Agnus Castus: News about dosage and where to get 20mg tablets

agnus castus flowerFirst off, the good news. I spoke to Peter from Prime Health Direct this week as a number of women had ordered the 20mg tablets (including me) but not received the order. He apologised for the delay and then explained they had sold out (I think this blog might have something to do with that), but he assured me the new stock was almost ready (bar the packaging) and he would be fulfilling the back orders next week. HURRAY!!

Secondly, I finally received a reply from Holland Barrett, explaining their new dosage and why despite a reduction in amount of herb per tablet the price remained the same (posted in full below). Make of it what you will – however, the assertion that they never sold it a higher dosage is clearly nonsense as illustrated by this comment I received today.

“Thank you for this info. I was taking old stock high strength Agnus Castus capsules (1 per day) from Holland and Barrett about a year ago and felt my PMS improve, but then I couldn’t buy them anymore. I struggled to take 4 capsules a day with their new stock and felt rubbish only taking 2, and now I know why!” EM

Dear Juliet,
Thank you for your enquiry relating to your concerns over the new THR licensed H&B Agnus Castus product. I am sorry for the length of time it has taken to obtain answers to your questions and am grateful for your patience.

Some agnus castus product used in research studies have used a 20mg strength agnus castus formulation. The new THR licensed H&B Agnus Castus product will provide a 3.9mg strength agnus catsus extract. This is a highly concentrated extract which in fact equates to 24.4 – 31.2mg of agnus castus fruit and so will be in line with the amount of agnus castus used in research studies and the level based on traditional use.

In regards to issues of a comparison to a product that we used to sell that contained a 20mg strength extract I am unsure which product are referring to. Holland and Barrett have never sold a 20mg strength agnus catus extract and the current Good and Natural products contain agnus castus in a standard strength whole herb form and not an extract. Any price comparison is therefore dubious coupled with the fact the new THR licensed H&B Agnus Castus product has not been released for sale yet and will not be so until July this year. If making a price comparison between the current Good and Natural product (which provides agnus castus in a standard strength, whole herb form and not in an extract form) and the new THR licensed H&B Agnus Castus product, the new product will indeed be more expensive. This is due to increased manufacturing costs and quality testing for the new THR licensed products and also due to the cost associated with gaining a THR license for a herb.

Finally, the new product will have the following information stated on the packaging in regards to the indication for the product as follows:-

…to help relieve symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome such as irritability, mood swings, breast tenderness, bloating and menstrual cramps. This is based on traditional use only.

The dose used is consistent with traditional use and would be therefore be expected to provide good benefits for many customers. This effect would be comparable to the Good and Natural product which contains agnus castus in different form to the new H&B product, i.e. in a standard strength, whole herb form rather than in an extract and so there would not be expected to a significant change in the management of symptoms. This is a key difference which must be accounted for when comparing the two products.

Please do not hesitate to contact me again if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,

Alexander Thompson, BSc (Hons)

Customer Services Team
NBTY Europe
The home of Holland & Barrett, GNC, Nature’s Way and De Tuinen.

49 thoughts on “Agnus Castus: News about dosage and where to get 20mg tablets”

  1. Dear Juliet, thak you so much for the info!
    Do you know how many serving one agnus castus bottle from prime health bring? I cant figure it out from the picture and as english is not my first language i cant tell if the 180s means 180 servings? Thank you!

  2. Hi Juliet

    I have been reading articles on your website regarding Agnus Castus which I have found very interesting, as I was beginning to suspect something was up, as I have had problems purchasing it from Holland and Barrett. The few they had left on the shelves were on offer, but expire Feb 2014 which didn’t leave long to use these! I am on my last couple of weeks supply, which I purchased from Holland and Barrett last year (400mg 2 capsules twice daily) which expire Feb 2014, but have ordered some from Prime Health Direct 20MG as recommended. My question is are the H & B ones I am currently using from the old batch or the new THR ones? Also are the one’s I have ordered from Prime Health the better ones with more of the herb in each tablet 20mg than the ones I am currently using which are 400MG?

