Agnus Castus: Tincture – another option?

I recently received an email from Alison Cullen a Nutritional Therapist who works for A.Vogel. She recommends the tincture as an effective way to achieve relief from PMT. I have often thought about trying tincture, but find the dosage (drops) unfathomable when compared to the standardised extract used in trials.

Alison has helpfully provided an explanation, which actually makes sense:

20 drops of A.Vogel Agnus castus tincture contains 54.2mg of dried fruit, or 542mg of extract (which is the fruit once it’s been macerated in a water/alcohol mix and extracted). So if you take a daily dose of 40 drops you get 108mg of dried fruit or 1,084mg of extract.

We make our own tinctures, so we can answer any queries as to the process, should they arise.

On the packaging of the licensed product (which hasn’t come out yet – licence came through last week), the SPC of which I attach, the strength is given as 895mg of extract in 33 drops, which is just a ratio of the figure for 20 or 40 drops. The MHRA make us put it this way because they require the strength to be equivalent to the amount in 1ml, and for our Agnus castus tincture this is 33 drops.

Now from my research, based on trials, 20mg or 200mg dried fruit is the dose that has found to be most effective, however, I also accept that the tincture may work differently from tablets (possibly absorbed more easily?) The reviews from the A.Vogel site do seem to endorse Alison’s claim that this dosage is effective, even though it is around 40% lower than the recommended.

More importantly, for the practitioners who use this product, myself included, and the women who take them, this is the dose that we find to work! I started using the A.Vogel range because of the tincture format, which is very easily absorbed, and now work with the company partly because I like their products so much and appreciate their methods and principles, but mostly because they work. The range was made by a practitioner, Alfred Vogel, so it is pretty practical.

I have always been uncomfortable with the fact that I can only recommend one supplier. So with the dosage explained the tincture is a viable alternative and may suit some women better. However, price-wise, the tincture is £9.15 for around one month of herb, whereas Prime Health tablets are £11.75 for six months.

I am not endorsing either product and I receive no perks or payment from either company, but I do want women who visit this blog to have options. So now we have at least two choices of where to buy and I am still planning on growing my own (once a house move is sorted).

Anyone else found a supply of Agnus Castus in the UK that works for them?

Do share and do please keep telling other women, doctors, consultants and anyone that will listen about Agnus Castus. As Alison points out the new restrictions imposed by legislation are already making some herbs unavailable and with it the knowledge of them.

I was reading about the difficulty of finding a suitable Agnus castus product on your blog, and your position is very much reflected by women who are contacting us currently, searching for a product they can take with some degree of confidence.

The problem has occurred previously with Black Cohosh, no worthwhile dose of which now exists on the market, sad to say.

The news for Agnus castus is slightly better, because it is part of the A.Vogel range and we have managed to avoid losing it (as we did Black Cohosh) and even get a licence, without having to compromise on the dose. We have the same dose on our (very newly) licensed product as we had previous to the licence, which is a relief, as it is a dose that I have found to work very well in my clinic.

How can it be progress when future generations of women will have no knowledge that the answer to their health lies in their hands and the natural world around them. That is why I am also urging Dr Nick Panay, Consultant Gynaecologist, to get a trial up and running on AC so that it can become a prescribable treatment for PMT. See this post and if you feel so compelled drop Dr Nick an email or letter in support of his attempts to obtain funding for a trial.

If we can get one herb on the recommended list for GP’s then it could open the floodgates for others. When I visit my doctor I want to be recommended the best treatment for me (be that a herb or a lab produced drug), rather than the best drug (in terms of profit) for the Pharmaceutical industry.

Help me. I can’t do this alone 🙂

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41 thoughts on “Agnus Castus: Tincture – another option?”

