I feel pretty lucky, because at my doctor's office, there is also an herbalist on staff. Whatever my ailment, I get the best of Eastern and Western medicine and I feel like the best set of options are being presented to me. A few months ago I met with the herbalist to discuss natural ways for dealing with PMS. Under her guidance, I've been taking chasteberry with much success. I'm not as irritable, feel less bloated, and most of all, my breasts are no longer painful to the touch. What a relief!
While chasteberry has not been studied by the FDA, my doctor and herbalist assured me that it is widely used in the European medical community with lots of studies backing its efficacy. I was also able to find a study published in the American Family Physician stating that chasteberry is successful in treating PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, and headaches. My herbalist explained that it works because chasteberry seems to interact with the hormones that are key in causing PMS.
Chasteberry, also known as vitex, is a densely branched shrub grown in the Mediterranean and Asia. You can buy it as a dried herb, in pill form, powder, or as a tincture. To make things easy on myself, I take it as a pill along with my daily vitamins. If you're curious about using chasteberry to treat your own PMS, check with your doctor or herbalist to see if they think it's a good option for you too.