This Ayurvedic herb, also known as vitex, is a female hormonal harmonizer that can help ease PMS symptoms along with other women’s health concerns, including stress and dopamine imbalance.
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Use Chasteberry for PMS, Menopause, and Fertility, not Chastity
Chaste tree berries (Vitex agnus-castus) were added to pepper grinders in monasteries and called monk’s pepper, because, as the story goes, they helped monks resist sexual temptation. In reality, there is little if any evidence that chasteberry will suppress sexual desire in either men or women. But chasteberry CAN support female reproductive health, in particular symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
In fact, has been used to support reproductive health for thousands of years. In Europe, chasteberry is an approved treatment for menstrual cycle irregularities, breast tenderness, and the numerous other symptoms associated with PMS.
It has also been shown to support a healthy transition into menopause and, for younger women, has been used to support healthy fertility.
The Science on Chasteberry for PMS Symptom Relief
Studies show chasteberry provides support for the following PMS-related concerns when taken one week before the start of menses:
- Mild headaches
- Breast swelling
In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, the effects of chasteberry were evaluated in 128 women with PMS concerns.
The women were divided into two groups: One group was given 40 drops of a chasteberry extract for six days prior to the onset of menses for a total of six cycles. The other group of women were given a placebo for six days prior to the onset of menses for a total of six cycles.
At the end of each woman’s cycle, they were given a questionnaire which evaluated the symptoms listed above. The chasteberry group reported significant improvements in PMS-related symptoms compared to the placebo group.
Another study, on 170 women with PMS concerns, saw a 50 percent reduction in PMS symptoms using chasteberry compared to a placebo.
In a meta-analysis evaluating 12 studies on chasteberry for PMS-related concerns, 7out of the 12 studies showed chaste tree superior to the placebo.
In two studies in the review, chasteberry was found to support healthy prolactin and progesterone levels, both of which are linked to PMS symptoms.
In addition to the findings above, other studies have found chasteberry to support PMS-related constipation and water retention.
Chasteberry: The Hormonal Harmonizer
Chasteberry, according to research, has a balancing effect on many of the normal hormonal changes associated with PMS, including:
- Elevated estrogen
- Decreased progesterone
- Elevated prolactin
- Stress-related dopamine imbalance
It’s thought that stress may play an important role in hormonal balance.
At night and prior to menstruation, when under stress, the body may produce excess amounts of prolactin, a hormone made by the pituitary gland and responsible for swollen breasts, water retention, bloating, and other PMS-related symptoms. Elevated prolactin levels may also congest the lymphatic system leading to an aggravation of PMS symptoms.
Chasteberry has been shown, through clinical studies, to boost the natural production of dopamine, which in turn regulates both thyroid and prolactin production, harmonizing hormones and providing higher brain center support.
Stress may also be a factor in lowering progesterone levels. Progesterone is a natural precursor to cortisol, which is the body’s primary stress hormone. If the body is under chronic or excessive stress, the adrenals can use any excess available progesterone to manufacture more stress-fighting cortisol. This can result in depleted progesterone levels and disturb the body’s normal levels of estrogen.
To make PMS matters worse, stress may trigger the production of more estrogen, which can lead to further hormonal imbalances, blood sugar concerns, weight gain, and more.
Chasteberry plays a balancing role when it comes to the hormonal footprint of PMS.
See also Ayurveda and Adrenal Fatigue
How to Use Chasteberry
Most studies suggest 30-40 drops of an extract 3 times per day for 2-3 months.
Since the effects of Chasteberry should be constant throughout the day, I suggest taking it as follows: Put 30 drops in 32 ounces of water and finish those 32 ounces by the end of the day.. Do this for one week. If you feel fine with no side effects, add 60 drops to your 32 ounces of water and try that out the following week. If that goes well, then add 90 drops to the 32 ounces of water and drink 32 ounces of that mixture every day for 2-3 months to fully reset your hormonal balance and progesterone levels.
Chasteberry can be used effectively alone or in combination with manjistha to support lymphatic health, shatavari to support fertility and healthy menstruation, and with LifeSpa’s Menopause Support formula to support a healthy transition into menopause.
See also Top 5 Lymphatic Solutions for PMS
Note: Hormonal imbalances are complex and it is best to have hormones tested before supplementation. While Chasteberry is a hormone harmonizer, it should not be taken when progesterone levels are too high.