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Chasteberry Health Benefits

What is Chasteberry?

Chasteberry Health Benefits

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-catus) is a small brown berry fruit of the chaste tree which is about the size of peppercorns and smells like peppermint. Chasteberry has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries for its health benefits. In its ripe form, the fruit is used in the preparation of herbal liquids and powdered extracts. The fruit is also known as vitex, monk's pepper, or monk's berry as it was used by ancient Romans to curb the sexual urges in monks.

What are the Benefits of Chasteberry?

Chasteberry is often used by herbalists to regulate hormone imbalances in women and lower the testosterone levels in men. It is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of menstrual disorders, PMS, menopausal symptoms such as breast tenderness, hot flashes and mood swings, infertility and decreased milk production in lactating women. Due to its anti-androgen activity, Chasteberry has been used as a natural supplement to lower testosterone levels in transgenders (in male to female), and to suppress the onset of prostate cancer which is also associated with high testosterone levels. Its anti-androgen activity may also help clear up acne, reduce Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in women.

Uses of Chasteberry

Breast Tenderness

A German company has used Chasteberry extract in the manufacturing of a medication for Mastalgia - sore breasts or breast tenderness associated with PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and menopause. It is believed that Chasteberry extract may help stop the release of a hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland. High levels of Prolactin hormone may stimulate milk production in pregnant and lactating women causing breast tenderness and may also cause irregular menstrual cycles and missed periods. Therefore, taking one 300mg Chasteberry extract capsule daily can be beneficial to reduce breast tenderness.

Miscarriage and Infertility

Studies have found that the Progesterone hormone plays a crucial role in conception and sustaining pregnancy. Researchers have concluded that low progesterone levels may be associated with the thinning of the uterine lining during pregnancy, corpus luteum insufficiency, and luteal phase defects (which are the main causes of infertility and miscarriages). A luteal phase is a period between ovulation and menstruation during a woman's menstrual cycle which is typically 10-17 days long. However, when this period is too short, too long or irregular, it is described as Luteal Phase Defect (LPD) which leads to infertility and or unsustainable pregnancy. Corpus Luteum Insufficiency is a condition where pregnant women have an abnormally low progesterone levels around 3 weeks after the first day of menstruation. There are a number of other causes of Luteal Phase Defect, Corpus Luteum Insufficiency, infertility and miscarriage but many studies show that low progesterone levels may be a major cause of these conditions. Therefore, taking a Chasteberry capsule once daily may help with infertility and minimize the risks of miscarriage by naturally increasing the progesterone levels in the body. However, there are conflicting opinions about the use of Chasteberry during pregnancy, therefore, during pregnancy the consumption of Chasteberry in any form should be avoided unless advised by your health care provider otherwise.

PMS, Menstrual Cramps, and Menopause

It is believed that Chasteberry is a natural source of the progesterone hormone. Research shows that insufficient progesterone levels may cause all sorts of menstrual problems such as short, early, heavy, too frequent or no periods (amenorrhea), luteal phase defects, and raised levels of the prolactin-pituitary hormone (which is responsible for breast tenderness in PMS and early menopause). A few studies show that the use of Chasteberry extract may help with perimenopause (the early stages of menopause), PMS, menstrual cramps and bloating and other menstrual disorders. Simply taking one capsule of Chasteberry daily during the day for 2 months may be helpful.

Prostate Cancer

Chasteberry has been used as a natural herbal remedy to help balance the body's hormones. Men have been using chasteberry for years as a natural anti-androgen to lower testosterone hormone levels to suppress the onset of prostate cancer.

What are the Side Effects of Chasteberry?

There are not any known adverse side effects of Chasteberry when taken in moderation. Chasteberry should not be taken more than 6-8 months on a regular basis. However, overdose of Chasteberry may cause headache, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and itchiness. Since Chasteberry is considered a hormone regulator, it should be avoided when you are being treated for any kind of hormone related condition, are pregnant or lactating or are taking oral contraceptives or medications with dopamine and bromocriptine. Also anti-androgen activity of Chasteberry might affect the fertility in men. Therefore it should be taken into consideration when trying to conceive. It is recommended to consult your health care provider before taking chasteberry or its supplements therapeutically to rule any potential clash with any other medications that you may be taking.

Where and How to Buy Chasteberry

Chasteberry can be found at natural and herbal food stores in the form of powdered extract, standardized liquid extract, tinctures, capsules and supplement sold as vitex agnus castus. When buying Chasteberry and its supplements, make sure its standardized amount is stated on the package and it is from a well reputed company. The highest quality vitex/Chasteberry products can be purchased from licensed naturopathic doctors.

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Comments

  1. on said:

    I heard about this newsletter and I was interested in signing up. I hope I will enjoy reading. Thanks

  2. on said:

    I have been having irregular periods ,doctor says I have PCOS and started taking vitex in April. I'm now on my second bottle but still no period. How long does it take vitex to bring on a period? I'm also losing weight, could it be vitex?

  3. on said:

    I am 48 with regular periods
    but since January I had troubles. I take 500 mg on empty stomach. Should I continue taking Chasteberry every day? Thank you

  4. on said:

    Hi, I am taking Vitex since November 2014. I was getting delayed periods. So I got all medical tests. Doctor says everything is normal. I need help please. Does vitex stop menstruation? Should I continue taking it?

  5. on said:

    I am 25 years old and suffering from pcod (Polycystic Ovarian Disease), irregular period, and hormonal imbalance. I tried taking virex chaste berry 200 mg daily. I got my period after 5 days but 8 days are over and I am still bleeding. What should I do?
    Should I stop taking medicine during menses and continue it later or lower the dose? Please advise!

  6. on said:

    I was having adult acne due to hormonal imbalance during perimenopause. Started taking Chasteberry and it cleared up for the first time in 12 months. And has stayed clear for 2 months now.

  7. on said:

    To Veron, would love to hear more about your experience with Chasteberry. I have fibroids, going through pre-menopause, but still having regular periods. I'm in my early 50's. I have had ultra sounds done and was told to let them stay until after menopause, and they should shrink. Thanks, Michelle

  8. on said:

    I used Chasteberry years ago for my fibroids and it was great!

  9. on said:

    Nancy Nkrumah: It is a tricky question. Tablespoons of any liquid substance can be converted into millilitre easily but for dry substance conversion into milligrams can't be accurate. This is because a tablespoon of sugar might be more in milligrams than a tablespoon of black pepper. So it's better to weigh the individual item! :)

  10. on said:

    How many tablespoons is equivalent to a milligram?


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