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Chaste Tree (Chasteberry) 

Botanical name(s):

Vitex agnus-castus L. Family: Verbenaceae

Other name(s):

chasteberry, cloister pepper, hemp tree, monk's pepper, vitex

General description

Chaste tree is a shrub that bears violet flowers and berries. It is also called vitex agnus-castus. The medicinal parts are the dried fruit and leaves. The plant comes from the Mediterranean and western Asia. It can 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 treat some endocrine problems.

Medically valid uses

There are no proven 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 some evidence that chasteberry may help with some types of infertility. It may help with breast pain. But more studies are needed to confirm this. 

Unsubstantiated claims

There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

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 a female hormone that rises 2 weeks before menstruation. It may help normalize estrogen and progesterone.

Chaste tree is claimed to help treat painful breasts (mastodynia). In European herbalism and medicine, vitex extracts are used for uterine fibroid cysts. They help boost breast milk supply in new mothers. The herb has a long history in balancing hormones. It may help lower the sex drive in people who wish to stay chaste.

Dosing format

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.

This supplement should not be taken by people with hormone-sensitive cancer.

Don't use chaste tree if you take any medicines, herbs, or other supplements. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist first.

Online Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Godsey
Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019
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