Chaste Berry Seeds (Vitex)
The Greeks and Romans used this plant to encourage chastity and thought of it as capable of warding off evil. Medieval monks were said to use the dried berries in their food to reduce sexual desire. As a result, it was also referred to as "Monk's Pepper."
Although Hippocrates used chaste tree for injuries and inflammation, several centuries later Dioscorides recommended it specifically for inflammation of the womb and also used it to encourage milk flow shortly after birth.
Current use of chasteberry is almost exclusively for disorders of the female reproductive system.
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A research study in Germany in 1988 indicated that Chaste Tree Berries have a progesterogenic effect, acting on the pituitary gland, which regulates the menstrual cycle. Some trials have shown chaste tree to be valuable in treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and in increasing fertility.
Chaste tree is one of the most important herbs for regulating female hormones. By increasing progesterogenic activity, chaste tree can help to balance progesterone and estrogen production by the ovaries throughout the menstrual cycle.
Researchers have been investigating chaste tree for over 30 years in the UK and Germany, and it is clear that the berries have a distinct hormonal effect on the body. However, the constituents responsible have not been isolated.
Chaste tree berries are also thought to be antiandrogenic, inhibiting the action of male androgens (sex hormones).
Chaste Tree is a large shrub (up to twenty-two feet tall) native to the Mediterranean and southern Europe. Vitex berry, Chaste tree berries (Agnus castus) Also Known As: Vitex, Chaste Tree, Abraham’s Balm, or Monk’s Pepper
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