Chaste Tree (Chasteberry)
Vitex agnus-castus L. Family: Verbenaceae
chasteberry, cloister pepper, hemp tree, monk's pepper, vitex
Vitex agnus-castus, or chaste tree, is a shrub that bears violet flowers and berries.
The medicinal parts are the dried fruit and leaves. The plant comes from the Mediterranean
and western Asia. It can also now be found in southeastern parts of North America.
Chaste tree contains iridoids, flavonoids, progestins, and essential oils. This combination
may help control menstrual cycles and ease menstrual pain. It may also treat some
Medically valid uses
There are no valid medical uses for chaste tree.
A few studies suggest that chaste tree helps premenstrual syndrome. But the studies
weren’t designed well, so the results aren’t reliable.
There is also some evidence that chasteberry may help with some types of infertility.
It may also help with breast pain. But more studies are needed to confirm this.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated
through scientific studies.
Chaste tree has been used to treat menstrual cycle problems and pain, premenstrual
syndrome, and menopause. Chaste tree berries may help stimulate progesterone. This
is the female hormone that’s present two weeks before menstruation. It may also help
normalize estrogen and progesterone.
Chaste tree is claimed to help treat painful breasts (mastodynia). In European herbalism
and medicine, vitex extracts are also used for uterine fibroid cysts. They also help
boost breast milk supply in new mothers. The herb has a long history in balancing
hormones. It may also help subdue excited libidos in people who wish to stay chaste.
Chaste tree comes in the form of tinctures, capsules, and liquid extracts. Follow
the instructions on the package for the correct dose.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Chaste tree has no serious side effects. Mild side effects can include nausea, stomach
issues, diarrhea, and itchy rash.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use chaste tree. It isn’t known
if chaste tree is safe for children.
You should not use chaste tree if you take dopamine receptor antagonists. These are
antipsychotics and medicines used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Chaste tree berries
may interact with these medicines.
You also shouldn’t use chaste tree if you take oral birth control pills, hormone replacement
medicines, and other endocrine treatments. Chaste tree may interact with these medicines.