The Chaste tree berry or “Vitex agnus-castus,” is a fruit that comes from the chaste tree, which is a kind of flowering shrub originally from the Mediterranean region. Although it has been known of for over a thousand years, it is still popular today, and used for alternative medicine as well as on food. Also known as “Monk’s pepper” and “Vitex,’ the chaste berry is quite aromatic and bears a strong resemblance to pepper. It contains certain essential oils such as sabinene, pinene, limonene, and cineol. It also has iridoid glycosides as well as various flavonoids such as isovitexin, casticin, orientin, kaempferol, and quercetagin.
The medical use of the chaste tree berry goes back to the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman times, specifically for the reproductive system of women. Monks from long ago would chew on the berries, while the nuns would take them in syrup form in order to lessen their sexual urges, hence the name. Even today, the alternative kind of medicine makes good use of chaste tree berries for irregular as well as painful menstrual periods, and PMS. They are also helpful for women with insufficient lactation. Chaste berries have also been used to substitute pepper in food.
Benefits of Chaste Tree Berries
Studies done in Germany have shown that chaste tree berries are an effective treatment for the reproductive system’s hormonal imbalances. The berries are able to replicate progesterone effects and function in stabilizing the production of estrogen along with progesterone. They can also regulate a woman’s menstrual cycles. According to the research conducted in Germany, chaste tree berries are able to normalize a woman’s menstrual cycle including the bleeding pattern as well as the length of time.
The symptoms of PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome can be treated by the berries, including mood swings, cramps, water retention, irritability, anger, and fullness in the breasts. Extracts from the chaste tree have a certain active principle that binds to the receptor sites of dopamine, which slows down prolactin release. The prolactin inhibitors control the over-secretion of prolactin that can decrease discomfort in the breasts.
Chaste tree berries are also effective in stabilizing a woman’s hormonal levels, especially the progesterone level in a woman’s body. It is frequently recommended for use when one is going through the pre-menopause stage, in order to balance off fluctuations that occur on the levels of estrogen and progesterone. Although chaste tree berries are typically prescribed for the treatment of PMS symptoms, a great number of gynecologists and herbalist suggest its use for those experiencing symptoms of menopause. It can also help in alleviating depression that may set in during this particular time.
Endometriosis occurs when cells on the uterine lining travel outside of the uterus and move to other areas of the body. This results in deposits forming scar tissue, which can be quite painful. The reproductive hormones like progesterone and estrogen stimulate cells that are found both on the inner and outer part of the uterus. The hormonal activity of the chaste tree berry is able to help in relieving the pain brought about by the condition.
Another benefit of chaste tree is treating infertility, pain in the breast, and bleeding of the uterus. Because of its hormonal characteristics, chaste berries are able to improve on the concentration of progesterone and shorten the period of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This in turn can increase the likelihood of getting pregnant. They are also utilized to augment on the production of milk needed by women who breastfeed.
The chaste berry is also an effective treatment for endocrine defects, including disorders of the hormones and the glands that are emitted into the bloodstream. Abnormalities such as acne and various skin problems can be prevented through the use of chaste berries.
Use of Chaste Tree Berries
Chaste berries can be acquired in the form of capsules and tablets. It is recommended that women take from 30-40 mg a day, preferably once every morning together with liquid. Allergic reactions could occur, with symptoms such as rash, dizziness, or gastrointestinal problems. Consulting a health care provider is recommended when symptoms appear.
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