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Vitex agnus-castus: what it is, what it is for and how to take it

Vitex agnus-castus is a medicinal plant known as agnocasto, rich in flavonoids, essential oils, diterpenes and glycosides, which have an action on the female hormones LH and FSH, and can be used to help the treatment of menstrual cycle irregularities, absence of menstruation, pre-menstrual pain, breast pain or overproduction of prolactin.

This plant can be found in the form of tea or supplements in herbal capsules or tablets, with the trade name Tenag, sold in pharmacies, drugstores, herbalists, handling pharmacies or in health food stores and should be used according to medical advice or of a herbalist.

What is it for

Vitex agnus-castus promotes the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and inhibits follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which leads to increased levels of progesterone, which is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating the menstrual cycle. In addition, the Vitex agnus-castus it also affects levels of prolactin, a hormone that is involved in stimulating breast development and milk production in women.

The main indications of this medicinal plant include:

  • Oligomenorrhea, which is characterized by very large intervals between periods;
  • Polimenorrhea, in which the period between menstruations is very short;
  • Amenorrhea, which is characterized by the absence of menstruation;
  • Premenstrual syndrome, which is characterized by changes in mood, anxiety or pain or tenderness in the breasts;
  • Overproduction of prolactin, which is characterized by reduced libido or infertility.

Some studies show that the Vitex agnus-castus, by helping to balance hormonal levels, can assist in the treatment of female infertility, especially when the woman has low levels of progesterone in the body, which can make pregnancy difficult.

Although it has many benefits, this medicinal plant should be used with guidance from the gynecologist.

How to use

The normally used part of the Vitex agnus-castus it is its fruit or seed from which its active substances are extracted and can be consumed in the form of herbal pills or capsules or tea.

The main ways to use this medicinal plant are:

  • 40 mg herbal pills: 1 tablet a day, on an empty stomach, before breakfast;
  • 300 mg capsules: 1 capsule a day, on an empty stomach, before breakfast;
  • Agnocasto tea: place 1 teaspoon of vitex fruit in 300 mL of water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain and drink up to 2 cups a day.

The duration of treatment with Vitex agnus-castus depends on medical advice and guidance.

Possible side effects

Vitex agnus-castus it is safe when consumed in the amounts recommended by the doctor and for a maximum period of 3 months. However, during treatment, when consumed very frequently, in excess of the recommended amount or for more than 3 months, side effects such as headache, allergic reactions, eczema, hives, acne, hair loss, itching, rashes may occur. skin, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and dry mouth.

Who should not use

Vitex agnus-castus it should not be used by children under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women, by women undergoing hormone replacement treatment or taking oral contraceptives or sex hormones and by people allergic to this plant.

In addition, the Vitex agnus castus it has lactose in its composition and, therefore, should be administered with caution in people with lactose intolerance.

It is important to use Vitex agnus-castus under the guidance of a doctor, herbalist or health professional with specific knowledge of medicinal plants.

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