The benefits of chasteberry herb have been known for a number of centuries. This herb is also known as vitex agnus-castus. The name of the plant is vitex and is a native plant to the Mediterranean area.
The small black berries produced by the plant resemble peppercorns and are known as chasteberries. As an herbal remedy it can be taken as a tablet or capsule. Chasteberry extract and tincture are also available.
The dried herb can be made into a tea, which will deliver a reduced dosage. The dried or fresh berries can be steeped in hot water to make the tea, though there are several brands of ready-made tea on the market.
Benefits for Menstrual and Fertility Issues
The benefits of vitex are mainly for regulation of the menstrual cycle and PMS symptoms. It is also thought to be beneficial for improving fertility. It can increase hormone production and acts upon the pituitary gland. Women who experience tenderness in the breast area during their period may also find that taking chasteberry herb helps.
There are a number of other symptoms that may benefit from this herb, including cramps, headaches, depression, irritability, and water retention. By balancing the hormones that control this cycle, the symptoms are lessened.
The benefits of chasteberry extend also to treating endometriosis by relaxing the uterus. Breakouts of acne that are related to the menstrual cycle can also be eased.
Benefits of Vitex in Menopause
The symptoms of menopause can be aided as well by using chasteberry vitex. The herb’s hormone balancing qualities make it ideal for counteracting hot flashes and other symptoms. The herb can be combined with other herbs such as black cohosh for maximum effect.
The flowers of the plant are thought to have a boosting effect on the libido, which can be reduced during menopause. Another side effect of menopause is a reduction in bone density, and chasteberry herb is said to improve this.
Vitex chasteberry also has antioxidant properties for removing free radicals as well as anti-inflammatory qualities. It can also be effective for digestive problems and preventing or reducing seizures.
The chasteberry herb can help to reduce cholesterol. A number of studies have been carried out on the benefits of chasteberry, which have proven that the herb is effective, though it may take several months of use to be fully effective.
Side Effects of Chasteberry
Vitex chaste tree should not be used for too long. If taken for infertility, then one year is the maximum period of time for use. For other problems, it should be used for no more than six months.
It can interfere with some prescription medications, so the advice of a medical practitioner should be sought before embarking on any course of treatment with chasteberry vitex.
Due to its effects on hormones, it should be avoided by pregnant and nursing women. In rare cases, some side effects have been reported, which include rashes, nausea, and headaches. It is also not suitable for children, again because of its effect on hormone production.