  1. Hi Juliet, update on the A Vogel tincture, it has worked for me, hooray!!! I first started taking the prime health tablets for 4 days, I then switched to the tincture 40 drops in a morning. I was told the tincture works faster. After 10 days I had been told by a few family members that I had been very calm& haven’t shouted at all, I realised they was right. My PMS Is severe & as I went into the perimenopause I got worse& my doctor said I had PMDD. I had the worst anger & mood swings ever, always had migraines but never suffered with cramps etc, for me it was the anger& out of control rages that was the worst symptom. Since taking it I have noticed I have become more emotional and I ovulated twice in my cycle and my period is over a week late. My periods are normally 28 days regular but on a few occasions in the last 2 yrs I have been 1-2 wks late which I have put down to stress or perimenopause. So not sure if ovulating twice, emotional& late period is the agnus castus or perimenopause. Either way it doesn’t really bother me as my PMS rages have gone & they was my main concern. I’m hoping this isn’t a first month fluke and the symptoms return next cycle. I am thinking about adding maca powder as well for my adreanal fatigue but don’t want to mess up the agnus castus success. Will keep you updated.
    Julie.x

    1. Dear Julie – Hooray indeed!!! I am so glad you are finding relief. Like you I was dubious about making any claims after only one month because placebo is a powerful effect, but hopefully you will come back in a few months time and still be in the good place you are now. It does seem A.Vogel’s tincture is a viable alternative. Brilliant news 🙂

      1. Hmmm, not had a great day today I have snapped& shouted a few times today but controlled it a bit more than usual. Normally I have no control whatsoever & totally lose it. Maybe the last 2 weeks has been the placebo effect or maybe because I ovulated twice & my period is nearly 2 weeks late(no not pregnant). I was going to take more than the Recommended dose of the tincture but chickened out. Think tommorow I will go back to the prime health tablets for a while. Will update how I get on.
        Julie.x

  2. Hi! Thank you for all the information ^_^ I’ve been using the A. Vogel tincture, 15 drops once a day and also Nature’s Aid Agnus Castus 100mg (equivalent to 1000mg AG), I bought this from Amazon – do you think it’s an effective/good brand? Thanks, Hankie x

  3. Hi in bed having a” talk to no one day” ( sometimes the easiest way to get thro this lol) researching cortisol ( making a lot of sense to me at the mo, have a read anxiety sufferers ) & contemplating going back on sertraline as cannot take much more of this see saw cycle im in ( I am 43 and probaly the healthiest I have ever been, eating well and less more often, taking supplements and walking 6 -8 miles up to 4 times a week ) all these things help but still I am a total nutty bitch every month) l came across this by accident & Why hav I never heard of this & after reading a lot of reviews on it actually working gonna hav to try this before going back to the doctors to see someone who never quite takes it that seriously 😦 so the question is which are one I have come across Pureclinica high potency claiming 1000mg a good one to take I would be a lot happier taking one dose
    I look forward to your reply

    1. Hi Dani, I agree it is certainly worth a try as for which one to get, unfortunately the way they describe dosage makes it all very confusing and difficult to compare. I take one tablet a day from Prime Health Direct (as it is the only one that makes sense in terms of dosage and published research). However if you read through the comments a number of other products have been recommended. Do come back and let us know how you get on.

  4. I used Agnus Castus years ago and found it to be very effective but the newer doses have done nothing for me and then I stumbled across your blog, which explains everything! I’ve now ordered from Prime Health Direct and feel much more positive about taking this dosage. Can’t wait for them to arrive. I still have some Holland and Barrett 4mg one’s – do you think it would be safe to take five of these a day to use them up? Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Claire, thanks so much for stopping by. One of the main aims of blogging about agnus castus is to ensure women are aware of the dosage restrictions, so I am really pleased it has helped you. Do let us know how you get on with the correct dosage. As for taking 5 day, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate.

  5. Well it must of been the placebo effect as the A Vogel tincture didn’t continue to work for me. Just over a month ago I switched back to prime health tablets, I take 2 a day. It’s taken the edge off but I’m still losing my temper & getting irrational etc. do you think a month is long enough to see results? I’m thinking the only option for me is HRT, I really feel my last option is to see John Studd in Harley St. But I know I will be given hormones& I would prefer a more natural approach. Has anyone used maca root alongside AC with success? Or anything else?
    Julie

    1. Hi Julie, definitely give the AC 3 months before looking for other options. Also look up Red Clover, recommended by Dr Nick Panay, there is a post about his guidelines to GP’s if you search the AC category on left hand menu.

  6. Hi Dr Panay, I really hope you have success in gaining funds for a trial. I have been taking Agnus Castus for about 6 months now and I have noticed a definite improvement in my cramping pain. I am allergic to NSAIDs and I haven’t reacted well to the pill either previously, so finding Agnus Castus has been rather a godsend.
    Previously my pain has been so bad that I have vomited, and/or passed out on several occasions. Since taking Agnus Castus every day, I now have less clotting and a lot less pain. It’s still a bit niggly on days 1 and 2, but I can cope with that now compared to what I was used to!! My periods are also a couple of days shorter now.
    I dread to think that other women are suffering needlessly because Agnus Castus has not received research funding yet. Many thanks for listening to my story, Karen.

