What Are Chaste Berries?
Chaste berries are the common name for Vitex agnus-castus, a type of flowering plant indigenous to the Mediterranean region. It is also called by other common names like Chaste Tree, Abraham’s Balm, and Monk’s Pepper. Chaste berry has been well known since its inception and was described in the 4th century BC by Theophrastus (a Greek botanist).
Chaste berry is well cultivated in many subtropical and tropical regions globally, mainly due to its value as foliage. The seeds and fruits of the chaste berry are also wholesome for consumption, mainly as a subsistence food. It bears lavender flowers of spikes and produces an aroma that attracts butterflies. A chaste berry tree may grow up to a height of over 30 feet, especially with full sun and well-drained soil. Agnuside is among the most important ingredients in chaste berry and is chemically an ester of aucubin and p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Agnuside’s brilliant areas of benefit include female reproductive cycles, which many researchers believe is due to its strong effect on the pituitary gland. A study has also shown that chaste berry fruit extracts bind to the opiate receptors of the brain, which may explain its ability to relieve discomfort.
This berry fruit is indeed a chaste one; it is well known for its health contributing factor, which is fostered by its remarkable composition:
- Essential oils (including cineol, limonene, and sabinene): They are all-natural chemicals that give the fruits their odor and flavor. A mix of essential oils is often used in aromatherapy for their ability to decrease blood pressure and heart rate.
- Flavonoids (kaempferol, orientin, casting, and isovitexin): They are plant pigments naturally gotten from a variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The chemicals have great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral strength.
- Anti-inflammatory compounds (e.g., iridoid glycoside): Compounds that have been reported to have the same effectiveness in curing inflammation as NSAIDs with very few side effects.
Mode of Action
Chaste berry raises the activity of dopamine in the brain. This results in a reciprocal reduction in prolactin synthesis.
However, the hormonal changes mentioned above appear to be dose-specific. Low doses (i.e., 200 mg) of chaste berry can raise levels of progesterone and prolactin (possibly through the inhibition of other hormones (LH and FSH). At increase doses (500 mg) of these fruits, prolactin levels may be lowered (with FSH and LH levels unchanged).
Also, chaste berry may help stimulate opioid receptors. Opioid medications are used as pain relievers (e.g., codeine and morphine); therefore, chaste berry may provide its consumers with some pain relief by acting on the same pathways within their body.
Signs You May Need Chaste Berry
Abnormalities in one’s menstrual cycle are among the most common signs that you may reap from chaste berry extracts. This includes premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is even the severe form of PMS. Additional signs that a lady may need chaste berry include poor reproductive health/function and low progesterone levels. Men who have a constricted flow of urine may also reap some advantages from a chaste berry.
So what are The Amazing Health Benefits of This Herb?
Many of us do not believe in miracles, but for those who do, taking some extracts of chaste berry boosts one’s general health status miraculously. Don’t be hurried to quit reading the benefits below without tapping into the miracles;
Health Benefits of Chaste Berry
Chaste berry is frequently used as a supplement, basically for women’s hormonal imbalance. However, the fruit is not yet approved by the FDA for continual medical use due to insufficient clinical research. Although some regulations have set manufacturing standards for the supplements but don’t guarantee their safety or effectiveness.
Talk to your medical doctor right before supplementing with chaste berry, and DO NOT take the supplement in place of your prescribed or recommended medications from your doctor.
Chaste berry is commonly used to ease menstrual symptoms, especially food cravings, cramps, and inflammations. It may also support a lot of stress, anxiety, and irritability.
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
In a trial on about 100 women with PMS, over half of those treated with chaste berry for about 6 days for 6 consecutive cycles had significantly lowered breast tenderness and pain, edema, constipation, irritability, anger, depression, and migraines.
In some patients, PMS symptoms may be caused by an excessive release of prolactin from the anterior pituitary gland. In some other cases, it can be a result of estrogen to progesterone imbalance.
High daily doses (up to 400 mg) of chaste berry may address PMS symptoms by lowering prolactin circulation in the body, which normalizes estrogen levels. Also, this lowers progesterone levels, thus normalizing the ratio of estrogen to progesterone. These hormonal balances may give significant relief during PMS.
The existing shreds of the evidence above suggest that chaste berry may help treat your PMS. You may start taking it for this purpose if your doctor determines it could help your case. Never take the fruit in place of what your doctor prescribes.
Menstrual Cycle and Female Fertility Disorders
In Germany, presently, chaste berries are used to treat luteal phase disorders. Now, this is the second half of the menstrual cycle, usually shortened in ladies with the disorder.
The luteal phase problem is caused by progesterone deficiency in the very first phase of the menstrual cycle. Amenorrhea, another menstrual cycle disorder, is the complete absence of menstruation. This can be caused by prolonged hormone fluctuations, pituitary tumors, thyroid malfunction, untimely menopause, and pregnancy.
In these two conditions, it is quite not easy and/or impossible to be pregnant. Patients also experience a lot of other challenges in their PMS cycles.
In a clinical study of about 96 women with amenorrhea, luteal phase disorder, and infertility with an unknown cause, chaste berry raised pregnancy rates compared to the placebo. Pregnancy takes place twice as often in folks who consumed a chaste berry for 12 weeks (i.e., 3 months).
These effects were probably made possible by normalizing progesterone levels, thus helping to achieve pregnancy by correcting progesterone deficiencies.
Besides, women taking chaste berry may have a more regular menstrual cycle. In a study of about 52 women with an excess of prolactin in circulation (hyperprolactinemia), chaste berry enhanced fertility and boosted irregular periods. This was made possible by normalizing prolactin levels.
But possible is this? In a 12 weeks study of 100 women with migraines and PMS, chaste berry therapy lowered the frequency of monthly migraines by over 50 percent in 42 patients. Also, 57 patients taking chaste berry had over 50 % reduced the frequency of monthly headaches days.
This is a clinical condition characterized by endometrium development (uterine-tissue lining) outside of the uterus. It is often caused either by hormonal imbalances or genetic factors. A common symptom of this condition is serious inflammation around the uterus, leading to pain and profuse bleeding during the menstrual cycle.
Chaste berry can help lower the inflammation rate around the uterus by balancing hormonal malfunctioning, therefore making the symptoms almost less painful.
It can also relieve symptoms by lowering inflammation and pain. In a rat study, many compounds in chaste berry lowered pain (probably by stimulating the opioid receptors) and inflammation in many parts of the tested animals.
In cells, chaste berry exhibited mild anti-inflammatory activity.
One of the major cause of acne is hormonal imbalances, which is more pronounced during PMS. Due to this, many ladies experience acne before their menstrual cycles. Because chaste berry may help correct these hormonal fluctuations (by reducing prolactin), it may cure premenstrual acne.
Chaste berry may also cure premenstrual acne due to its great antioxidative and antibacterial properties. In a cell-based research study, gel extracts of chaste berry hampered the growth of acne-forming bacteria.
Are you surprised as to why mentioning its ability to repel insects? You should also note that these insects are vectors, carriers, and reservoirs of many deadly pathogens. So, reducing the number of insects around you is yet another measure to prevent disease. In a research study, spray from a chaste berry (monk’s pepper) seed extract was effective in keeping mosquitos, ticks, fleas, and biting flies away from animals and humans for about 6 hours. Further research is, therefore, necessary to confirm this preliminary finding,