Monk's pepper (Agnus castus) plant is highly medicinal -menstruation

Discussion in 'Black Health and Wellness' started by Goddess Auset333, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Goddess Auset333

    Goddess Auset333 Banned MEMBER

    Feb 9, 2007
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    By Seye Adeniyi

    Monk's pepper (Agnus castus) plant is highly medicinal

    Just before menstruation, some women usually become nervous and irritable, while some suffers from depression, headaches, fullness in the breast with pains and swelling in the lower pelvic region or extremities. This experience according to medical practitioners, is probably due to increased hormone activity from the adrenal glands during the latter part of the menstrual cycle, causing retention of sodium and water in the tissues.

    However, premenstrual tension or syndrome (PMS) is said to affect about 90 per cent of women at some point in their lives, with a significant proportion of these suffering regularly from severe and debilitating symptoms. Although some mild discomfort is expected to happen at the beginning of menstruation, many women however have little if any difficulty. But if your own menstruation is usually accompany with severe pain, medical experts said that it might due to some abnormality that should be corrected. Sometimes, the pain may be due to some endocrine imbalance which may clear up entirely following pregnancy or satisfactory marital relations.

    Moreover, it has been reported that abnormal positions of the uterus may also lead to menstrual pain or discomfort. Certain pelvic conditions such as endometriosis fibroids could also be a possibility. Also, certain infections such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, or tuberculosis may sometimes cause pelvic pains which may be aggravated during menstruation. But no matter your condition/experienc e the true cause of the pains should be investigated in hospitals.

    Also rectal conditions such as constipation may also aggravate menstrual pain and discomfort. Other abnormalities or ailments that may cause menstrual pain and discomfort include; spinal deformities, poor posture, emotional tension etc. But as a woman, you would have to visit your doctor regualrly to find out the true cause of your pains and discomfort before knowing the appropriate treatment. Your doctor would also tell you the medication and the dosage to take to solve the problems.

    Moreover, while orthodox or conventional treatment for premenstrual syndrome or tension is based on pills and antidepressants, natural medical practitioners are also saying that there are natural therapies that can solve this problem effectively. One of such natural medicine practitioners is Dr. John Briffa, who qualified from University College London School of Medicine, and also had his B.Sc degree in immunology and biomedical sciences. But despite excelling in conventional medicine, he became disillusioned with many aspects of his chosen career, and resolved to explore medicine and now specialises in the treatment of illnesses and diseases using a holistic mixture of dietary and lifestyle changes and natural supplements.

    According to the Britain's foremost natural medicine expert, one of the most established natural treatment for premenstrual tension/syndrome is an extract of an exotic fruit known as agnus castus. For instance, in January, 2001, the British Medical Journal (BMJ), published a study that proved the effectiveness of this natural remedy in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. Over half the women treated with agnus castus also known as Ata Iyere among the Yorubas had significant improvement in their symptoms, and the treatment was also found to be safe and generally free of any side effects.

    Agnus castus is now making its way into mainstream medicine. Infact, many scientists are presently working on this herb to examine its effects on the body, and explore its potential in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome or tension and other hormone-related problems. Agnus castus appears to be an extremely safe and well-tolerated herb, with side effects rates as low (typically between one to five per cent). It also tend to be mild in nature. The normal recommended dose of agnus castus according to Dr. Briffa, is 40 milligramme of the dried herb or forty drops of concentrated liquid extract once a day. 20mg of the dried twice a day would also prevent premenstrual syndrome.

    PMS is a term used to describe a combination of various physical and mental symptoms that usually occur in the week or two prior to menstruation, typical features of PMS include irritability, depression, fearfulness, fatigue, food cravings, and abnormal pain as well as bloating.

    Other features of premenstrual syndrome include; breast fullness and tenderness, fluid retention and weight gain. However, the condition is highly individual, with the exact blend of symptoms and their duration varying considerably between women. When a naturopath, Dr. Nurudeen Animasaun was asked to comment about premenstrual syndrome and what could be done to avoid it, he said women who usually experience drug should avoid using extra salt intake during these times of premenstrual tensions and swelling. He said of a truth, agnus castus, which is also known as monk's pepper, chasteberry or Ata Iyere among the Yorubas has medicaal values. The plant has many names depending on the tribe. In some part of the world, it is also called vitex agnus castus and can indeed reduce prolactin levels and increase the production of a hormone called progesterone.

    "These effects help to correct the hormonal imbalance common during premenstrual syndrome or tension , thereby helping to ease its symptoms," he stated. He further explained that PMS is related to hormonal fluctuations in the second half of the menstrual cycle. It should be noted that one common feature of women with PMS is higher-than- normal levels of a hormone knowing as prolactin, which is secreted by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Excess prolactin in the system going by medical submission can itself upset the balance of other hormones and in particular, is thought to result in the deficit of the progesterone hormone.

    A lack of progesterone can give rise to a condition known as oestrogen dominance, which itself often seems to be an underlying factor in PMS. Furthermore, it is not only the study documented in the British Medical Journal that supports the use of agnus castus in treating PMS. For example, in the year 2000, the Journal of Women's Health and Gender Based Medicine published a three months study that examined the effect of agnus castus in more than 1600 women.

    After the three month study, 93 per cent of women reported an improvement in or elimination of their PMS symptoms. Four out of five women rated themselves as "much better," or "very much better." Dr. John Briffa also reported that in keeping with these very positive findings, 85 per cent of the doctor that assessed the women that uses agnus castus (monk's pepper) rated its effectiveness as "good or "very good."

    He said, "the result of the study are even more encouraging than those of the British Medical Journal Article. Interestingly, the original research used twice the dose of agnus castus than employed in the more recent study (that is , 200mg of the herb twice a day, compared to only once a day).

    Agnus castus (monk's pepper) is also effective in the treatment of the "acne flare" common in the premenstrual phase. Monk's pepper may also help in some cases of infertility. This is because though female infertility may have different causes, but hormone imbalance, including high levels of prolactin and low levels of progesterone, can be a factor in women with such imbalances, Dr. Briffa said may benefit from treatment with agnus castus, "though it may take a year or more for the benefit to become apparent, but once pregnancy is confirmed, the use of monk's pepper should be stopped as it may interfere with important hormone changes at this time," he concluded.

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