Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)
"Chaste Berry" for Hormone Balance
Vitex, commonly known as "Chaste-berry" because of it’s effect on hormones, has hormonal effects on both men and women.
Vitex inhibits the action of male androgens (sex hormones). The name "Chaste tree" came from it’s use by monks to decrease libido. Vitex effects prolactin, the hormone responsible for making breast milk in women (although men have prolactin hormone, too). In very small doses, (120mg), prolactin may be increased in men. In higher doses, prolactin is decreased in both men and women.
In men, Vitex is used to treat prostate cancer because of its ability to inhibit male hormones and keep prolactin levels low. In women, Vitex has progesterone effects and is often used as a hormone regulator when more progesterone is indicated, such as in menopause.
The more common uses of Vitex include:
- Prostate cancer
- Female menopause
- Irregular periods
Recommended dose: 2 caps (500mg) per day between meals.
- Merz G, Gorkow C, Schrödter A, Rietbrock S, Sieder C, et al. The effects of a special Agnus castus extract (BP1095E1) on prolactin secretion in healthy male subjects. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1996; 104(6): 447-453.
- Sliutz G, Speiser P, Schultz AM, et al. Agnus castus extracts inhibit prolactin secretion of rat pituitary cells. Horm Metab Res 1993;25:253–5.
- Böhnert KJ. The use of Vitex agnus castus for hyperprolactinemia. Quart Rev Nat Med 1997;Spring:19–21.
- Bone K. Vitex agnus-castus: Scientific studies and clinical applications. Eur J Herbal Med 1994;1:12–5.
- Milewicz A, Gejdel E, Sworen H, et al. Vitex agnus castus extract for the treatment of menstrual irregularities due to latent hyperprolactinemia. Arzneim Forsch 1993;43:752–6 [in German].