Herb Profile: Vitex (Chaste Berry)

Posted by Lily Kunning on

Vitex (Agnus Castus, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Monk’s Pepper, Vitex agnus castus), is an hormonal regulator- meaning no matter of your body is producing too much or too little Vitex can help.


It modulates the estrogens in the body over time (most herbalists recommend you take it over three monthly cycles to see its full effects) and balances you. It does not contain hormones itself, but regulates estrogen by working on the pituitary gland. Vitex itself has none of the hormonal building blocks that many of the medicinal plants used for the reproductive system contain. Instead, this herb nourishes and supports the endocrine system to find its own balance.


David Hoffman, a well-known herbalist, says "Vitex will always enable what is appropriate to occur." In a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen is higher before ovulation and progesterone is higher after. Many women don't realize that an imbalance of these hormones can lead to the entire range of symptoms associated with PMS and menopause. Thus, Vitex is a supreme hormonal tonic for women.

Both extensive clinical studies, as well as over two thousand years of use in folk medicine, it has proven its effectiveness. It works by stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland, which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. Vitex is a slow-acting herb. Please allow three full menstrual cycles for the plant to work its magic. In the thousands of years that it has been in use, there are no reports of even the mildest side effects. Vitex is a safe, gentle, and effective remedy, with something to offer women
in every cycle of life:

Menstrual Disorders Such As:
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), Frequent menstrual periods (polymenorrhea), Infrequent menstrual periods (oligomenorrhea), Irregular bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia), Absent menstrual periods (amenorrhea), and Painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea).

Menopausal Symptoms of Discomfort:
Vitex is also an indispensable remedy for women with uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, or endometriosis. All of these conditions proliferate under the influence of estrogen and shrink under the influence of progesterone.hot flashes, irregular cycles, depression, and flooding.

Conception and Fertility Regulation:
Enhance the chances of conception through its ability to regulate ovulation. It is especially helpful for women who are coming off the birth control pill. For many women, cycles remain irregular for up to two years after stopping the pill. Vitex can greatly shorten that time and helps ease the body into regaining its own natural rhythm.

It also helps treat progesterone and estrogen-related issues like:
Decreasing sexual desire in men, increasing breast milk supply, preventing miscarriages in women with insufficient progesterone levels, relieving menopause symptoms, migraines, acne, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), fibrocystic breasts, luteal phase defect (a specific cause for infertility in women), and infertility in women.



Is it any wonder then, that Haven Herbs adds Vitex berries to three of its formulas? Our hormone tonic Equilibrium, and two of our tisanes, Moontime (for menses related complaints) and Wise Woman (for menopause complaints) all have Vitex as a key and necessary ingredient.


Counterindications and warnings:
At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement. Side effects may include minor stomach upset and a mild skin rash with itching. Vitex is not recommended for use during pregnancy and should not be used concurrently with hormone therapy (e.g., HRT, a.k.a. estrogen, progesterone).

Like all herbs, Vitex works best when combined with a lifestyle that includes clean water, whole foods, gentle exercise, and plenty of self-love. With its emphasis on long-term balancing of a woman’s hormonal system, Vitex is not a fast-acting herb and is unlikely to give immediate relief to the discomfort associated with PMS. For premenstrual syndrome, frequent or heavy periods, Vitex can be used continuously for four to six months.

Infertile women with amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) can remain on Vitex for 12 to 18 months, unless pregnancy occurs during treatment.

Standard required disclaimer: The statements made here have not been approved by the FDA. These statements are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for herbalists and people like me but not big pharma, who is in bed with the FDA. After umpteen million product recalls, birth defects and deaths, big pharma still doesn't have to label like this- even though this product has been used safely for much longer than any pharmaceutical preparation has. Just sayin'.

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