Phytotherapie in Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe:Vitex agnus-castus (Keuschlamm)- Eine alte Kultur- und Arzneipflanze -
Abstract: Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree) is a medicinal plant found in the Mediterranean region and Asia. In classical times the plant was used for disorders of the female reproductive system (Hippokrates, Plinius, Dioscurides, Galen). Subsequent resarch has shown that there is a real basis for these ancient beliefs and that it is in fact of value in disorders of menstrual function.The fruits of Vitex agnus-castus are the part used medicinally in the form of a tincture and contain volatile oils as well as other oils, iridoids, resp. pseudo-indicans (agnoside, aucubin) and flavonoids (casticin, isoorientin).The beneficial effects produced in menstrual disorders suggest that the preparation possesses a corpus-luteum-like effect. These effects were achieved by extensive experimental investigations in animals. Agnolyt inhibits the production of follicle stimulating hormone in the anterior lobe of the pituitary, but increases the secretion of luteinizing and luteomarnmotrophic hormone; in other words, FSH output is checked while LH and LTH (prolactin) output is augmented. These results have been confirmed in women by histological examination of endometrium obtained by curettage, by measurements of hormorne levels and basal temperature and by cytological examination of the vaginal secretion. From the results obtained under both clinical and experimental conditions it may be concluded that Agnolyt does not replace corpus luteum hormone, but acting via central nervous pathways regulates the production of ovarian hormones. The mode of action forms the rationale for the three principal indications.These are primarily menstrual problems due to corpus luteum insufficiency, e. g. hypermenorrhoea or polymenorrhoea, but also the impaired fertility arising from them. Another important use is in the treatment of the symptoms of premenstrual tension which is likely to be caused chiefly by ovarian dysfunction (hyperfolliculinism/ hyperoestrogenism). Finally, mention should be made of the fact that the preparation stimulates lactation.Justification for the use of Agnolyt in the treatment of endocrine diseases is based on the idea that the use of this phytotherapeutic agent may make it possible to treat the patient without giving exogenous hormones On this basis the risk/benefit estimate points to a favourable evaluation of the preparation.
Keyword(s): Vitex agnus-castus