    I also take ‘Magnesium OK’ which contains all the vitamins required during monthlys to help balance out the hormones, Will all these be effected by THR or is it just the herbal ones and if so, can you recommend any thing similar to Magnesium OK which works in the same way and that I can purchase from Prime Health Direct in the future?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards


    1. Hi Conney,

      I will try to answer your questions and hopefully others will respond too. If the H&B ones are old stock and don’t carry the THR logo then you should be fine following their recommended dosage. Any new stock will be restricted to 4mg per tablet.

      The dosage on different brands are not comparable, I think it something to do with whole herb and whole fruit. Many of the claims relate to whole fruit, but you need 200mg-240mg of whole herb, which equates to the 20mg standardised extract at 10:1. The PHD ones I have been taking for a couple of years and one a day work fine for me.

      As for magnesium OK any active herbal ingredients would be restricted, but to understand what this means you would have to look up the community monograph (European Medicine Agency have published these online) for each active component. I only take AC so I am unable to suggest an alternative.

      Hope that is of some help.


  3. Hi Juliet,

    This is a very interesting blog as I’m very new to the wonders of Agnus Castus.
    I bought the H&B 400mg capsules for the first time in January 2014 and was taking 2 caps twice daily. I then bought the new THR one’s not realising the dosage change until I got home. I started taking the new dosage of one 4mg per day (thinking the experts must know best, pah!) and then noticed my PMT symptoms creeping back.

    So now I’m wondering if you think it would be ok to increase the dosage of the 4mg ones based on H&B’s statement that they are a “highly concentrated extract”?

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


    1. Hi Elaine,

      highly concentrated twaddle is what it is. If you read the EMA monograph it is quite clear that H&B have reduced the dosage considerably in order to comply with THR – what annoys me most is their lack of honesty with the customer, pretending the tablets are the same. Unfortunately if you want the same effect you will have to take at least 4, more likely 5 tablets to reach the levels of AC you were at.

      I have been getting 20mg tablets from Prime Health Direct, but not sure if they have any in stock at the moment.

      So glad you have found AC to be effective and hope you sort the dosage out.

    1. it might be old stock, but the important thing is the whole plant constituent. This looks like a high dose, but on reading the ingredients it uses berry and not whole fruit therefore I am not sure how well it will work or how much you need. I have some in my cupboard (emergency supply) in case I can’t get the tablets from Prime Health, but it would be a case of trial and error to get the right dose I think.

      1. Hi I’ve just discovered the dropped dose at H&B too. I ended up buying the same ones as Lisa. H&B new ones are only fruit as are Nature’s Aid but NA don’t have the THR badge, they have a Gold badge which says GMP3336 and says they are pharmaceutical standard (is that good?). The tabs are equivalent to 6mg of Aucubins so I’m guessing I need to take around 3??

    1. As someone who is approaching it, no, but I plan to keep taking the AC. I will have to do some research on it and will do a blog post soonish. Anyone else reading this got more to offer Valerie?

      1. I have been taking the ‘old’ holland and barrett dosage ( 4x 400mg) for the last 15 months, and have found it amazing. This weekend I went for supplies, and was only able to get the ‘new’ dose, and researching that, I found your blog. An interesting thing happened to me, which is why i know this supplement works. I came across it mentioned in regard to being helpful with hot flush type symptoms, and particularly the ‘ crawly’ skin sensation that I was bothered with. The information stated that it requires a build up time, and that some women do not experience any improvement for a period of 3 months . 4 days into taking it, and my joint pain disappeared completely. I had been suffering from pretty widespread moveable joint pain( different joints every day) for the previous 6 months, and I had never heard that joint pain can be estrogen linked. On researching this, I discovered that many women suffer joint pain and don’t realise its a menopause symptom. I would also comment that i felt my mood ‘evened’ out somewhat and it did also help with the flushes and other skin symptoms. This herb definitely has an impact and I would really recommend t to anyone with my symptoms.

