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Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Vitex agnus-castus tree is a shrub that is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The shrub has long, finger-shaped leaves, blue-violet flowers, and dark purple berries. The fruit and seed are used to make medicine.

Vitex agnus-castus is taken by mouth for menstrual cycle irregularities, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a more severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and symptoms of menopause. It is also used for treating "lumpy" (fibrocystic) breasts, female infertility, preventing miscarriage in women with low levels of a hormone called progesterone, controlling bleeding and helping the body force out the placenta after childbirth, and increasing breast milk.

Vitex agnus-castus is also taken by mouth to increase the flow of urine in men, for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and for reducing sexual desire. Historians say that monks chewed chaste tree parts to make it easier to maintain their celibacy.

Some people also take vitex agnus-castus by mouth for acne, nervousness, dementia, joint conditions, colds, upset stomach, spleen disorders, headaches, migraine, eye pain, body inflammation, fractures and swelling.

Some people apply vitex agnus-castus to the skin to flush out parasites and to prevent insect bites and stings.

How does it work?

Vitex agnus-castus seems to affect many hormones that regulate women's reproductive cycles.

Traditionally used for

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of PMS.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Difficulty in becoming pregnant (infertility).
Repelling insects.
Recurrent breast pain.
Enlarged prostate.
Eye pain.
Increasing lactation.
Menopausal symptoms.
Prevention of miscarriage.


For premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): 20-40 mg of vitex agnus-castus extract taken daily for 8 weeks has been used.

For premenstrual syndrome (PMS): A specific extract known as BNO 1095 (Agnucaston/Cyclodynon, Bionorica AG), which contains 4 mg of vitex agnus-castus extract has been taken daily for three menstrual cycles. Another specific extract known as Ze 440 (Prefemin, Max Zeller Sohne AG, Romanshorn, Switzerland) which contains 20 mg of vitex agnus-castus extract has been taken daily for three menstrual cycles. Another specific product (Femicur, Schaper & Brummer GmbH & Co. KG, Salzgitter, Germany) containing 6.4-12 mg of vitex agnus-castus extract has been taken daily in two divided doses for three menstrual cycles. Specific capsules (Agnolyt, Madaus AG, Cologne, Germany) containing 3.5-4.2 mg of vitex agnus-castus extract has been taken daily on days 16-35 over three menstrual cycles. Forty drops of vitex agnus-castus extract, added to one glass of fruit juice once daily before breakfast starting 6 days prior to menstruation and lasting until menstruation occurs, has been used for six consecutive cycles.

Possible Side Effects

Vitex agnus-castus fruit is SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. Uncommon side effects include upset stomach, nausea, itching, rash, headaches, acne, trouble sleeping, and weight gain. Some women notice a change in menstrual flow when they start taking vitex agnus-castus. Vitex-agnus-castus seed extract is SAFE when applied to the skin appropriately.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Using vitex agnus-castus during pregnancy or breast-feeding is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. The concern is that vitex agnus-castus can interfere with hormones. Don't use vitex agnus-castus if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as endometriosis; uterine fibroids; or cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovaries: Vitex agnus-castus can affect hormones and might affect estrogen levels. Don't use vitex agnus-castus if you have a hormone-sensitive condition.
In vitro fertilization: Vitex agnus-castus can interfere with the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization. Don't use vitex agnus-castus if you are undergoing this procedure.

Parkinson's disease: Vitex agnus-castus contains chemicals that affect the brain. These chemicals affect the brain similarly to some medications used for Parkinson's disease. Therefore, vitex agnus-castus might affect therapy for Parkinson's disease.

Schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders: Vitex agnus-castus seems to affect a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Some medications for mental disorders help to decrease dopamine. Therefore, taking vitex agnus-castus might affect therapy for certain mental disorders.

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