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Agnus Castus

Chaste Tree / Vitex

The basic mechanism of action underlying agnus castus is its effect on enhancing corpus luteal development (thereby correcting a relative progesterone deficiency) via effects through the pituitary gland. Agnus castus has a profound effect on the hypothalamus and on pituitary function, helping normalise other hormones and reducing both prolactin and the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio.


200-600mg daily, standardised to contain 0.6 percent acubin. It is common practice for agnus castus to be taken as a single dose each morning (throughout the cycle) before food to assist with hormonal regulation. May be used long term within normal dosage range.

Potential applications

Conditions where unopposed estrogen plays a role, such as: fibroids, endometriosis, follicular ovarian cysts and some menopausal conditions. Also useful in conditions where raised prolactin (hyperprolactinaemia) levels are implicated i.e. breast cysts, fibrocystic breast disease, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Mastalgia (painful breasts) sufferers may also benefit.

Known contraindications

Agnus castus is preferably not to be taken in conjunction with progesterone drugs, the contraceptive pill or HRT. Chaste tree may aggravate pure spasmodic dysmenorrhoea not associated with PMS.


None known, but caution is suggested in those using dopamine receptor antagonists.

Use in conjunction with

Vitamin B6 and zinc have also been shown to help lower prolactin levels. EFA's, Ca/Mg/Zn, B complex, milk thistle, spirulina can offer benefits through assisting liver function, hormonal balance, and optimising fatty acid metabolism.

© Cheryl Thallon at Viridian

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