    1. Hi Karen, your story sounds similar to mine. Really glad AC has brought you relief. Have you actually sent this message to Dr Nick? If not here is his email. He has not got back to me about a trial yet so this will certainly help. nickpanay@msn.com

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  7. I am really happy that this Vitex stuff worked for you because my experience was completely different. I tried it as a PMS remedy which I now deeply regret. Never has any drug given me such bad side effects like this stuff. I am disgusted that it can be sold OTC and is being propagated as having no side effects because it’s ‘herbal’. This is a case when something should be made Rx only, since it’s not normal when something ‘herbal’ and ‘natural’ and therefore ‘good’ gives you cystic acne and makes you gain weight.
    I urge everyone to think very carefully before trying this stuff.

    1. Hi there, Sounds like AC didn’t work so well for you, however side effects are low for this treatment certainly when compared to other prescribed treatments such as anti-depressants. I think the mistake many people make is to assume herbal remedies are completely safe. Herbs are the basis of many prescribed drugs such as aspirin, morphine, diamorphine etc and no drug is without side effects. There are many anecdotal reports that AC is effective in treating acne, although I am not sure if any clinical trials have been conducted, but equally there is some evidence it can also cause mild nausea and bloating in some women. I would urge any women to do her research before taking any drug and that includes herbal OTC remedies. I hope you do find something to relieve your PMT. This site is quite useful and also lists the herbs you may want to try instead.
      http://www.marilynglenville.com/womens-health-issues/pre-menstrual-syndrome/
      Do come back and let us know how you get on. The more information we share the more informed we will all be.

      1. Believe me, I have tried everything and know pretty much everything there is to know about PMS. Spironolactone cured my acne and it was a dogsend for that, it also eased the PMS a bit but it’s not something that should be taken in the long run and can lead to renal problems. I tried cabergoline, which also lowers prolactin just like the dear vitex, it worked a bit but not that great and made me fart a lot. I wish to point out that the farting was the only side effect of this Rx only medication. Vitex on the other hand gave me zits, made me depressed, made me gain weight and made me fart even more than the cabergoline ever did! And no, that’s not funny. EPO and other herbal concoctions are nonsense IMHO since I could’ve just taken sugar pills instead, I’m sure they would’ve at least tasted a tad nicer while having the same non-effect. I think I’ll just stick to Midol from now on.

  8. And another thing, this Glenville woman is not a doctor (PhD=not automatically medical doctor or even remotely clever.) Therefore, I’d rather choose not to listen to her. Just sayin’.

  9. Hi again, sourpatchkid. As someone about to start a doctorate myself in September (non-medical) I will bear in mind that only medical PhD’s mean your are actually clever or are worth listening to 😉 Whether you choose to listen to Dr Glenville is entirely up to you – all I am doing on this blog is connecting with women and sharing resources on AC. I will be posting the response I got from Dr Glenville about the product she recommends as a blog post soon and you can judge for yourself whether it is advice worth listening to. Take care.

  10. I said that having a PhD doesn’t make a person automatically clever, not that only a medical PhD is worth something. A person can hold a PhD in Japanese literature, but that doesn’t make them a doctor or necessarily clever. This woman uses her titles in order to obfuscate the fact she is not qualified to go around giving ‘medical’ advice. I have heard of all these herbal medications countless times and even tried out most of them and as I already pointed out, they were either useless or noxious in the case of vitex. I am really annoyed at how much misinformation is out there and how people are unscrupulously encouraged to swallow herbal remedies because they allegedly ’cause no side effects’ and are entirely ‘natchurul’. I am shocked that vitex can be sold in drugstores, health food stores and even supermarkets when it has the potential to cause such severe side effects!

  11. Hey sourpatchkid, You really are down on herbal remedies. You don’t work for Big pharma do you? 😉

    I don’t disagree that more trials need to be run, hence why I am enlisting the help of Dr Nick Panay to get one up and running in the UK, but evidence so far has found only mild side effects from AC. That doesn’t mean I am discounting the validity of your personal experience, but it is anecdotal and therefore, in research terms, not very reliable.

