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Agnus Castus - Vitex

Agnus Castus - Vitex Benefits

Vitex Agnus castus has been used since ancient times as a female remedy. One of its properties was to reduce sexual desire and it is recorded that Roman wives whose husbands were abroad with the legions spread the aromatic leaves on their couches for this purpose. It became known as the chasteberry tree. During the Middle Ages, Chasteberry's supposed effect on sexual desire led to it becoming a food spice at monasteries, where it was called "Monk's pepper" or "Cloister pepper."

Agnus castus Uses:

Acne (associated with menstrual cycle), Amenorrhea, Catarrh, Cholera, Colic, Diarrhea, Dysmenorrhea, Dyspepsia, Ear disorders, Endometriosis, Female infertility, Fever, Fibrocystic Breast Disease, Headache, Heart Disease, Hemicrania, Hemorrhoids, Liver disorders, Malaria, Menopause, Menorrhagia (Heavy Menstruation), Menstrual Difficulties (Secondary Amenorrhea), Nausea, Premenstrual Syndrome, Rheumatism, Skin diseases, Ulcers, Worms.

Female Reproductive System

Traditionally, it has been an important European remedy for controlling and regulating the female reproductive system. Long used to regularise monthly periods and treat amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, it was used to help ease menopausal problems and aid the birth process. Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Theophrastus mention the use of Agnus Castus for a wide variety of conditions, including hemorrhage following childbirth, and also to assist with the 'passing of afterbirth'. Decoctions of the fruit and plant were also used in sitz baths for diseases of the uterus.

Because of the intact herbal culture in Germany and other parts of Europe, agnus-castus has not lost its popularity. In fact it remains probably the most commonly used herb for regulating hormones and relieving menstrual difficulties and is considered to be the best herb for ailments such as fibroid cysts of the uterus and endometriosis.

Agnus Castus has not been significantly investigated for its therapeutic effects. However, preliminary investigations do indeed show the presence of compounds which are able to adjust the production of female hormones. Studies have shown that extracts of Agnus castus can stimulate the release of Leutenizing Hormone (LH) and inhibit the release of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). This suggests that the volatile oil has a progesterone-like effect. Its benefits stem from its actions upon the pituitary gland specifically on the production of luteinizing hormone. This increases progesterone production and helps regulate a woman's cycle. Agnus Castus may also regulate prolactin secretion. The ability to decrease excessive prolactin levels may benefit infertile women.

Anxiety and PMS

A study conducted in London (double blind study) showed a 60% group reduction or elimination of PMS symptoms such as anxiety, nervous tension, insomnia, or mood changes, from subjects who were taking dried agnus castus capsules.

Employing an aqueous extract from the fruit, a 1979 study reported good results on premenstrual water retention. Women were able to sustain a good level of milk production for breast feeding while taking this herb. While it took some time for the drug to take effect, the women were able to continue the use of the drug for months without harmful side effects.

Agnus Castus - Vitex Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Names:

Vitex negundo, Vitex agnus castus

Common Names:

Agnus Castus, Five Leafed Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Nirgundi, Sambhalu, Monk's Berry, Monk's pepper, cloister pepper, Indrani, Nirgandhi, Nochi, Vitex, Vitex Agnus Castus

Suggested Properties:

Leaves: anti-parasitical, alterative, aromatic, vermifuge, pain reliever Root: tonic, febrifuge, expectorant, diuretic Fruit: nervine, cephalic, emmanagogue


With its emphasis on long-term balancing of a woman's hormonal system, Agnus Castus is not a fast-acting herb. For premenstrual syndrome or frequent or heavy periods, Agnus Castus can be used continuously for four to six months. Women with amenorrhea and infertility can remain on Agnus Castus for twelve to eighteen months, unless pregnancy occurs during treatment.

Side Effects

Side effects of using Agnus Castus are rare. Minor gastrointestinal upset and a mild skin rash with itching have been reported in less than 2% of the women monitored while taking Agnus Castus. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

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Has Agnus Castus - Vitex worked for you?

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Angela 's avatar  Angela 14/01/2014 08:24

Hi I first tried AC for heavy painfull periods for me it didn't work, but it did get rid of Migraine which I'd had for 23 years 3 times a month either end of my period and at ovulation. I know it got rid of the migraine because when it didn't work on the periods I stopped taking it and the Migraine returned. As the migraine was extreme I took an injection to get rid of it, I decided to go back to taking AC I've been taking AC for 8 years and have had no side affects at all. I do keep thinking I should come off it as I am now 60 but I'm worried the migraine may return. I do only take 800mg (2 capsules). So if you suffer with migraine and you think it may be hormonal this herb is worth a try.

cupcakeaddict 's avatar  cupcakeaddict 30/10/2013 09:51

I had really bad pmt, I've taken 100mg of it for 3 months and I'm a new person, not a sign of pmt, its probably saved me from divorce!

rachel 's avatar  rachel 14/10/2013 08:59

i was suffering painful sex , pms really bad , and ovulation pain really bad too severe cramps im aware i have a cyst on the side i get this agony, ive been taking agnus castus now for 19 days up to yesterday i started taking the pill form, before that the capsules 1000mg a tab/pill, twice a day, yesterday and the day before yet again i was dreading this painful sex, honestly it was as if ive never had pain before im dedicated to it ive been alot nicer in person, less moody,my skin has improved alot, at first i read that those with regular cycles shouldnt take it, i have a regular cycle i was a day late but if im honest even if i was days later ide still continue as it can restart your cycle regulating hormones, apparently my hormones was ok says the doctor, but i disagree , they wasnt ok for me.. something was wrong, which agnus castus made right ,at last! x rachel

Emily 's avatar  Emily 03/10/2013 09:58

I had a scary time with heavy bleeding for several months followed (naturally) by severe anaemia. My doctor put me on a long-term iron supplement and suspected I might have fibroids. This was a year and a half ago, and the herbalist who recommended Agnus castus simply is an angel. I am 48 and now much healthier generally. The agnus castus was taken in tincture form and had a seemingly immediate effect on headaches related to periods. I think it is a remarkable result considering how ill I felt.

queen 's avatar  queen 12/06/2013 10:32

where can i get agnus cactus

mithun dey 's avatar  mithun dey 13/05/2013 15:44

how to order plz tell me that

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