Vitex, Chocolate May Benefit PMS Sufferers

January 24, 2001

2 Min Read
Vitex, Chocolate May Benefit PMS Sufferers

HUTTENBERG, Germany--The number of alternative treatments for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) sufferers is continuing to grow. In a study published in the Jan. 20 British Medical Journal (322: 134-7, 2001), researchers found that fruit extract from the chaste tree (known as Vitex) may alleviate such premenstrual symptoms as irritability, mood alteration, anger, headaches and breast fullness.

During a three-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 178 women received either 20 mg/d of Vitex agnus castus or placebo. All women were over the age of 18 and had been diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Efficacy of the extract was determined through the women's self-assessments of irritability, mood alteration, anger, headaches, breast fullness and water retention.

In the group treated with the extract, 52 percent of the participants reported a marked improvement in their symptoms. In the placebo group, 24 percent experienced the same results. However, bloating remained unaffected by either treatment.

The study reported that Vitex contains a mixture of flavonoids that may support this extract's mechanism of action. The researchers, led by Rued Schellenberg from the Institute for Health Care and Science based here, also believe that the extract may decrease stress by inducing the secretion of prolactic (a pituitary hormone).

In related news, a company has patented a chocolate to treat PMS (US #6,174,542). Deborah Hinton and Jeri Greene, both from PMS Mood Food Inc., created a chocolate that includes kava, St. John's wort, ginseng and vitamins and minerals that include vitamin B6. According to the researchers, this product can be used in beverages, snacks and ice cream, as well as in such supplement forms as powders, liquids, gels, pastes, tablets and capsules.

For additional information about Vitex, visit To learn more about the patented chocolate, go to

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