Agnus-castus also known as Chasteberry, is popular herb that grows in the Mediterranean countries, where the chaste tree grows in nature. It is very popular with women trying to get pregnant. But can agnus castus be used for fertility? How does it actually work?
Agnus castus acts by balancing the fertility related hormones thus shifting the ratio of estrogen to progesterone, though it does not contain any hormones itself but just helps the body increase its ability to produce more hormones. Agnus castus is also helpful for reducing high prolactin secretion which is commonly associated with lack of ovulation.
One of the great aspects of using this herb is that it corrects the most common hormonal problem with women which is insufficient progesterone during the luteal phase. This is because it is shortened in the second half of the cycle. This period where the egg needs to be released, thus the hormone helps fertility at the vital time in a woman’s menstrual cycle. As well as restore hormones, it can be used to achieve the following:
- Helps with scanty periods
- This herb has also been used to increase stimulation of breast milk production
- Regulates periods
- Reduces the symptoms of PMT/PMS (water weight, bloating, irritability, fatigue, cramps and headaches.
- Reduces acne associated with menstrual cycle.
- Assists with heavy bleeding
- Helps with periods that are painful
- Helps resolve PCOS
- Balances the ratio of progesterone and estrogen by balancing excess estrogen.
- It can be a good overall woman’s tonic especially combined with sage.
How to take Agnus Castus (Vitex/chasteberry)
The easiest and most effective way to take agnus castus is in tincture form. This is because when herbs are in liquid form the herbs are easily dissolved. They are therefore absorbed faster so their action is quicker. When the herbs are in dry form either as tablets or capsules, they have to be digested first. This may be a problem as our ability to absorb and therefore benefit from the herbs is as good as our digestive system. You should consult your herbalist or health care professional skilled in the use of herbs for advice.
It is safe to take agnus castus throughout your whole cycle until you fall pregnant. Some women choose to take it either in the first half or second half of their cycle thinking that this will be more effective. However this does not allow sufficient time for the herb to build up in your body and address the cause of the infertility. So many women give up too soon thinking that the herb is not working for them but it said that it should be used for three to six months.
The key to becoming fertile is not just taking a herb to address some symptoms of infertility but to address the body as a whole using lifestyle changes, diet, breathing techniques, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, in addition to any herb. That is why I recommend the pregnancy miracle book for a more holistic approach to dealing with infertility.