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Fruit extract is effective treatment for premenstrual syndrome


Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study

Dry extract of the agnus castus fruit is an effective treatment of premenstrual syndrome, and should be considered a therapeutic option, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers at the Institute for Health Care and Science in Germany identified 170 women diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome. Eighty-six women received agnus castus extract and 84 received placebo over three menstrual cycles. Six symptoms - irritability, mood alteration, anger, headache, breast fullness and bloating - were assessed at the start of the first cycle and again at the end of the third cycle.

They found that patients who received agnus castus had a significant improvement in combined symptoms compared with those on placebo. Five of the six symptoms (irritability, mood alteration, anger, headache and breast fullness) were significantly improved. Other symptoms such as bloating were unaffected by treatment. Overall, more than half the women had a 50% or greater overall improvement in their symptoms, and side effects were few and mild.

Given the debilitating effects of premenstrual syndrome, this herbal remedy should be considered a therapeutic option, conclude the authors.



R Schellenberg, Senior Consultant, Institute for Health Care and Science, Huttenberg, Germany Email:

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