Vitex, also known as Chasteberry, is a female-friendly PMS fruit

Do you suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular periods, infertility, or menopause? Vitex, also known as chaste berry, may help. It’s been used for centuries and has proved itself effective time and again in scientific studies.

This small but medicinally potent brown berry about the size of a peppercorn has a long history (over 2,000 years) of use as a herbal medicine.

But Vitex is not only for women with hormonal issues that need fixing. It’s recently been shown to exhibit antitumor activities in different human cancer cell lines, and that’s not all. Keep reading to find out all of the incredible health advantages it holds for both women (especially) and men.

What Is Vitex?

Vitex is technically the name for the largest genus in the family Verbenaceae, which comprises 250 species distributed all over the world. The vitex species are deciduous shrubs.

The most common variety of vitex used medicinally is a chaste tree, which produces chaste berry (Vitex agnus-cactus), a small brown berry fruit about the size of a peppercorn. Chastetree is a deciduous shrub native to the Mediterranean and Asia and has been naturalized in North America. Chasteberry is frequently called by its Latin name: vitex or agnus-castus. Other names include Abraham’s balm, lilac chaste tree, and monk’s pepper.

Scientists are investigating over 20 vitex species for chemical and biological properties, discovering 18 compounds in Vitex agnus-castus fruits, indicating potential biologically active compounds from medicinal plants. The results have included the isolation and characterization of approximately 200 compounds, mainly flavonoids, terpenoids, steroids, iridoids, and lignans.

Herbs like Vitex are natural ways you can strengthen and tone your body’s systems. The medicinal ability of chaste berries to positively affect hormonal health issues appears to be derived from dopaminergic compounds present in the herb. Chasteberry helps the body raise its levels of progesterone.

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Health Benefits

1. Relieves PMS Symptoms

Vitex is one of the most popular herbal remedies for PMS symptoms, including cramps. PMS symptoms can be reduced or eliminated by maintaining proper hormone balance. Vitex is one of the top herbal recommendations when it comes to natural PMS relief.

A study found that Vitex treatment for three cycles reduced PMS symptoms in 93% of patients, resulting in complete end-of-PMS complaints. In addition to reducing unwanted premenstrual symptoms, it also treats some menopausal symptoms as well as hormonally induced acne.

vitex relieves PMS Symptoms

For a woman, inappropriately increased production of prolactin may be a factor in cyclic breast tenderness and other PMS symptoms. Vitex is believed to be useful for easing PMS symptoms because it prevents the pituitary gland from producing prolactin.

Numerous studies suggest that chasteberry may help reduce symptoms of PMS, including breast tenderness, headache, and irritable mood. In one review conducted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the University in Australia, five out of six studies found vitex extracts to be superior to a placebo for treating PMS.

2. Reduces Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow inside the uterine walls, causing changes in the size or form of the uterus as well as a variety of unpleasant symptoms. A key way to prevent and reduce uterine fibroids is to maintain a proper balance of hormones. Chasteberry can help to balance the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.

3. Improves Female Fertility

Vitex has been shown to improve fertility, particularly for women with luteal phase defects (shortened second half of the menstrual cycle). These women have trouble because their ovaries don’t release enough progesterone.

A trial of 48 infertility patients found that daily chaste berries increased progesterone levels, leading to seven pregnancy chances.

The study assesses 52 women with luteal phase defects due to latent hyperprolactinemia, examining hormone levels in the blood. Each woman received a daily dose of 20 milligrams of Vitex agnus castus preparation or a placebo. The study aimed to reduce elevated pituitary prolactin and normalize luteal phase length and progesterone synthesis deficits.

The results were excellent. Vitex treatment reduced prolactin release, normalized shortened luteal phases, and eliminated luteal progesterone synthesis deficits after three months. Two women in the treated group also got pregnant during the study, and no negative side effects were seen.

These results show chaste berries can be utilized as a natural infertility treatment in women.

4. Clears Up Acne

Hormone imbalances and fluctuations can be the root of acne, especially if you’re a woman. Vitex may be a natural remedy for monthly acne outbreaks, particularly along the jawline and chin.

It can balance your hormones, which can reduce acne formation in women. Preliminary research suggests that it might help clear premenstrual acne, as well, possibly by regulating hormonal influences.

5. Treats Endometriosis

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus. It most commonly involves your ovaries, bowels or the tissue lining your pelvis. No one is sure of the exact cause of endometriosis, but some contributing factors include hormonal imbalances and genetics.

