Benefits of Chaste Tree Berry
Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) has a long history of use in herbalism as a treatment for a range of conditions, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), acne, fibrocystic breast disease, infertility in women, heavy menstrual bleeding, menopausal symptoms, lack of breast milk, benign prostatic hyperplasia in men (BPH), migraine headaches, and joint disorders.
Also called vitex or chaste berry, chaste tree berry may influence hormone levels promote the release of luteinizing hormone and, in turn, increase levels of progesterone (a hormone known to play a key role in regulating the menstrual cycle). It’s also thought to affect levels of prolactin, which is involved in stimulating breast development and milk production.
Did you know?
Chaste tree berry was used to suppress sexual desire by both the men and women of ancient Greece and Rome, according to The American Botanical Council.
Using Chaste Tree Berry for PMS and Hormone Issues
The most common use for chaste tree berry is in managing PMS. It’s safe to say that this berry is the most popular PMS remedy in current Western herbalism. German practitioners, in particular, use chaste tree berry for multiple female hormonal issues. One paper stated that after a treatment period of three menstrual cycles, 93 percent of patients described a decrease in the number of symptoms or even complete relief from PMS.
Researchers recently reviewed 12 studies investigating the effects of chaste tree berry on women’s health, and the results looked positive for chaste tree berry in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. And another study of 60 women, aged 18 to 44, reported that chaste tree berry reduced the intensity of premenstrual bloating, irritability, headache, and skin issues.
In Europe, chaste tree berry is commonly used for breast tenderness (mastodynia). It is approved by the German Commission E for that purpose. A review in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that there is convincing evidence that chaste tree berry is safe, effective, and efficient in the treatment of cyclical breast tenderness.
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine also found that chaste tree berry eases menopausal symptoms. And a 2019 research project compared chaste tree berry to placebo and concluded that mean scores for total menopausal disorder, anxiety, and hot flashes were significantly lower in the vitex group.
Chaste Tree Berry as Fertility Booster
This potent berry might also help boost fertility. One study found that after 3 months of taking a supplement containing chaste tree berry, green tea, L-arginine, vitamins (including folate), and minerals, 26 percent of subjects had become pregnant (compared to 10 percent of those who took the placebo).
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may also benefit from chaste tree berry treatment. In a 2014 review, Australian researchers examined 33 studies and concluded that chaste tree berry was one of the most successful interventions.
How to Use Chaste Tree Berry
Chaste tree berry is generally free of side effects. Unusually high doses might generate mid-cycle menstrual bleeding, dry mouth, hair loss, headache, itching, digestive upset, and skin rash. The herb is not recommended during pregnancy. It may take three to five months to see results.