Chasteberry has been in use for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The name has originated from the notion that it diminishes libido. It is believed to have several positive effects on the female reproductive hormones. This is why it is popularly dubbed as the ‘women’s herb.’ As there is still a need for scientific information to prove the actual effectiveness of using chasteberry for treating medical conditions, it is important that you consult your doctor prior to using chasteberry.
It is also popular by several other names including hemp tree, chaste-tree berry, monk’s pepper and vitex. The fruit is dried and used to make an extract in both solid and liquid forms. It is commonly used as a capsule or brewed for making chasteberry tea. If you are buying chasteberry and its supplements, pay attention to the standardized quantity mentioned on the package. It must come from an authentic and reputed manufacturer. You should only purchase fine quality vitex/Chasteberry products available in the market from licensed naturopathic doctors.
8 Health Benefits of Chasteberry
Chasteberry is known for its effective results in treating menstrual problems. It is widely used by females all over the world for managing premenstrual syndrome, infertility and menopause. It also increases breast milk and can treat fibrocystic and lumpy breasts. It has also been used for managing bleeding issues after giving birth and has yielded exceptional results to prevent a miscarriage. Other notable benefits comprise of the treatment for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), joint problems, indigestion, dementia, colds, headaches, spleen and inflammatory conditions.
You can consume chasteberry in the form of liquid tincture, capsule or brew it as a tea to get several benefits. These are a few of the many health benefits of using chasteberry.
1. Relives Premenstrual Symptoms
This is probably the most popular and beneficial benefit of chasteberry. Not only does it help deal with premenstrual symptoms, it also offers positive outcomes as a mood enhancer. The extract is recommended to women who undergo excruciating pain or discomfort during the premenstrual period.
It also alleviates physical symptoms, such as tender breasts, which is a symptom of severe PMS. Consuming a regular dose of chasteberry as a supplement or in tea form relieves stress that arises from PMS. Owing to its benefits for relieving menopause and PMS, it has been used as an ingredient for producing drugs to treat the same.
2. Fertility Enhancer
Chasteberry has been popular for increasing fertility and conceiving chances. Thousands of women have benefitted from using chasteberry tea to treat their infertility issues with additional supplements, such as vitamins and green tea. Researchers have indicated that regular use of chasteberry, women showed an increase in the hormone ‘progesterone’, which is required for a healthy womb formation. It also extended the number of ovulation days with better temperature. These changes have helped hundreds of women become pregnant naturally.
3. Boosts Lactation
There is some evidence that establishes a clear connection between chasteberry and an increased lactation. Nursing mothers consuming small amounts of Chasteberry tea get an elevated supply of breast milk as chasteberry enhances the prolactin levels in the body, which is a female hormone for regulating milk production. As it is yet to be scientifically proven, it is best to ask your doctor before using it for lactation purposes.
4. Normalizes the Pituitary Gland
Chasteberry normalizes and stimulates the pituitary gland, which is also considered the ‘master gland’ for regulating the balance of progesterone and oestrogen in the body. The pituitary gland enables the transmission of chemical signals to the ovaries signaling them to create more hormones.
The extract of the chasteberry herb is known for preventing excessive amounts of prolactin in the pituitary gland. Several herbal diet supplement products used for regulating normal functioning of the pituitary gland contain possibly harmful components. Chasteberry is found to have little or no side effects when used for a good pituitary function. Since it is yet to be reviewed by the FDA, it is best to use it as a supplement after consulting your physician.
5. Reduces Epileptic Seizures
According to the findings published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, chasteberry tea has shown positive outcomes on reducing the length and occurrence of epileptic seizures. When the tree extract was used on male rats in the lab, the rodents were observed to undergo fewer seizures. It was also noted the length of each convulsion was considerably shorter. This establishes using chasteberry can successfully reduce or control epileptic seizes based on the right dosage.
6. Anti-Cancerous Properties
Chasteberry is also known for its anti-cancerous qualities. It is believed to destroy malignant cells of several types of cancers pertaining to the colon, ovaries and breasts. Swiss researchers observed positive results when chasteberry extract was tested on colon cancer cells. The cells stopped multiplying with chasteberry triggering aptopsis (death of cells) to thwart further damage.
More research is required to completely verify its cancer-healing effects. However, consuming a cup of chastberry tea every day is sure to do you good as compared to consuming chemically processed supplements that promise a cancer free life.
7. Prevents Prostate Cancer
For several decades, chasteberry has been widely used as a natural way for balancing the body’s hormones. This is not just beneficial for females but is also good news for men who have continued using chasteberry as a natural anti-androgen for lowering testosterone hormone levels to repress the onset of prostate cancer.
The chasteberry leaves are reminiscent of the marijuana plant. They possess a fragrance similar to that of the sage herb. Men have also used chasteberry for increasing urine flow to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or for curbing unwanted sexual desires. It is believed that, historically, monks chewed on chaste tree parts for maintaining their celibacy as it reduces libido.
8. Cures Male Osteoporosis
There is not much research work done on diagnosing and treating male osteoporosis. There are just a few options available for curing this condition. However, a regular consumption of chasteberry in its extract or tea form can be just the perfect treatment for alleviating male osteoporosis. To prove this scientifically, lab rats were given Chasteberry extracts. The rats that were given a combination of estradiol and testosterone instead, showed less bone density as compared to the rats who consumed chasteberry.
There are little or no adverse effects of using chasteberry if taken in moderate quantity. However, it is recommended that chasteberry should not be consumed for more than 6 to 8 months as long-term use or overdose can cause a number of side effects.
These may include stomach discomfort, nausea, dizziness, headaches, and itchiness. As chasteberry is a hormone regulator, it must be avoided by people who are undergoing a hormone related condition. Women who are pregnant should also seek their doctor’s approval before consuming chasteberry. The anti-androgen activity of Chasteberry may cause adverse affects on male fertility.
Chasteberry use is not advisable to women who are taking contraceptive medications with bromocriptine or dopamine. You should also refrain from chasteberry in any form if you are on medications for treating Parkinson’s.