Chasteberry, Vitex for Natural PMS Relief

Author Photo
By Staff

article image

Chasteberry, Vitex
Vitex agnus castus


Chasteberry, also commonly known as Vitex (Vitex agnus castus) or Chaste Tree Berry and belongs to the verbena family. Chaste Tree Berry is a deciduous tree with dark green hand sized and palm-shaped leaves that are silver underneath. It has small purple flowers on long panicles.

Historically the Chaste Berry Tree has been a symbol for chastity as the name implies, although origins of this symbolism are unknown. Ancient texts used chaste tree as a “woman’s herb” to promote menstruation. Dioscorides described it as warming and astringent, and “to expel menstrual flow.”

Chasteberry has a long history in use for a variety of menstrual problems and menstrual complaints resulting from hormonal imbalances. Currently, the active component(s) of Chasteberry is not established in the scientific literature. One theory is that it appears to display dopamine receptor binding activity which inhibits the secretion of prolactin which results in an increase of progesterone in the body. As a result, this process could normalize the levels of progesterone and help to balance hormones.


Modern uses of Chasteberry include:

  • relieving PMS symptoms
  • menstrual cycle disorders
  • mastalgia -breast pain and is generally classified as either cyclical (associated with menstrual periods) or noncyclic.

Research using Chasteberry:

In 2001, a double-blind RCT compared Vitex with placebo for (178) women with PMS over three menstrual cycles.

PMS Symptoms Accessed:

    • mood swings
    • anger
    • headaches
    • breast fullness
    • bloating

This study provided women 20 mg of dry Vitex extract or a placebo for three months. Participants assessed their PMS symptoms. The active group experienced a 50.5% reduction in PMS symptoms compared to the placebo group as a result of chasteberry.

Dose and Duration:

The German Commission E has approved chasteberry for use in PMS and menstrual cycle irregularities as well as cyclical breast pain. The recommended dose by the German Commission E is 30- 40 mg of dried fruit extract daily.  Early studies show long-term supplementation requirements for therapeutic effects. Therefore to improve PMS symptoms an individual may begin with a 30-40 mg supplement for three cycles, then assess symptoms. Some cases may need longer supplementation and evaluate their PMS symptoms for improvements.

Drug-Herb Interactions:

Use caution with a dopamine agonist and hormone replacement therapy.  No known drug interactions reported in humans. Do not use if pregnant or nursing.

Side Effects:

Mild and infrequent interactions have occurred due to vitex. These include gastrointestinal upsets, urticaria (hives), fatigue, headache, dry mouth, tachycardia, nausea, and agitation in less than 2% of people.

Find out about our aromatherapy and herbal consultations here.

Learn more about herbs for women’s health here

These statements and products are not evaluated by the FDA.  Information provided in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

Updated on Feb 22, 2019  |  Originally Published on Jan 1, 1970

Mother Earth Living

The ultimate guide to living the good life!