Vitex Chaste Tree - Uses and Side Effects
Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Vitex Chaste Tree also known by various names Vitex agnus-castus, also called vitex, chaste tree (or chaste tree), chaste berry, Abraham's balm, lilac chaste tree, or monk's pepper, is a native of the Mediterranean region and Central Asia. Vitex Chaste Tree is
an aromatic large shrub or small slender tree of about 3 meter in height with quadrangular branches.
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Flower Color and Fragrance: Fragrant,Blue,Purple
In terms of medicinal values,Vitex negundo or nirgundi(Hindi) as it is known in India though having variety of vernacular names has been used since time immemorial.Herbal medicines in Ayurveda has been a major source of therapeutic agents to cure illnesses.
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MOST COMMON USES
Premenstrual Syndrome :PMS is defined as the cyclical recurrence of psychological, behavioral or physical symptoms during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.Common symptoms include breast pain (cyclical mastalgia), headache, backache, lack of energy, clumsiness, tension, anxiety, irritability, depression, food cravings, bloating and changes to sex drive. The effect of Vitex agnus-castus extract in women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) was investigated. The plant showed to be effective, safe and well tolerated. The VAC extract was shown to be efficient in the treatment of hyperprolactinemia, menstrual disorders, PMS and mastalgia.
2.Infertility: Vitex agnus-castus (AC) is a phytopharmaceutical compound and is shown to be widely used to treat PMS( premenstrual syndrome) and PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder) . In addition, it was shown to be beneficial in post-menstrual cases and it can also contribute to treatment of infertility cases in both men and women. Dopaminergic compounds available in this plant help to treat premenstrual mastodynia as well as other symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome.
3.Acne: Vitex agnus-castus is used for acne before menstruation. The whole fruit extract acting on follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormone levels in the pituitary gland led to an increase in progesterone and decrease in estrogen levels through the dopaminergic mechanism, declining the level of premenstrual prolactin.
4. As Anti-oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory : Vitex negundo is mentioned in Ayurveda as useful in treating arthritic disorders.According to a 2003 study use of oral vitex negundo mature leave extract was found to have anti-inflammatory,analgesic and antihistamine properties.
5. Helps prevent insect bites: Vitex may also help keep a variety of insects at bay. A study showed that mosquito repellent made of vitex oil extract was effective against Aedes aegypti species of mosquito.The protection period against mosquito bites ranged between 1-3 h.
There are no serious side effects of chaste tree extracts.
Although the minor side effects of chaste tree may include:
One should always consult an experienced doctor before taking these extracts as supplements or drugs.Chaste tree extract can affect levels of hormones that play a key role in pregnancy, breastfeeding, menstruation, and even some breast cancers. You should not take chaste tree extract be it leaves,stem,root or berry if you are:
Pregnant or breastfeeding
Have breast cancer
Take birth control pills or hormone replacement
Chaste tree extracts may show drug interaction that affect levels of a brain substance called dopamine.One should not take it while having:
Certain anti-psychotic drugs
Parkinson's disease drugs