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The Benefits of Chaste Berry also known as Vitex
Chaste Berry commonly called Vitex and also known as Chaste Tree, or Monk's Pepper. Vitex agnus-castus is widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions for its aromatic foliage and flowers. It grows to a height of 1-5 meters. It requires full sun or partial shade along with well-drained soil. Medicinal use/ Herbal medicine The leaves and tender stem growth of the upper 10 cm (4 inches), along with the flowers and ripening seeds, are harvested for medicinal purposes. The berries are harvested by gently rubbing the berries loose from the stem. The leaves, flowers, and/or berries may be consumed as a decoction, traditional tincture, cider vinegar tincture, syrup, elixir, or simply eaten straight off the plant as a medicinal food.
The berries are considered a tonic herb for both the male and female reproductive systems. The leaves are believed to have the same effect but to a lesser degree. This plant is commonly called monk's pepper because it was originally used as anti-libido medicine by monks to aid their attempts to remain celibate. It is believed to be an anaphrodisiac, hence the name chaste tree.Clinical studies have shown its beneficial effects in the management of premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS).and infertility. The use of extracts of the plant is recommended in Germany. Its mechanism of action is not well known. A study has found that treatment of 20 healthy men with higher doses of Vitex Agnus-castus was associated with a slight reduction of prolactin levels, whereas lower doses caused a slight increase as compared to doses of placebo. A decrease of prolactin will influence levels of Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen in women; and testosterone in men. Chemical analysis Flavonoids, alkaloids, diterpenoids, Vitexin, Casticin and steroidal hormone precursors have been isolated from the chemical analysis of Vitex agnus-castus. It is believed that some of these compounds work on the pituitary gland which would explain its effects on hormonal levels. A study has shown that extracts of the fruit of VAC can bind to opiate receptors; this could explain why intake of VAC reduces PMS discomforts.
Current uses Vitex Agnus-Castus is used as an Alternative medicine to alleviate symptoms of various gynecological problems:
Galactagogue (This use is disputed.)
Potential as an Insect repellent
There are no clinical studies for the following:
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Luteal phase defect
It is used in some supplements for male bodybuilders as a secondary component because of its effects on testosterone levels.
It is recommended that Vitex agnus-castus be avoided during pregnancy due to the possibility of complications. Reference