Botanical name: Vitex agnus-castus (Verbenaceae)
Parts used: berries
Energetics: warming, drying
Taste: sweet, pungent, and bitter
Actions: regulates hormones, progesterogenic, increases breast-milk production, aids sleep
Constituents: volatile oil (cineol), flavonoids (casticin), iridoids (aucubin, agnoside, eurostoside), diterpenes
Tincture: 40 drops Times a day: daily for 3 months
Tea: hot infusion
The Chaste tree, aka chasteberry, vitex, monk's pepper is a deciduous aromatic tree with palm shaped lea res and small lilac flowers. The chaste tree was well known in ancient times for warding off evil. As the name implies, it was thought it may reduce sexual desires and monks traditionally chewed them to reduce unwanted sexual desires.
Hormonal properties: The berries are though to induce subtle hormonal effects within the brain leading to increased levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and melatonin. These changes are thought to promote better hormonal regulation of the menstrual cycle, notably through raised progesterone levels. In some people, the raised melatonin levels may aid sleep quality. The diterpenes are thought to be chiefly responsible for these effects.
Gynecological problems: Clinical research by and large supports the use of chaste tree in many female hormonal problems, including PMS (premenstrual syndrome), irregular menstruation, breast tenderness, and infertility.
Sleep aid: Since researchers found that chaste berry increases melatonin levels, it has been thought of as a possible sleep aid. Some small studies indicate that chaste berry might help people with insomnia due to unhealthy melatonin levels, such as shift workers or those who are jet lagged.
Traditional Western Uses:
Menstrual problems: Chaste tree is probably the most used herb in Western herbal medicine for regulating the menstrual cycle. With its progestognenic action, chaste tree is often helpful in relieving premenstrual symptoms, including irritability and lowered mood, headache, acne, and breast tenderness. Chaste tress also promotes greater menstrual regularity and this use extends to more significant hormonal problems including polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, endometriosis.
Irregular periods: helps to regulate irregular periods, tending to shorten a long cycle and lengthen a short one.
Infertility: chaste tree can be of help to some women trying to conceive if infertility is due to low progesterone levels.
Difficulty in breastfeeding: the berries are taken t increase breast-milk production.
Acne: chaste tree can be extremely helpful in treating acne in both men and women. Used in combination with herbs such as echinacea root, it will often reduce the frequency and intensity of acne blemishes where hormonal imbalance is a major factor.
Excess can cause formication (a sensation of ants crawling on the skin). Concurrent use with the contraceptive pill of fertility treatment is NOT advisable. AVOID in pregnancy. In rare cases may cause gastrointestinal upset, headache, or dizziness.
*Chevallier, Andrew, Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, New York City, Penguin Random House, 1996.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. Please check with your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition before using or consuming any herbal products. Keep out of reach from children and pets. I am not a doctor and therefore I can not give medical advice.