        My question/concern is really around this amended dose- am I reading it correctly? Are the new tablets at 3.9 mg per day against 400mg x 4 per day- that is only a fraction of the dosage, or is it a different form of the herb? Thanks Valerie

      2. Thanks for that info. I love how everyone who comes here is so willing to share. As for dosage. 3.9mg is what the THR restricts tablets to. They used to be 20mg (which is equivalent to 200mg whole plant). I think the 400mg relates to whole fruit and therefore is not comparable to the standardised dosage – but I still find it very confusing.

  4. You’re right Valerie, it is a fraction of the old dosage. I am approaching menopause and have the new dosage AC. I started with one 4mg tablet and realised it just wasn’t enough to help with my symptoms so upped the dose to two 4mg (one in the morning and one at night). The last few weeks have been just awful and I’ve been a nightmare to live with so this morning I’ve taken two 4mg and I plan to take another two tonight. My only concern is that the new tablets make me really dizzy. I didn’t have any problems with the 20mg ones.

  5. I have been trying to research this, and came across the following:

    “Vitex agnus-castus supplements are based on the dry weight of the plant’s fruit. The standard dose is between 150-250mg. There are also two extractions of Vitex agnus-castus:
    BNO 1095 is a 10:1 extraction and provides benefits at doses as low as 4 mg.
    Ze 110 is a 6-12:1 extraction and provides benefits at doses of 20mg”

    I was wondering if anyone has any information about the extraction ratio?

    Elaine, sorry to hear you are not feeling good. One thing that may help is that I also read that since Agnus Castus acts on the pituitary , and pituitary function is highest in the morning, it may be more effective to try 2 in the morning before you go higher- especially if you are feeling dizzy, Good luck.

  6. I have ordered agnus castus from Prime Health Direct, they have taken money but have yet to deliver the pills. I am getting concerned as I have yet to hear from them, despite calling several times and leaving voice messages. Has anyone else had this experience?

    1. Healthspan tablets are only 4mg as they have THR logo. It means you will have to take 5 a day to get the right dosage (based on trials). I buy mine from Prime Health Direct or Natural Health Practice as they have the correct dosage and you only need one capsule/tablet a day.

  7. Is there a age limit to how old you have to be to take it. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t be under 30 to take it. I’m 19, I be 20 in May.

    1. Hi Michelle, new guidance stipulates 18 and over, but prior to the new regulations in 2011 it was recommended for over 14’s. At 19 you should be fine – my daughter takes it to help with her regulating her cycle and has found it effective. Do come back and let us know how you get on.

  8. Hi Juliet, I’ve been researching herbal remedies for my PMS which has become much worse over the last year, leaving me teary, anxious, grumpy and finding it difficult to sleep in the week before my period – it’s like clockwork every month! I’m really excited about trying agnus castus and have just ordered 180 x 20mg from Prime Health Direct. I wondered if it’s OK to start taking them mid cycle or best to wait until period starts?

  9. Hi,

    I’ve been taking Nature’s Aid 100mg (equivalent to 1000mg dried berries) for years now and suffer with extremely heavy painful periods and nausea/gastric problems during my period if I’m daft enough to run out – not to mention PMT from hell!

    It seems that Nature’s Aid have just changed their formula and rebranded their Agnus Castus as PremEeze, and and as they’ve changed the wording in the ingredients list I don’t understand how the new ones compare – but something tells me they’re not going to be such good value as before! Am awaiting their response to my query about this.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d share with readers here that the 100mg (1000mg dried berries) dose has been very effective for me over the years. There are cheap alternatives of these on AmazonUK including Lindens and Synvit that seem to have identical ingredients to the old Nature’s Aid formula so I’ll try these for a couple of months and let you know how they work out.

    Interesting blog by the way – thanks 🙂

  10. Nature’s Aid have got back to me and explained that their new ‘PremEeze’ Agnus Castus are in line with current licensing laws – so won’t be buying Nature’s Aid any more!

