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How I cured my PMS
October 20, 2015, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Health & Wellness, Herbs

Does a cure for PMS exist?

I’ve always been someone who suffers from a broad range of PMS symptoms: extremely short patience that leads to bursts of fiery anger, deeply low moods that border on depression, quick to react to anything and everything, heavy cramps, sore breasts, bloating, and unquenchable hunger. Some of these carry through during my period, namely the all-over-the-place moods and debilitating cramps. I assumed I was one of the unlucky ones who was made to suffer monthly, and that was that. Little did I know that there was a cure out there, and a pretty simple one at that.

It’s a weird statement to make – that I cured my PMS. Premenstrual syndrome is something we think of treating, not curing. But to say I “eased” or “treated” it would be lacking. I didn’t soothe symptoms upon their appearance, I prevented them from occurring at all.

What modern-scientific breakthrough brought about such a change for me, you might ask? Turns out, I don’t have science to thank, but rather, nature. The fruit of the Vitex agnus-castus tree, otherwise known as the chasteberry, is the wonder-herb that changed my life.

Vitex agnus-castus: miracle berry

Dried chasteberries

Historically, its use has ancient roots (some say as far back as 2500 years ago). Monks chewed it to reduce libido and you can even find it mentioned in the Iliad as a symbol of chastity, capable of chasing off evil.

Although not many controlled studies have been completed, the limited research on Vitex shows it to have a hormonal action that is beneficial for female hormonal imbalances. It increases progesterogenic activity, thus helping to balance progesterone and estrogen production by the ovaries throughout the menstrual cycle. It has been shown to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve fertility, and reduce the intensity and even the occurrence of PMS.

Chasteberry was one of the herbs I learned about in my first year in herb school. When I read that it could reduce PMS symptoms I was skeptical. I assumed it worked for women with slight symptoms, but not for people like me with much more severe experiences. In order to test my theory, I chose it as one of the herbs I would work with on an individual level. I read that I could take the herb in tablet or tincture form, but being that it was suggested to take it for 90 days, I wanted to make the experience a little more enjoyable. So I got my Lily Potter on, and went about potion-making. I extracted the herb not only as a standard alcohol-based tincture, but also into honey and into wine. I then mixed the three together to make my own little chaste berry elixir. It turned out to be actually quite an enjoyable mix, so taking it daily was not a problem for me. In retrospect, I was taking way too much per dose (about 5x – eek!) but that probably also explains why I didn’t have to wait long to notice results.

Chasteberry protocol for a happier period

I started the elixir about a week before my period was to start, because it’s also an emmenagogue (it can bring on menstruation) and I didn’t want to mess up my cycle. I wasn’t expecting anything to be different this go-around, as everything I read says it takes a full 90 days to see the real benefits. However, for the first time in my entire life, I barely had any cramps at all. I didn’t need to take anything for the pain I experienced, which was slight and only lasted for the first half of my first day. I was sold.

Chasteberry ElixirBut like I said, I was taking way too high a dose, and it soon became clear how powerful this spicy little berry really is. (Please note that this isn’t a common symptom, and I’m positive that I wouldn’t have experienced this had I stuck to a much lower dose.) To my dismay, about 6 weeks after I started taking it, I started losing my hair. As soon as I realized something was off, I contacted someone from my school and explained what was going on. She said to quit taking it long enough to make sure the hair loss wasn’t due to something more serious (a thyroid issue, for example) and if it stopped, to feel free to start again at a lower dose.

I did exactly that, and now that I’ve completed a full cycle of use, I couldn’t be happier. I just found out what it’s like to have a period and not feel like a crazy person beforehand. As I’m writing this, I’m on the first day of menstruation, and I honestly didn’t even realize it was time for it to start. I’ve been experiencing a little bit of breast tenderness (which is usually my first symptom), but that’s as far as it got. I have almost no cramps at all, and as far as the insane moods go – I didn’t get so much as a hint of that. I’m really amazed.

I’ve given the tincture to my sister and to a good friend of mine, and I’m excited to hear what their experiences are like. They both have it like I do did, and I’m hopeful they see as much improvement as I have. I’d also like to share this wonder herb with anyone else out there who can relate to my experience, so if you’re interested, you can find my one-of-a-kind elixir on Etsy. If you do want to give Chasteberry a try, here are a few cautions:

  • Do not take if you are on birth control
  • Do not take if you are pregnant
  • Do not take with pituitary tumors or breast cancer (or any
  • Should not be combined with antipsychotic drugs as it counteracts them
  • Do not take more than the recommended dosage

I have also made public my full materia medica on Vitex agnus-castus for complete details on the herb. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.