The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a combination of St. John’s wort and chaste tree berry in the treatment of PMS-like symptoms in peri-menopausal women. This clinical trial was conducted over 16 weeks and information was collected at 4 week intervals rating PMS scores in peri-menopausal women who were experiencing irregular menses.
The daily dose of herbal products given were 3 tablets containing 5400 mg of St. John’s wort standardized to contain 990 mcg hypericin, 9 mg hyperforin and 18 mg flavonoid glycosides. The daily dose of chaste tree berry was one tablet of an extract equivalent to 1000 mg of dry fruit. This was not a standardized extract. There was a matching placebo group. Participants recorded the severity of their PMS symptoms using the Abraham’s Menstrual Symptom Questionnaire.
The active treatment group was statistically superior to placebo for total PMS-like symptoms as well as subgroups of PMS depression and PMS food cravings.
Commentary: Based on previous research in PMS and chaste tree berry and PMS and St. John’s wort, as well as my clinical experience, it is not surprising that a combination of the two plants would be effective. PMS symptoms are common in regularly menstruating women, and it is also a common phenomenon in peri-menopausal women whose cycle and hormonal regularity is beginning to change. While this study evaluated a small group of women, it does address a significant population of women— those who are peri-menopausal and newly or still, experiencing PMS symptoms.
Van Die M, Bone K, Burger H, et al. Effects of a combination of Hypericum perforatum and Vitex agnus-castus on PMS-like symptoms in late-perimenopausal women: Findings from a subpopulation analysis. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2009;15(9):1045-1048.