    I believe we have exhausted this conversation. I am sorry you have not found an answer for your health concerns. If you find research evidence about the ‘severe’ side effects please do come back and share it.

    Take care.

  12. Haha, of course, as soon as someone doesn’t agree with herbal medicine, they must be an Ebil Big Pharma™ shill. They couldn’t possibly just be a normal person, oh no! I suggest you look into Bionorica and how they are slowly invading the market in Eastern European countries incl. Russia where people still put medicine from ‘Western’ countries on a pedestal and will therefore obligingly buy anything that comes from Western Europe and the States, no matter whether it’s good or bad. Read through some German forums regarding the side effects of vitex, there are plenty of stories like mine next to the positive ones, therefore my experience is not just ‘anecdotal’ or even such an exception. Vitex is widely used in Germany and other German-speaking countries so they have more experience with it. Anything can be brushed off as merely anecdotal with this stuff because although there is some research, it’s always ‘inconclusive’ and ‘not fully understood’. I mean, they can’t even decide on the dosage! . Of course people should take vitex if it helps them, but it annoys me when ‘herbal’ is equalled with having no side effects because that’s just not true.

  13. Dear Julie, what a fantastic blog. I thought I was the only one who sang the praises of Agnus castus to all the women I know!
    I’ve been taking Agnus castus on and off since 2009 after I found out I had fibroids (subserosal and intramural). I had read somewhere that AC may help to shrink small fibroids. Unfortunately, mine were quite large (the largest 9cm at the time) so I knew it would take a lot to shrink them. However, I immediately saw an improvement in my pms symptoms and my cycle became regular for the first time in years.
    I have been using the A. Vogel tincture for the last few years as I had tried the tablets from H&B and found they were ineffective.
    I recently had a myomectomy to remove the fibroids and started using the tincture a week after my operation. My periods have come as predicted, not sure if it’s down to the AC, but had imagined they would take longer. I’m in Italy and was very pleased when my gynacologist agreed with me that AC was very effective.

    After reading your blog I would like to try the tablets from Prime Heath as they are much more cost effective. I was wondering if anyone else has moved over from the tincture?
    Thank you once again for the very informative blog.

    1. Hi Julie, I have the Prime Health ones to be very good, however I am currently trying a different product by the Natural Health Practice (which also contain milk thistle and black cohosh), which I will report on in a couple months time. So far so good.

      really glad you too have found AC to help with your PMT. I tell as many women as I can about it and I can see that you do to.

      Keep spreading the word!

    2. Hi, I started on the tincture& it worked for me for one month but not sure if it was a placebo effect. I’ve been taking prime health for 3 months but sadly they haven’t worked for me. I was taking 2 a day (40mg). I’ve just gone back to the tincture hoping it may work again. Tincture works quicker because its absorbed faster I believe. I take 20 drops twice a day which is the recommend dose but I think I may need more but I’m confused in the tincture dose not sure if I can take more than recommend. I will let you know if I have any success with the tincture this time.
      Julie

      1. It’s a shame that the tablets didn’t work for you as they are much more cost effective. I might try them along with the tincture for the first couple of months and then gradually reduce the tincture.

  14. Hi Juliet

    I’m a bit confused by the dosage for the A. Vogel agnus castus tincture. The packaging says 15-20 drops provides 500mg extract, 50mg dried berries. But in one of your articles, the one where you write to Marilyn Glenville, you say ‘you need around 20mg standardised extract, which is equivalent to (approximately) 200mg whole herb for it to be effective’. A. Vogel’s ratio between extract and whole herb is opposite to yours?! (I’m not complaining or criticising, just confused! I may have got it wrong). How many drops of tincture per day would you say you’d need to get 20mg standardised extract?

    I would really welcome your reply, as I’ve recently stopped taking agnus castus, hoping that it was something I’d not have to take indefinitely, but my symptoms have returned. I used to take Holland and Barrett’s 400mg (dried fruit) capsules but obviously can’t get them anymore!

    Many thanks for your informative and helpful website.

    Kirsty

    1. Hi Kirsty, based on the blog post is seems 40 drops is equivalent to around 108mg (so in theory you would need 80 drops to get 200mg or 20mg standardised extract). However, many women have find the 40 drops to be effective – based on the reviews under the product. Hope that helps. Do come back and tell us how you get on.

