Chasteberry

Vitex agnus-castus, Verbanaceae. This plant is also known as chaste tree and monk's pepper. The seeds are the part of the plant used.

The very dark berries should be picked when ripe which is late autumn to early winter. They may be dried in the sun or shade.

Functions of chasteberry

Chasteberry:

  • has the ability to stimulate and balance the pituitary gland, particularly in relation to the female sex hormones. It has a normalising effect (known as amphoteric) on female hormones by its influence on the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) which are produced by the anterior pituitary gland.
  • acts to support the ovaries in their work, in the second half of the menstrual cycle. It is useful for premenstrual syndrome and a range of menstrual problems that are related to hormonal imbalance. It can be effective for heavy and painful periods, fibroids and for re-establishing balance after stopping the contraceptive pill.
  • is also a good remedy for menopausal symptoms and stimulating milk production in breastfeeding mothers.
  • has a calming effect which can be used for any emotional distress associated with the reproductive system, such as in premenstrual tension and menopausal depression.

Notes on chasteberry

  • Chasteberry may counteract the effectiveness of the birth control pill.
  • Can elevate blood pressure. You will need to read the product labels carefully if you have high blood pressure and should consult your health professional before using.

Dosage

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the ripe berries and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day or when needed.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times per day.

References

Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

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