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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 5 (2008), Issue 3, Pages 247-250
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem074
Review

Can Vitex Agnus castus Be Used for the Treatment of Mastalgia? What Is the Current Evidence?

Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley DY1 2HQ, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Received 27 April 2006; Accepted 18 May 2007

Copyright © 2008 A. R. Carmichael. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

There have been many treatments suggested for the management of mastalgia; one of these is the fruit extract of Vitex Agnus castus L. commonly known as Agnus castus, an extract of a deciduous shrub native to Mediterranean Europe and Central Asia. It is postulated that A. castus suppresses the stress-induced latent hyperprolactinemia which is a release of supra-physiological levels of prolactin in some patients in response to stressful stimuli. It is postulated that A. castus could be effective in the treatment of cyclical mastalgia by inhibiting the release of excess prolactin by blocking Dopamine-2 receptor type on pituitary. The adverse events following A. castus treatment are mild and reversible. The aim of this review is assess the efficacy of A. castus in the treatment of mastalgia. Data from randomized and non-randomized studies regarding the efficacy and safety of A. castus is reviewed in a systematic fashion. It is concluded that A. castus can be considered as an efficient alternative phytotherapeutic agent in the treatment of mastalgia.