  11. I won’t profess to fully understand this, but there’s some background plus clinical information and dosing that might be useful for some people with a more scientific background than me. Also it talks about standardized preparations and I wonder if that could be one of the reasons for some variability in results, even for the same person on the same brand at different times.

    Click to access vitex.pdf

  12. I’ve just found this blog however my order of Nature’s Aid Premeze – 400mg is on it’s way today. Wondering how many I need to take for them to be effective (20mg)? Their dosage is 2 tablets per day. Please help anyone. Thanks for posting!

    1. Hi,

      this strength would be useless at 2 a day like all the other Agnus Castus caps that conform to the new licencing laws.

      Five a day may do something but I wouldn’t hold my breath as I didn’t even find that dose effective. The old Natures Aid’s standardised 1000mg tabs worked brilliantly as two per day but besides being weaker I think these new capsules use a different part of the plant that just isn’t as effective.

      Am thinking of trying A Vogels tincture at double the recommended dose next to see if that’s any better. Don’t seem to be getting on with the Prime Health Direct pills unfortunately.

      1. Hi Juliet, I have just ordered from Prime Health after reading your blog… I have suffered horrific periods my entire life, but over the past three years my PMT is ruining my life! You name it… I`ve tried it… my GP offered the pill. ( I am 43 with no children) To prescribe the pill at my age is ridiculous! My poor husband walks on eggshells every month… My hormonal acne is a nightmare! I have spent a small fortune trying to rectify the issue; I am very healthy, don’t smoke and have the occasional glass of wine. It seems so unfair that two weeks of every month I feel like a complete train wreck?! I totally agree that women are expected to suffer while being made to feel like a drama queen when visiting a doctor/ or prescribed AD’s… I will keep you posted on how my symptoms react with AC…thanks so much for the info… Dottie xx

      2. Hi there. I was wondering how you got on with the A Vogel tincture. Im getting so confused about what company I should opt to try.

      3. Hi Ricci, I haven’t used the tincture but other women have and do say it works well. The company have also happily answered questions about dosage when others have asked. Let me know how you get on.

  13. I’m so glad to read your blog. Both times I have tried for a baby I used Angus castus to get my cycles back and it worked a treat I used the old Angus castus from Holland and Barrett. We decided to try for another baby so I went to buy some Angus castus from Holland and Barrett to find it was different. Been taking it 2 months and zero anything then I tried Angus castus on amazon, lindens and zero! Now I know why the dose!!!! I’ve ordered the ones suggested on here and I hope they work! So frustrating

    1. how do you find the natural health practice agnus castus? is that an effective tablet? Does anyone take the other supplements recommended for pms on the natural health practice website?

  14. Hi juliet
    I have read your blog, it is very informative.i am taking AC 1000mg by lindens from amazone but i did not get any result. I had fertlility tratment(ivf) after that i have problem with my monthly cycle. I have only spoting for 2 days,
    After reading this blog i am going to order AC from prime health.I hope it will help.please can you help me can i take 20mg 2 tablet per day?and i want to try for baby.

      1. Hi Juillet
        Thank you so much for your reply. I have read lots of females review about Fertile XX for pregnancy. Pleas can you help me how much vitex….
        Can i take separate vitex from Prime health direct 20mg daily?and you can suggest me any thing else…..

  15. So glad this thread hasn’t closed, I am still telling my female friends about the wonders of Agnus Castus that I never would have known if it hadn’t been for your blog. Even told my GP…people need to know! Anyway, I’ve been taking the Prime Health 20mg for over a year now and they do work. Thanks so much for writing this blog and continuing to respond to people’s queries, am so grateful to you Julie, you’re a star.

  16. Ze 110 6-12:1. Agni casti fructus extractum siccum (6-12: 1) 20 mg of the original extract. will it do any good? I’ve tried it beforehand and it didn’t work but I want to give it one more try and maybe up the dose.

Love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s