The Chasteberry or “Vitex” stimulates hormone production and has many applications for gynecological disorders .
Name: Chasteberry, also known as ‘chaste tree’
Scientific name: Vitex agnus-castus
Part used: Fruits
Main components: Iridoid glycosides (including aucubin and agnuside), volatile oils (including cineole), flavonoids, alkaloids (including viticin), bitters and fatty acids
Actions: Hormonal regulator, progestogen and galactagoga
Chasteberry is a bush or shrub with pale lilac flowers in autumn and an extension of about 2 to 8 m. Its leaves are darker than those of the Vitex negundo , the Chinese chaste tree and when they are in flower, appears a lilac inflorescence and a dark blue at the tip of their long spikes.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the Chasteberry is also known as ” chaste tree” and its berries as ‘ the pepper of the monks ‘ (in medieval times they were given to the monks as an aphrodisiac). However, it has the opposite effect on women.
How to use it
In a tincture , take up to 2 ml (40 drops) fasting during the second half of the menstrual cycle to stimulate hormone production in irregular periods or premenstrual syndrome. It is easy to exceed the dose, so it is best to start with a low dose and increase it if there are no side effects (see below). It also relieves migraine and acne related to the menstrual cycle.
Chasteberry tablets and capsules are also commercialized in different formats. In these cases, follow the instructions for use and take them for premenstrual syndrome.
How to grow it
This plant is generally cultivated, although it grows wild in southern Europe and has become naturalized in subtropical areas. It can be confused with the Vitex negundo (the Chinese chaste tree), whose flowers and leaves are paler and are native to India, Taiwan, and China. In colder climates, their seeds do not always bear fruit.
Chasteberry prefers well-drained soils in full sun and in a warm place. The seeds are planted in a cold bed nursery in autumn or spring and can be transplanted into 10 cm pots when their size allows them to be manipulated, although it is better to let them take root before transplanting them to their final positions. Protect it from the cold, dry winds and severe winters and do it in spring, when it is still wintering. Semi-herbaceous stem cuttings can be taken in summer and the harvest of their ripe berries occurs in late autumn.
Warning: An excessive dose can cause a tingling sensation in the skin. Do not use it if you are taking progesterone medication, and avoid taking it during pregnancy unless directed by a professional.