Treatment of the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: Prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study

Institute for Health Care and Science, 35625 Hüttenberg, Germany.
BMJ Clinical Research (Impact Factor: 14.09). 01/2001; 322(7279):134-7. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.322.7279.134
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To compare the efficacy and tolerability of agnus castus fruit (Vitex agnus castus L extract Ze 440) with placebo for women with the premenstrual syndrome.
Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel group comparison over three menstrual cycles.
General medicine community clinics. Participants: 178 women were screened and 170 were evaluated (active 86; placebo 84). Mean age was 36 years, mean cycle length was 28 days, mean duration of menses was 4.5 days.
Agnus castus (dry extract tablets) one tablet daily or matching placebo, given for three consecutive cycles.
Main efficacy variable: change from baseline to end point (end of third cycle) in women's self assessment of irritability, mood alteration, anger, headache, breast fullness, and other menstrual symptoms including bloating. Secondary efficacy variables: changes in clinical global impression (severity of condition, global improvement, and risk or benefit) and responder rate (50% reduction in symptoms).
Improvement in the main variable was greater in the active group compared with placebo group (P<0.001). Analysis of the secondary variables showed significant (P<0.001) superiority of active treatment in each of the three global impression items. Responder rates were 52% and 24% for active and placebo, respectively. Seven women reported mild adverse events (four active; three placebo), none of which caused discontinuation of treatment.
Dry extract of agnus castus fruit is an effective and well tolerated treatment for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome.

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Available from: Ruediger Schellenberg, Jan 13, 2014
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    • "In the last decades, several successful clinical trials supported the use of VAC extracts for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (Schellenberg, 2001), as the likely result of its opiate activity (Webster et al., 2006). Hirobe et al. (1994) have also reported that the extract of VAC fruits, ripened in Israel, exerts an antitumor effect on the Chinese hamster lung carcinoma cells line V-79. "
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    ABSTRACT: The primary objective of this study was to valorized Vitex agnus-castus residues in terms of phenolic compounds. The effects of extraction time (30–360 min), solid to liquid ratio (0.1–0.3 gDryBiomass/mlSolvent), type of solvent and different tissue types (leave, roots and seeds) on total polyphenols, o-diphenols, total flavonoids and anthocyanins were evaluated. The highest total polyphenol (31.5 mgCaffeicAcidEquivalent/gDryBiomass) and o-diphenol (12.4 mgCaffeicAcidEquivalent/gDryBiomass) contents were obtained from methanolic extract of leaves after 180 min using a solid/liquid ratio of 0.1 gDryBiomass/mlSolvent, while total flavonoids, reached a maximum value of 19.4 mgCatechinEquivalent/gDryBiomass after 360 min under the same conditions. Roots of V. agnus-castus were found to be a good source of anthocyanins with the highest yield of 0.62 mgMalvidinEquivalent/gDryBiomass using ethanol as a solvent (180 min and 0.2 gDryBiomass/mlSolvent). The maximum antiradical power (178.5 μlextract/μgDPPH) was exhibited by the methanolic leave extract obtained after 360 min at solid/liquid ratio of 0.3 gDryBiomass/mlSolvent.
    Food and Bioproducts Processing 10/2012; 90(4):748–754. DOI:10.1016/j.fbp.2012.01.003 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    • "A study was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of Agnus castus for treatment of premenstrual syndrome. It was observed that dry extract of Agnus castus fruit is an effective and well tolerated treatment for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome (Schellenberg, 2001). Calcium supplementation is a simple and effective treatment in premenstrual syndrome, resulting in a major reduction in overall luteal phase symptoms (Thys et al., 1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by a spectrum of physical and mood symptoms, which appear during the week before menstruation and usually resolve within a week after the onset of menses. Most women in their reproductive years experience some premenstrual symptoms. In some women, the symptoms can badly affect quality of life before periods. The treatment of PMS is a changing area as research continues to clarify which treatments actually work and to try to find better treatments. The main objective of the present article is to review the potential treatment for premenstrual disorders. Various treatments have been advocated for PMS. Treatment strategies include either eliminating the hormonal cycle associated with ovulation or treating the symptom(s) causing the most distress to the patient. Herbal drugs are effective and well tolerated treatment for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome.
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    • "The described effects of VAC consumption are primarily beneficial for fecundity in women [Girman et al., 2002; Milewicz et al., 1993; Schellenberg, 2001; Tesch, 2001; Wuttke et al., 2003]. This contrasts with Fig. 2. Urinary hormone measurements of chimpanzees during the Vitex season (17 February 02–26 March 02) compared with the 6 months before and 6 months after. "
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    ABSTRACT: Chimpanzees in Gombe National Park consume fruits of Vitex fischeri during a short annual fruiting season. This fruit species is a member of a genus widely studied for phytoestrogen composition and varied physiological effects. One particularly well-studied species, V. agnus-castus, is noted for its documented effects on female reproductive function, evidenced in increased progesterone levels and consequent regulation of luteal function. We examined reproductive hormone levels in both male and female chimpanzees during a 6-week period of intense V. fischeri consumption. V. fischeri consumption was associated with an abrupt and dramatic increase in urinary progesterone levels of female chimpanzees to levels far exceeding the normal range of variation. Female estrogen levels were not significantly impacted, nor were male testosterone levels. These are some of the first data indicating that phytochemicals in the natural diet of a primate can have significant impacts on the endocrine system, though the fluctuating nature of chimpanzee diet and reproductive function does not allow us to determine whether the effects observed during this short period had a broader positive or negative impact on female fertility. Given the widespread use of various Vitex species by African primates and the as-yet-undescribed phytochemical properties of these species, we predict that our observations may be indicative of a broader phenomenon.
    American Journal of Primatology 11/2008; 70(11):1064-71. DOI:10.1002/ajp.20600 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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