibition of prolactin secretion. V. agnus-castus is available in a variety of dosage forms and its use is gaining popularity in the United States. Although it has a low adverse-effect profile, women should avoid ingesting the herb while trying to become pregnant, during pregnancy, or while nursing.

Key Words: Chasteberry; flavonoids; flavones; essential fatty acids; female reproductive system disorders; estrogenic herbs.

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