Chaste Tree - Vitex Agnus Castus
This Chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA. The expanded 3rd edition materia medica, and additional herbal tidbits are also available as a kindle ebook at Amazon and details about this e-book are here.
Chaste tree berry - Vitex agnus castus in the Verbenaceae or Verbena family
Parts used: Fruits.
Taste/smell: Pungent and peppery.
Dosage: Infusion: 1 teaspoon of crushed fruits per cup of water; or 1:3 dry liquid extract: 20-75 drops 1-4 times per day.
Use: (a) Female reproductive tract regulator. It is used for PMS, endometriosis, menstrual cramps, premenstrual herpes, premenstrual acne, polymenorrhea, secondary amenorrhea, PMS, menopause with hot flashes.
Chaste tree is used for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, premenstrual pain, endometriosis, menstrual cramps, premenstrual herpes, premenstrual acne, polymenorrhea, secondary amenorrhea, uterine fibroids, infertility, mild hyperprolactinimia and menopause with hot flashes.
For amenorrhea, the herb may need to be used for months before results are noticed.
This is an herb I consider when a woman has symptoms that are seen with excess estrogen and lower progesterone.
I have found low levels of this herb to be helpful taken prior to menstruation for PMS where the women notes moodiness, anger, headache, bloating and breast tenderness or pain.
Chaste tree appears to increase luteinizing hormone production and inhibit the release of follicle stimulating hormone. This shifts the ratio of estrogens to progestagens in favor of the progestagens with a corpus luteum hormone effect. This progestagen effect is used in some cases to prevent miscarriages.
Contraindications: This plant is generally considered to be safe with few side effects. Although used sometimes for prevention of miscarriages related to low progesterone, you will see it contraindicated in general during pregnancy due to its emmenagogue effect. I have not found scientific support to show it is an abortifacient, but also can not say it is safe in pregnancy. It may counteract the effectiveness of birth control pills and other hormone therapy. There may be an interaction with dopamine antagonists and dopamine-receptor blocking agents such as metoclopramide (used as an antiemetic.) It may aggravate estrogen deficient conditions.
If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.
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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.
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