AGNUS CASTUS – a cure for PMS, and why you won’t be able to get hold of it in Boots: An open letter to the European Medicines Agency

Dear European Medicines Agency,

Imagine, for a moment, a drug that could cure Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS/PMT), which has minimal reported side effects, and is easy and cheap to produce. What a wonderful drug that would be. A drug that could give a woman her life back after years of excruciating cramps, which even morphine was unable to control. Imagine what it would be like for that woman not to live in dread each month, and even get to the point where she forgets she is about to have a period. Imagine how much money could be saved because that woman no longer needs a hysterectomy and then years of HRT (with its increased risk of womb, ovarian and breast cancer). Imagine how many lives that drug would save if women did not have to have a general anaesthetic, nor the risk of post-operative infection.

Imagine how that woman feels to be in control of her life once more.  

If only a drug like that existed, instead of the current treatments on offer such as Prozac, with its increased risk of suicidal thoughts, or drugs like Danazol, which can deepen the voice and stimulate facial hair growth along with many other horrific side effects.  Or, taking oral contraceptives, which stop ovulation, and with it, the natural rise and fall of libido, while increasing the risk of blood clots, acne and fluid retention.

If only a herbal remedy existed with hundreds of years of safe usage, and clinical trials proving its effectiveness, like this one reported in the British medical Journal in 2001, and this one reported in the American Journal of science in 2012, and this one also conducted in 2012 at Hamedan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. And this list of studies on google scholar, citing highly significant results compared with placebos. If only there were a study that the EMA agreed met the criteria, something like this:

“There is one publication proving efficacy for the indication “Premenstrual syndrome” for an extract
specified as follows: Vitex agnus-castus L. dry extract (6-12:1), extraction solvent: 60% ethanol
(m/m) / 20 mg per day corresponding to 180 mg drug per day on average. This preparation fulfils the
requirements for WEU.” European Medicines Agency Assessment report on Agnus Castus.   

Just imagine…

What would you do EMA, if you had all this research, alongside hundreds of women’s anecdotal accounts and clinicians testimonials?

Would you force manufacturers to reduce the dosage per tablet from 20mg (the known effective level a cited in your own report) to 4mg per tablet? But not tell women that at this dosage, the drug will be ineffective?

That would be madness, wouldn’t it? Why would you render a drug, as clearly effective as Agnus Castus, ineffective, by restricting dosage, making the treatment unaffordable for thousands of women, even if they did know to take 5 TABLETS  A DAY(costing around £20 a week).

Who would this benefit? The women with PMT? The doctors who are treating these women, with the limited and often dangerous chemical or surgical solutions on offer?

No. A move such as this could only benefit the multi-million pound drugs industry, whom bring new drugs to the market with a short history of efficacy and lack of data on the long term side effects.

Restricting dosage on not just Agnus Castus, but a whole host of herbal treatments, such as St John’s Wort, is a conspiracy to keep the drug companies in huge profit and the public captive to their demands.

If you buy your tablets from Boots and take (the recommended) 4mg of Agnus Castus a day for PMS, it won’t work, your symptoms will not improve (your own report shows this to be the case).  For women who buy these tablets and find no relief, they will believe the drug is ineffective and return to their gynaecologist begging them to take out their ovaries and womb (a huge decision, with huge repercussions). And gynaecologists, despite knowing how effective Agnus Castus 20mg is, will be unable to tell you about it, because it is not listed in their prescribing manual.

Why?

Because there are no profits to be made on a drug that already exists, is not concocted in a lab. No concoction. No patent. No profit.

“The pharmaceutical industry is in crisis because companies are rewarded for developing new drugs that have few clinical advantages over existing ones, experts say. They pointed to independent reviews that found between 85 and 90 per cent of all new drugs developed over the past 50 years have provided few benefits and considerable harms.” Read more here.

Forgive me if I sound a little paranoid with my conspiracy theory, but what else am I supposed to think? Either you recommend the drug or you don’t. Recommending it, as your reports final conclusion does:

“Except for severe allergic reactions, there are no documented severe adverse events. Therefore the
use of the above mentioned extracts – in combination with an adequate labelling as included in the
monograph- can be supported.” EMA report on Agnus Castus.

but rendering it ineffective, by only allowing it to be sold in a dose too low to work, smacks of underhand tactics.

If you have an honourable reason, then I for one would love to hear it. In the meantime, I will continue to tell every doctor I meet and every women with PMS, how Agnus Castus gave me my life back, and I will unashamedly plug this Guernsey based company, that can sell you 20mg tablets, despite your mean and sinister directive.

