Chaste Tree / Vitex – Health Benefits, Uses, Research, Preparation, Precautions
Chaste tree berries have been used for centuries. They have a spicy, peppery taste. Dried berries are the most commonly used parts of the plant. While beneficial for both sexes, chaste tree, also called vitex agnus-castus, is most commonly used for women.
This article on chaste tree / agnus castus / vitex / chasteberry was written for Insights-on-Health.com by Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG. Find out more about her at the end of this article.
Monk’s pepper, chasteberry, vitex, vitex agnus-castus
Traditional and Modern Health Uses
Chaste berries used to be consumed by monks in order to reduce the sexual drive. It is now known that chaste berry has a normalizing effect on the reproductive system. If the sexual drive is low, chaste berries have an aphrodisiac effect; yet if the sex drive is strong, the berries may diminish it.
Chaste berry is most commonly employed as a normalizer for women’s hormones. PMS, irregular menses, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and painful menstruation are alleviated with the use of chaste tree. Chaste tree is especially helpful for reducing breast puffiness and tenderness related to PMS.
World renowned herbalist David Hoffmann, FNIMH, AHG, states that chaste tree may not only ameliorate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, but actually eliminate the disorder for some women. While improvement may be gained within a couple of months, permanent elimination of PMS symptoms may take over one year.
Chaste tree relieves discomforts related to menopause.
In my, and many other herbalists’, opinion, chaste tree is the best herb to employ to regulate the menstrual cycle when hormonal contraceptives are discontinued. I also use it in formulas for women who are trying to conceive. Chaste berry indirectly regulates the hormones prolactin and progesterone.
I use chaste tree in formulas designed to ease symptoms of endometriosis. It combines well with other herbs when used as part of a comprehensive program. Pain is often relieved, the menstrual cycle normalizes, and general feelings of wellness ensue. I have used chaste tree to help women with serious endometriosis. The herb and wellness regimen which I recommended did not eliminate the need for surgery, but did make the women more comfortable until the surgery could be performed.
Current Research about the Healing Benefits of Chaste tree
Many studies have been conducted worldwide which confirm that chaste tree is effective for the treatment of several women’s disorders. The German Commission E has approved chaste tree for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome, and breast pain. The commission recognizes that chaste tree may normalize irregular menstrual cycles.
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