The hereditary component is unavoidable, but Vitex may be able to correct the hormonal imbalance. The chaste berry is frequently taken for a long period of time (12 to 18 months) to achieve the best results in treating endometriosis naturally.

6. Remedies Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is a medical condition in which a woman of reproductive age has her menstrual cycle stopped suddenly. If you’re not pregnant and your period is irregular or has stopped, it’s a solid indication that something isn’t right.

vitex helps to recover from amenorrhea

One potential reason of amenorrhea is having too much prolactin in your system, which can result in hypoestrogenism or oestrogen insufficiency. Vitex supplementation can help to modulate prolactin and get a healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone back on track.

7. Lowers Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. It can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the U.S. Vitex is commonly combined with other herbs, such as dong quai or black cohosh, for the best results.

One 2007 study published in Gynecological Endocrinology found that a herbal supplement containing chasteberry provided safe and effective relief of hot flushes and sleep disturbances in pre-and postmenopausal women. Another 2015 study found that a supplement containing Vitex as a key ingredient was able to reduce moderate to severe menopause symptoms.

8. Treats Enlarged Prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is an age-associated prostate gland enlargement that can cause urination difficulty. A 2005 study conducted by the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Basel in Switzerland showed that extracts of Vitex agnus-castus fruits can be useful for the prevention and treatment not only of an enlarged prostate but also prostate cancer. Data showed that Vitex contains components that inhibit proliferation and kills prostate cancer cells.

Precautions and Side Effects

Vitex supplements are typically safe for most people when taken by mouth in appropriate dosages. Uncommon Vitex side effects include upset stomach, nausea, rash, acne, itching, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and weight gain. When some women begin taking Vitex, they notice a change in menstrual flow.

If you’re pregnant, have a hormone-sensitive health condition — such as endometriosis or breast cancer — or if you have a history of mental illness or Parkinson’s disease, then talk to your doctor before taking Vitex in any form.

Vitex can interfere with some medications, including birth control, antipsychotics, and estrogen supplements like those used with in-vitro fertilization treatments. Speak with your doctor before trying Vitex if you are taking any of these medications.

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Dosage Recommendations

Vitex or chaste berry is available in many different forms in your local health store or online. Dried, ripe chaste berries are used to create liquid extracts or solid extracts that are put into capsules and tablets. You can also find Vitex in liquid or tea form, or combined with other herbs that promote hormonal balance. You can also order the dried berries and make your tincture at home.

Here are the recommended doses for certain uses:

  • For PMS: 400 milligrams daily before breakfast
  • For uterine fibroids: 400 milligrams twice daily
  • For infertility: 160–240 milligrams daily
  • For acne: 160 milligrams daily
  • For endometriosis: 400 milligrams twice daily
  • For menopause: 160–240 milligrams daily


Vitex was once thought to be an anaphrodisiac, which is the opposite of an aphrodisiac and suppresses desire. It makes sense that chaste berry originally got its name from its ability to counter sexual desire. The Romans used a drink prepared from the plant’s seeds to decrease libido.

In ancient Greece, young women celebrating the festival of Demeter wore chaste berry blossoms to show that they were remaining chaste in honor of the goddess. The chaste berry served similar functions for monks during the Middle Ages, giving rise to the widespread moniker “monk’s pepper.” The modern use of vitex began in the 1950s when the German pharmaceutical firm Madaus Co. first produced a standardized chaste berry extract.

Iranian traditional medicine uses vitex leaves and fruits to boost milk production in women. Vitex rotundifolia fruits treat headaches, colds, migraines, eye pain, female hormonal disorders, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and gastrointestinal infections. In Asian nations, vitex trifoliata is used as an anti-inflammatory and sedative for migraines, rheumatism, and colds. In China, vitex is even a folk medicine for the treatment of cancers.

Final Thoughts

Vitex, also known as chaste berry, is one of the most popular natural remedies for PMS and hormonal balance. And while it’s extremely beneficial for women, it’s also useful for men. For instance, it’s been shown to relieve PMS symptoms, reduce uterine fibroids, improve female fertility, clear up acne, treat endometriosis, remedy amenorrhea, lower menopausal symptoms, and treat an enlarged prostate.

The most common variety of vitex used medicinally is the chaste tree, which produces chaste berry (Vitex agnus-cactus), a small brown berry fruit about the size of a peppercorn.

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