Any woman reading this, who has PMS, check the evidence out for yourself. Be empowered! Take control of your body. For the most common type of PMS, I have yet to find a woman this has not transformed the life of. However, you must take 20mg (dried fruit extract) a day. 

Just think… no more mood swings, breast tenderness, irritable bowel, and no more pain so bad, you vomit and lose control of your bowels at the same time. No more lost days, lost months, lost sleep, lost life.

And my final message to the EMA – you should be ashamed of yourselves, condemning women to unnecessary medical interventions and possibly even death; very, very ashamed.

Yours ungratefully,

Juliet O’Callaghan – free of PMT for five years since taking Agnus Castus 20mg (dried fruit extract) once a day.

Anyone else found the EMA’s interference in herbal medicines has been detrimental to their health and pocket? Angus Castus: Has it worked for you to? Tell me your story. I would love to hear it.

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203 thoughts on “AGNUS CASTUS – a cure for PMS, and why you won’t be able to get hold of it in Boots: An open letter to the European Medicines Agency”

  1. Hi! I have read thru this thread but i need your help… I bought agnus castus from a swedish brand called “örtspecialisten”. One capsule has 400mg vitex agnus castus from dried seeds and it says on the bottle to take 2 capsules 2 times per day, so they recommend to take 1600mg per day… Is that to much? I am 21 years old if that matters.

    Thank you so much!
    Lovisa

  2. Which is the best to buy as their are so many angus castus and I don’t no which one to buy helpppp please

  3. Hi there , after battling with doctors for over a year now I have decided to wean myself off citalopram which was prescribed for Pmdd and try Agnus cactus.. I was sick of feeling tired and loosing the ability to concentrate. I also have been given starflower capsules has anyone else tried this ? I so hope it works . It’s effecting my whole life now and if I don’t get it under control I may loose my family ….. I m inspired by everyone’s success stories, I hope mine can be a happy ending too X

      1. Hi, after using Angus castus for 3 months taken every day, I can honestly say literally everything is a lot lighter. Pain, mood, flow the lot. Now it does not run my life any more. Good luck Janet.

      2. Ohhhhh my I cannot believe the effects of Agnus cactus . I have only took this for two weeks and I didn’t realise my period was due, well Mother Nature arrived , no evil moods, no back/oavary pain or depression , a little bloated but I can deal with that. I was at the point where my husband was at his wits with me and our happy marriage was not looking so good. I m so grateful for your forum I shall be telling everyone. Those antidepressants the docs are prescribing are no good they should prescribe AC, we are proof it works xx will keep you all updated xx

      3. Fantastic news Janet. Thank you so much for coming back to share and do tell everyone. I am planning on writing a blog post soon summarising research findings for both agnus castus and antidepressants. That way women can make informed choices.

  4. Hi Juliet, I came across your post as I am looking for help for my severe pmt. I am 38 and since a teenager had terrible monthly mood swings. Over the last few years it has been getting worse and worse. In fact im not sure if it common, but the only relief I get is the first 7 days after my period.?Then it starts again I’m tired all the time, moody, irritable, anxious, depressed, crave sweet things. Just generally feel rubbish then my period begins and I feel great and think did I imagine that? The fact that I’m getting it for nearly 2 / 3 weeks a month is just to much and I’m desperate to do try anything. I’m currently on quite high dosage antidepressants but they still not enough. So been looking into trying Angus castus. I know this is a old post so can you get the 20mg strength from the uk now? Thanks

    1. Hi Sally, sorry to hear you are suffering so much. You can get 20mg from Prime Health Direct and also A.Vogel produce a tincture that many women have found beneficial. I am sure there are other places that you can buy the whole herb from and if you scroll the comments of this post an other agnus castus related posts there maybe more suggestions. I do hope it brings you relief.

      1. Thanks for your quick reply, I’ve ordered some from prime health. Really hope it will help and give me the results like yourself and others. Will keep you updated.

    2. Hi, i can totally empathise with your symptoms and how the first 7 days or so are generally the best! I am 40yrs and have been having symptoms for about 3 years now that all the medical professionals cant explain. My gp wanted to put me on anti-depressants since my moods were up and down etc but i can honestly say that taking Agnus Castus has worked really well in levelling my moods and lowering my oestrogen levels. Obviously we are all different and you need to do what is right for you, but i really recommend you try it. It takes a while to work (usually several weeks) but dont give up!

