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Chasteberry
NHPID Name:
Vitex agnus-castus
Scientific Name:
Vitex agnus-castus L. (Lamiaceae)
Common Name(s):
Chaste tree
Chaste Berry
Monk's pepper
Structure/Function Claims:
Used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve premenstrual symptoms, as a hormone normaliser to help stabilise menstrual cycle irregularities and to help relieve symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flushes. Chasteberry is used to regulate cholesterol as well as ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as well as to regulate menstruation. Though it contains no hormones, it appears that chasteberry can affect hormonal activity by stimulating the pituitary gland to decrease production of prolactin, a hormone involved in milk production. The reduction in prolactin can help to alleviate breast tenderness and other discomforts associated with PMS.
Chasteberry

Chasteberry

Proven Chasteberry Products

Menopause CapsulesMenopause Capsules
P.M.S. CapsulesP.M.S. Capsules

Structure/Function Claims (cont.):

Chasteberry also appears to affect levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and progesterone, other reproductive hormones that may contribute to symptoms related to the menstrual cycle. Chasteberry appears to be useful in reducing the irritability, bloating and depression that many women experience right before their menstrual periods begin.

It can also minimize the pain and discomfort of fibrocystic breasts in women with this condition. Chasteberry may regulate ovulation and help women who are struggling with infertility to become pregnant by correcting a condition known as luteal phase defect. In addition, women who suffer from symptoms like hot flashes, sweating, vaginal dryness or depression due to hormonal imbalances associated with menopause may benefit from Chasteberry. Symptoms of endometriosis and acne related to the menstrual cycle may respond to Chasteberry as well.

In addition to its wide range of uses to treat symptoms related to the reproductive system, Chasteberry is also an antioxidant. As such, it is capable of stabilizing unpaired oxygen molecules. These molecules, the result of chemical reactions that take place in the body on a daily basis, are capable of causing damage throughout the body unless they are stabilized. Chasteberry may also be able to lower cholesterol levels in the blood as well as treat migraine headaches.

The usual dosage for PMS and related symptoms is 400 to 500 mg daily in single or divided doses. Capsules and tablets are absorbed best when taken with meals.

Some symptoms of PMS respond quickly to Chasteberry, while it may take three months for the full benefits of the herb to be noticed. When Chasteberry is used to regulate menstruation or induce ovulation, it may take up to six months for the herb to work. Since it can affect hormones, women who use oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy and pregnant or lactating women should not take Chasteberry.

Dosage :

Dry, Powder, Decoction & Infusion + All Non-Standardised Extracts

30 - 2000 Milligrams per day, dried fruit

For premenstrual symptoms: Preparations equivalent to 30-240 mg of dried fruit, per day

Risk Information :

Caution(s) and Warning(s):

Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist.
Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms worsen.
Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are taking hormone-containing medications such as progesterone preparations, oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.

Contra-indication(s):

No statement is required

Known Adverse Reaction(s):

No statement is required

References :

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Brinker F. 2010. Online Updates and Additions to Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications. [Updated 2010 February 15]; [Accessed 2010 March 04]. Available from: http://www.eclecticherb.com/emp/updatesHCDI.html

Bruneton J. 1999. Pharmacognosie, Phytochimie, Plantes Médicinales, 3e édition. Paris (FR) : Technique & Documentation.

ESCOP 2003: European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy Scientific Committee. ESCOP Monographs: The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products, 2nd edition. Exeter (GB): European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy in collaboration with Thieme.

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McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, editors. 1997. American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press.

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Mills S, Bone K. 2000. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Toronto (ON): Churchill Livingstone.

PasseportSanté.net. 2007. Gattilier. [En ligne]. [Consulté le 12 mai 2010]. Disponible à : http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Solutions/PlantesSupplements/Fiche.aspx?doc=gattilier_ps

Ph. Eur. 2007: European Pharmacopoeia Commission. 2007. European Pharmacopoeia, 6th edition, Supplement 6.2. Strasbourg (FR): Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and HealthCare of the Council of Europe (EDQM).

USDA 1998: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) [online database]. Vitex agnus castus L. Beltsville (MD): National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. [Accessed 2010 March 04]. Available from: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl

USDA 2006: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) [online database]. Vitex agnus castus L. Beltsville (MD): National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. [Accessed 2010 March 04]. Available from: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl

USP 2009: United States Pharmacopeial Convention. 2009. The United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary (USP 32/NF 27). Rockville (MD): United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc.

WHO 2009: World Health Organization. WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants, Volume 4. Geneva (CH): World Health Organization.

Wichtl M, editor. 2004. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A Handbook for Practice on a Scientific Basis, 3rd edition. Stuttgart (DE): Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers.

Barnes J, Anderson LA, Philipson JD. 2007. Herbal Medicines, 3rd edition. London (GB): The Pharmaceutical Press.

Brinker F. 2001. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications.

Ellingwood F. 1998. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications; [Reprint of 1919 original].

Felter HW, Lloyd JU. 1983. King’s American Dispensatory, Volume 1, 18th edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications; [Reprint of 1898 original].

Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.

Harena Maris - Chasteberry