Dietary Supplements

Chasteberry Health Benefits

Chasteberry Health Benefits

What is Chasteberry?

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 have hyperprolactinemia which is creating problem in my menstrual cycle (which is totally stopped) and I'm diagnosed with pituitary macroadenoma. I'm very depressed due to this.

  2. on said:

    Does Chasteberry suppress sexual desires?

  3. on said:

    To Shah, Chasteberry supplements are a popular remedy for fibroids. Try taking it for a few weeks and see if it makes any difference. However, if you are taking any hormone-regulating medication or any medication which contains dopamine and/or bromocriptine, discuss with your doctor before taking Chasteberry supplements because Chasteberry is also a hormone regulator. You don't want to overdose.

  4. on said:

    I was recently diagnosed with iron deficiency (anemia). I went for an ultrasound and it turns out my uterine lining is thicker than it should be. I was told to take iron and vitamin C supplements 3 times daily, as well as Medroxyprogesterone. Can I take Chasteberry as well?

  5. on said:

    I want to know whether Chasteberry can help shrink my fibroids?

  6. on said:

    I just started vitex 400mg twice to 3 times a day to regulate my periods which has always been abnormal and to help me ovulate to conceive. Not sure if I'm low on progesterone but got blood work for hormones and it came back normal but my periods never came as they should. I got off the Depo-Provera shot two and a half months ago and still no period. Will vitex really help me get my period and help me ovulate? Really want to have a baby with my fiance. I have 2 kids from my ex husband. Please help - I'm really desperate to have a baby and to regulate my periods. I want my period to come soon. Thanks

  7. on said:

    Hi, I have been taking Vitex for over a year now, I used to take 900mg a day, I stopped taking it for about 2 months, and restarted it. Now I'm taking 600mg per day. I don't know if it is right for me to continue taking it every day? My doctor said, I'm in menopause already, I'm 44 years old. Thanks in advance for your reply!

  8. on said:

    I have Just started using a chasteberry based supplement and on the package it has advised that you need to use it for 3 months before you can see any difference. I initially wanted to start taking this supplement to assist with my PCOS, but I decided to rather use it to perhaps regulate my period, which will in turn increase ovulation which could eventually lead to better chances of conception.

  9. on said:

    @Nena, what do you want to take Chasteberry pills for? Do your research or consult a herbalist if you are taking any other medication before starting taking Chasteberry since just like any other herb it can interact with other medication.

  10. on said:

    When can I start using the Chasteberry pills?


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