Vitex Agnus-Castus (Vac)

Vitex agnus-castus 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."

Vitex 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, and 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 breastfeeding 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.

Vitex agnus-castus Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Names:

Vitex agnus castus

Common Names:

Agnus Castus, Nirgundi, Sambhalu, Monk's Berry, Monk's pepper, cloister pepper, Indrani, Nochi, Vitex, Vitex Agnus Castus

Suggested Properties:

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


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.

Important: Click Here to Read Our Disclaimer

Used This Herb? How Would You Rate It?

Current User Rating 6.6/10 Based On 306 Votes

Has Vitex agnus-castus Worked For You?

This page is not a wiki so it is not editable like Wikipedia, however we would like to hear your information and comments and sometimes incorporate these into the articles.

Click Here To Post a Comment
Karen32_suzanne 's avatar  Karen32_suzanne 06/05/2013 14:52

I am 49 and seem to be peri menopausal. My cycles are all over the board lately actually missed my period the months of February and March. I read about Chasteberry and purchased the pill form at my local herb shop. After 4 days of taking it as directed, my period returned. Anyone know what my chances are of conceiving while taking the herb? Also, I'm taking damiana for libido at half the recommended dosage initially. Should I discontinue the damiana or is it safe in combination with the Chasteberry. At my age, I sure do not want to lessen my sexual desire while taking Chasteberry! Helpful advise appreciated. Thanks!

25 people liked this.
Tartanlass 's avatar  Tartanlass 19/03/2011 20:11

I have a question, I am pre-menapausal, heavy periods, irregular and have no sex drive. Is Vitex good for me or is there something else natural that I could use?

10 people liked this.
Sherol 's avatar  Sherol 30/03/2011 10:10

Please advise me on what to use in place of premelle 2.5 which my doctor prescribed as my left ovary was removed 4 years ago and now I am suffering with hot flushes and mood swings. I am unhappy with the above product as I have gained alot of extra weight. I am also needing something that could help me lose weight or control my appetite. I would also like a remedy for hayfever/sinus's.
thanking you so much
Sherol Ferreira
ps. Also let me know where I could buy such products.

8 people liked this.
Dominiquesummerscales 's avatar  Dominiquesummerscales 11/03/2011 17:13

How long, on average, does it take to work?

8 people liked this.
MaryAnne 's avatar  MaryAnne 06/02/2013 11:43

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and only had 3-5 periods a year. I was told I would have slim chances in conceiving, this was correct. I saw a naturopath and was put on chaste tree and was pregnant within 3 months of taking this herb. I've now had 2 children and am on this herb again in tablet form unlike the tonic which I took before and I feel great and balanced. Wonder herb ?

6 people liked this.
Kim 's avatar  Kim 15/02/2013 22:22

I had 3 healthy babies followed by 2 miscarriages due to low progesterone. I was recommended to take vitex / chaste tree and it worked wonders. My body held the pregnancy! I took it for a few months before conceiving and up until 20 weeks.

3 people liked this.
View All Vitex agnus-castus Reviews and Comments