      See my post further down as there is a link to a medical paper from the Royal College of Gynaecologists & Obstetricians (around page 12-13) where Agnus Castus has been shown to work in clinical studies for treating PMS and general moods etc. I hope you find some relief for your symptoms. Best wishes to you 🙂

  5. Hello, I’m like many other women here in that I’m struggling to get some Agnus Castus tablets that are of suitable and effective dosage. I took them briefly while trying to get pregnant with my son 3 years ago, and simply can’t live without them! (my cycles were anything from 30-80 days and anything in between).

    I apologise for my very long post in advance……. but want to give some background info about myself so other women can be informed about what benefits Agnus Castus can give and what symptoms i had that then lead me to take Agnus Castus now.

    After finishing breastfeeding my son, almost immediately i started having a lot of health problems (severe period pain like labour pains lasting for days, terrible mood swings, severe heavy bleeding, hot sweats, stomach pain, migraine headaches, nausea, severe breast & armpit pain, the list goes on and on…..).

    After seeing my gp, consultants, breast specialists, blood tests, urine tests, ultrasound scans etc, the professionals concluded that i had high oestrogen levels (even though no tests showed it up, my symptoms alone confirmed it and the hosp consultants confirmed it too after looking at months worth of charts & diary information i had kept tracking my symptoms). All the tests & scans came back normal.

    They all concluded that i should simply go on the ‘pill’ to correct everything. I didn’t want to go on the pill at the time as both myself and my sister have high oestrogen levels and i didn’t want to take anything with more oestrogen in due to a family history of ovarian/breast cancer.

    It is my understanding that there is a link between high oestrogen levels and breast/ovarian cancer and therefore i really didn’t want to increase my already high oestrogen amounts in my body.

    Despite informing medical professionals of this information, their answer was still to go on the ‘pill’, even though my gp recommended me take Agnus Castus, as it is recommended by the Royal College of Gynaecologists & Obstetricians for ‘managing PMS’. See link below to their recent paper published in Feb 2017, page 12-13, detail about how Agnus Castus has been found to help women (which we already know!), yet even they don’t detail a recommended dosage despite it helping women in clinical trials;

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/1471-0528.14260/asset/bjo14260.pdf?v=1&t=j8bje32h&s=5b75bab3ddbf6e7fee3367f3512fc038ade80274&systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+will+be+unavailable+on+Saturday+7th+Oct+from+03.00+EDT+%2F+08%3A00+BST+%2F+12%3A30+IST+%2F+15.00+SGT+to+08.00+EDT+%2F+13.00+BST+%2F+17%3A30+IST+%2F+20.00+SGT+and+Sunday+8th+Oct+from+03.00+EDT+%2F+08%3A00+BST+%2F+12%3A30+IST+%2F+15.00+SGT+to+06.00+EDT+%2F+11.00+BST+%2F+15%3A30+IST+%2F+18.00+SGT+for+essential+maintenance.+Apologies+for+the+inconvenience+caused+.

    It makes me really angry to read information in the pdf that suggests women with pms should be offered counselling and/or forms of pyschiatric support…….to suggest that these issues are all in womens ‘heads’….i find truly offensive and upsetting. I like many women out there, are not mad, just in need of some support for my hormones.

    My own gp although recommending Agnus Castus to me, had not even heard of it until i mentioned i was taking it already to manage my symptoms as they had got so bad. That was how she came to recommend it from reading the paper on managing pms.

    I would like to give hope to women out there who like me, had pretty much given up and accepted that i was just one of the unlucky ones or that the symptoms maybe weren’t as bad as i thought and i was over-reacting. I now take Agnus Castus every day and can honestly say that nearly all of my symptoms have gone. I still get some breast pain here and there and lower moods etc when it period time but 95% better than before.

    My severe bleeding, pain, headaches, hot flashes etc are a thing of the past. It makes me realise just how bad my symptoms were and that i suffered for so long (18mths), going back and forth to gp’s/hospital etc. Taking Agnus Castus has literally changed my life and allowed me to feel how i always imagined i should feel and not like a raging irritable woman in a lot of pain and discomfort.

    Thank you Juliet for this blog and for fighting for women like me who deserve to feel good every day! This is a wonderful resource on the internet and others can learn so much from it and our experiences. My thoughts are with every woman out there who is suffering, take this wonderful herb and you will be amazed at what it does for you.

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