      1. Thanks for your quick reply. I’m still confused! If 20 drops gives you 500mg of extract surely you’d need way less than 20 drops to get 20mg?!
        I’m also looking into Nature’s Aid Agnus Castus on amazon,co,uk, which is 100mg berry extract equivalent to 1000mg dried berries per tablet. How many of those tablets would you need per day to get 20mg standardised extract?

      2. Hi Kirsty, I am not sure I can answer your questions. The dosage for AC is very confusing and not many suppliers use the standardised extract 20mg as an equivalent. Trial and error seems to be the only way. I can recommend Prime Health Direct (although they maybe out of stock) and I have recently been taking Agnus Support from the Natural Health Practice. So far my PMT symptoms have not returned, but I have only been taking them for six weeks.

  15. Hi Julie,

    I have been reading your blog and found it very informative and honest. I would like to share my own experience. I started taking agnus castus (Nature’s aid) in 2011 at age 37 as a last resort for my severe, incapacitating PMS, made a hundred times worse by the Mirena coil. The relief was almost immediate and, for over a year, I was the happiest I had ever been. I must add that, in my case, there were no side effect whatsoever. I then fell pregnant and had to stop taking it, which wasn’t so bad as the pregnancy hormones kept me pretty perky for the whole pregnancy and for a couple of months afterwards. I was lulled into the illusion that my PMS was over for ever. But as soon as I got my periods back….it was a different story altogether, as my PMS came back with a vengeance. I started agnus castus again last November hoping that it would work again, but sadly, this time around, after a very mild, initial improvement, it didn’t. I am at a loss because when I first took it, the improvement had been so amazing and now…nothing! I am still on Nature’s aid and my feeling (and hope!) is that the dosage on them has been reduced significantly…has anyone else noticed a decrease of effectiveness in the Nature’s aid tablets? Any feedback welcome! I have now ordered Prime Health but I would be very interested to know how you are getting on with the Natural Health Practice ‘mix’ Julie?

    1. Mirena coil was a nightmare for me too! Unfortunately Nature’s Aid is likely to have reduced dosage in line with EU regs (hence its lack of effect). Prime Health Direct have always worked well for me. Natural Health Practice have also been great and they are the ones I am on now. My latest blog post covers both of these products. Let us know how you get on and thanks for sharing your story.

  16. Thank you Juliet! And sorry for misspelling your name ( I am on the wrong part of the month ;-)). I might give NHP a go as I am having peri-menopausal symptoms as well and so many people swear by black cohosh. Is the AC dosage the same as Prime Health though?

    1. yes it is, but it is expressed as whole herb rather than standardised extract – there are also marketing it as a food supplement (hence why they don’t need license as it is not a medicine). I have found them to work really well. I am on my period right now and have not needed any painkillers 🙂

    2. I tried the NHP and ended up with awful stomach upset after about a week, not sure what didn’t agree with me as there are 4 herbs and b vitamin in them, so just to make you aware. I’ve switched to A Vogel tincture now and fingers crossed it will do the trick, took Agnus castus for 10 years up to now so I don’t think it was that that caused the problem, hope they work for you though as they were very calming.

      1. Hi Sarah, I sometimes have an upset tummy, Put it down to PMT and stress. I hadn’t thought it might be connected. I am switching to the Prime Health Direct ones for the next few months and will see if that makes a difference as they only contain AC. Thanks for sharing and hope the tincture works better for you.

  17. I just wanted to add a comment about vogel agnus castus drops. I started on them almost a year ago and found them life changing, within 2 weeks. I’ve been cutting down the antidepressants my doctor described for pms. Unfortunately the drops recently seemed to stop working, and yes it ties in with when they were hard to get and now have the THR code, which I hadn’t noticed. All the mental symptoms returned but also last month the cramps I got were EXCRUCIATING for hours, never felt anything like it. I almost called an ambulance, but how could you explain that! So now 20 drops 2x a day doesnt work for me. 80 drops a day is a bit ridiculous cost wise, so I’ve ordered some of the tablets you list. And hope to get relief again.
    P. S. When I told my Doctor I was cutting down on prescribed tablets and using this herb, he looked at me like I was mad. He’d never even heard of it.

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