Also known as- Vitex agnus-castus, Chaste Berry, Monk's Berry, Vitex, Chastetree, Chinese Vitex, Gattilier, Hemp Tree, Monk's Pepper, Vitex, Vitex rotundifolia, Vitex trifolia, Viticis Fructus.
Chaste tree is a small shrub native to the eastern Mediterranean and easily grown in warm climates around the world. Its tart and peppery fruit has been used for over two thousands years, at least since the time of the Greek physician, Dioscorides, who recommended it in beverages intended to help the wives of soldiers remain chaste while their husbands were in battle.
Acubin, agnuside, casticin, chrysophanol D, alpha- and beta-pinene, isovitexin and vitexin.
Dried fruiting berry
Usually used as a tincture, however may be cracked and sprinkled on food, producing a slight pepper taste or as a tea infusion.
The use of vitex in lactating women may result in the return of menstruation.
Vitex has been said to enhance lactation, but may also decrease milk supply in some. Vitex is not recommended as a galactagogue, however, once the milk supply is firmly established and on autocrine control, it's doubtful that the use of vitex, in and of itself, will have any negative impact on milk production.
Vitex is a very useful herb for PMS symptoms, as well as for lactating women who and are trying to conceive again, and are having problems with their cycles returning or becoming regular enough to sustain a pregnancy.
Vitex works by stimulating the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and suppressing the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This in turn causes the corpus luteum to secrete more progesterone. Progesterone suppresses the production of prolaction. Also, vitex has components that bind to the dopamine receptor sites of the pituitary, inhibiting prolactin secretion.
Chaste berry has been used for centuries to treat constipation, flatulence, and hangovers, and to bring on menstruation and lactation. In modern herbal medicine, the herb is mainly used to treat breast swelling and breast pain caused by excessive secretion of the hormone prolactin during PMS or cyclic mastalgia. The herb can lengthen the proliferative (first) phase of the menstrual cycle, and also relieve water weight, headache, and fatigue.
Men shouldn't take chaste berry. Testicular atrophy could result after repeated use. Not recommended during pregnancy. Binging on sugar, alcohol, or marijuana will block the herb's action on dopamine receptors in the brain and cancel out its effects. Vitex is not recommended for use during pregnancy, as it causes prolactin levels to stabilize.