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Menopause health centre

Agnus castus

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Introduction

This information is for women who have menopausal symptoms. It tells you about Agnus castus, a treatment used for these symptoms. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

We don't know whether Agnus castus can help women with symptoms of the menopause. There isn't any good-quality research to tell us.

What is it?

Agnus castus is a herbal remedy. It comes from a tree called the chasteberry or chaste tree. The tree's Latin name is Vitex agnus castus.

You may also hear Agnus castus called:

  • Hemp tree

  • Monk's pepper

  • Vitex, or Chinese Vitex.

Some women use Agnus castus to help with premenstrual symptoms. It's also been tried as a treatment for symptoms of the menopause. You can get it as tablets, capsules, or liquid drops from some health food shops.

How can it help?

We don't know if Agnus castus can help. There hasn't been any good-quality research looking at whether it works for the symptoms of the menopause.

How does it work?

Agnus castus seems to affect the amount of some hormones in women's bodies. It's been used traditionally to treat conditions that are related to your hormones, such as premenstrual symptoms or breast pain. But we don't know if it can help with symptoms of the menopause.

Can it be harmful?

Agnus castus doesn't seem to cause many side effects. Occasionally, it can cause mild problems such as an upset stomach, dizziness, a headache, tiredness, or a dry mouth. [123]

You should always tell your doctor about any herbal remedies you're taking. There's a chance they could react with other treatments that your doctor may prescribe.

How good is the research on Agnus castus?

There haven't been any good-quality studies looking at whether Agnus castus can help women with symptoms of the menopause.

Glossary

hormones

Hormones are chemicals that are made in certain parts of the body. They travel through the bloodstream and have an effect on other parts of the body. For example, the female sex hormone oestrogen is made in a woman's ovaries. Oestrogen has many different effects on a woman's body. It makes the breasts grow at puberty and helps control periods. It is also needed to get pregnant.

For more terms related to Menopause

Citations

For references related to Menopause click here.
Last Updated: March 25, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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