Agni castus fructus

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 20.07.2021

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Synonym(s)

Agni casti fructus; fructus agni casti; Keuschlamfruits; Monk's pepper fruits

Definition
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Agnus castus belongs to the labiates family, the 3-5 m high tree-like shrub grows in the Mediterranean region and southwest Asia.

Agnus-castus literally means agnus = lamb and castus = chaste).

Formerly also used as an anti-aphrodisiac by monks in monasteries to control carnal desire.



Commission E: for menstrual anomalies (irregular menstruation), premenstrual complaints and mastodynia (aching breasts).

HMPC- Monograph: Well-established use as dry extracts (DEV 6-12:1, extractant ethanol 60 %): premenstrual syndrome.

Traditional-use as powdered drug, tincture or other dry extracts: mild premenstrual symptoms.

ESCOP monograph: premenstrual syndrome, tightness and pain in breasts; menstrual disorders, too frequent/too few or absent periods.

Commission E mon ograph: menstrual disorders, premenstrual complaints and mastodynia.

Spectrum of action
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Ingredients of Frcutus agni casti: bicyclic diterpenes (e.g. rotundifuran), iridoid glycosides (agnuside, aucubin), lipophilic flavonols, hydrophilic flavones e.g. casticin (see below flavonoids), triglycerides, essential oils (with cineol and pinenes), sesquiterpenes.

Effects: Reduction of basal and stimulated prolactin secretion in cell cultures, dose-dependent antagonisation of haloperidol, binding to the D2-dopamine receptors of lactotropic cells, inhibition of prolactin secretion

Indication
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hyperprolactinaemia (E22.1.), premenstrual syndrome (N94.3), mastodynia (N64.5)

Undesirable effects
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allergic reactions with angioedema and urtiacardial exanthema, headache, dizziness, psychosomatic agitation (rare), hallucinations (rare), confusion (rare)

Contraindication
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Pregnancy, lactation, pituitary tumours, mammary carcinoma, allergy to Agnus castus

Children and adolescents under 18 years

Preparations
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Agnolyt® solution or capsules, Agno-Sabona® capsules, Agnucaston® film tablets or solution, Biofem® film tablets, Castufemin® solution, Cefanorm® capsules or solution, Femicur N® capsules, Feminon A® capsules, Sarai® capsules.

Dosage: 2 to 4 mg dry extract (see leaflet)

Note(s)
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If a feeling of tension or swelling in the breasts or disturbances in menstrual bleeding should occur, an exact diagnostic clarification is recommended.

Literature
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  1. Carmichael AR (2008) Can Vitex Agnus Castus be Used for the Treatment of Mastalgia? What is the Current Evidence? Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 5:247-250.
  2. Halaska M et al.(1998) Treatment of cyclical mastodynia using an extract of Vitex agnus castus: results of a double-blind comparison with a placebo. Ceska Gynekol 63:388-392.
  3. Loew D (2012) in Beer A M et al [eds] Leitfaden Naturheilverfahren für die ärztliche Praxis, Urban und Fischer Verlag p 185.
  4. Šošić-Jurjević B et al. (2016) Functional morphology of pituitary -thyroid and -adrenocortical axes in middle-aged male rats treated with Vitex agnus castus essential oil. Acta Histochem doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2016.07.007.
  5. Tamagno G (2009) Are changes of prolactin levels the effectors of vitex agnus castus beneficial effects on the pre-menstrual syndrome? Maturitas 63:369.
  6. Tamagno G et al. (2007) Vitex agnus castus might enrich the pharmacological armamentarium for medical treatment of prolactinoma. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 135:139-140.
  7. YE Q et al. (2010) Casticin, a flavonoid isolated from Vitex rotundifolia, inhibits prolactin release in vivo and in vitro. Acta Pharmacol Sin 31:1564-1568.
  8. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-monograph/final-european-union-herbal-monograph-vitex-agnus-castus-l-fructus-revision-1_en.pdf
  9. https://arzneipflanzenlexikon.info/index.php?en_pflanzen=81