Agnus Castus – The Return of Me

My herbalist Wendy gave me Agnus Castus capsules to take along with my usual herbs this month. Agnus Castus is a herb that works on the pituitary gland to regulate hormones, specifically to help with natural progesterone production in the body. It is often used in treating the symptoms of PMT and the hormonal upheavals of the peri-menopausal and menopausal period in a woman’s life.

Agnus Castus is turning out to be a miracle herb for me. For the first time in ages I am feeling truly well; the awful exhaustion that would not respond to rest has gone, my energy rising by the day. The dreadful moods swings are no more; I feel level and nothing seems to phase me at present; the nigglesome worries of day to day life that recently have had me feeling like I couldn’t cope, now appear insignificant. To say I feel like a new woman is an understatement.

The herbs Wendy has prescribed have been helping my actual periods and – apart from a tricky couple of months of tweaking the prescription – this continues to be so. I have just finished my shortest period in decades and, despite a couple of heavy, painful days, my well-being throughout was a new and pleasing development. The difference in how I feel, both mentally and physically, is so profoundly changed that I feel the urge to shout it from my roof top!

Our hormones are incredibly powerful and impact upon us in ways we barely know or understand. There are current theories that we are all – men and women alike – suffering from an over-exposure to oestrogen. Many substances that we each come into contact with in modern life, get into our systems and mimic natural oestrogen, tipping the body’s natural balance out of whack. For women, this can have devastating effects, the most serious being an increased risk of breast cancer. It can also leave women feeling like emotional wreckage, their own natural progesterone swamped and struggling to do its job. This means that the second half of the monthly cycle is dogged by intense moods swings, exhaustion, breast tenderness (touch at your peril!), depression, heavy and painful periods.

I have found that the ‘me’ that I call myself could very easily be distorted or lost in the symptoms of this imbalance. We are fools if we think our emotional well-being is separate from our bodily health. With all the willpower in the world, when our bodies are out of balance – particularly our hormonal selves – we can suffer greatly, the symptoms upending our lives and even destroying our sense of self  in serious cases. Sadly, conventional medicine chooses to treat these conditions with synthetic hormones and, in many cases, this only seems to aggravate an already unbalanced system. I think it certainly did with me. It feels so much better to take something that aids the body’s own natural production and balance of hormones. If what I am experiencing is a rebalancing, then, at present, I am living proof that this is the sanest way to go.

Being a Yoga nut, I am fascinated by the chakra system, by the link it implies between body and mind health but also the focus it places on the Endocrine system. Our glands play a vital role in keeping us well and balanced hormonally. I believe that we need to take good care of our Endocrine systems, particularly when we are unwell, doing all we can to help them help us to stay healthy.

I suspect that the extreme stress of recent years did a lot to knock my system off balance. Sadly, it can become an unstoppable cycle: the stress unbalancing our bodies; our imbalanced bodies impacting upon our minds and causing more stress. Hopefully, with the help of Wendy, I can now break that cycle. Welcome home M!

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