I’ve just attended an herbal workshop and was blown away with the potency of chasteberry. I therefore have to share it with you.
The chaste tree is a small shrub that produces peppery-tasting fruit that has long been known for its hormone-balancing properties.
The name “chasteberry” dates back to the Greek physician Dioscorides who recommended it to help the wives of soldiers remain chaste while their husbands were in battle.
For both menstruating and menopausal women (and every other woman in between)
In large amounts, chasteberry can suppress sexual drive. In lower doses, it can be a great tonic for both menstruating and menopausal women.
The American Family Physician reports that in menstruating women, chasteberry has been historically used to treat uterine bleeding, painful menstruation, breast discomfort, infertility and amenorrhea (a lack of menstruation).
In Germany, where many doctors prefer to prescribe plants and herbs such as chasteberry over pharmaceuticals, it has been used for “luteal phase disorders” which typically results from low progesterone levels.
Chasteberry contains naturally occurring progestins which explains its efficacy and ability to offset the work of the antagonistic estrogen (aka estradiol).
The German Clinic of Diagnostics in Wiesbaden states: “The risk/benefit ratio of the new Vitex preparation can be rated as very good, with significant efficacy for all aspects of the multifaceted and inhomogeneous clinical picture of PMS, with a safety profile comparable to other Vitex preparations.”
There are less studies on the ability to eliminate or lessen hot flashes in women with menopause but anecdotally speaking, I’ve worked with many such women who swore by chasteberry.
The studies I quoted above state that the symptoms improve after 3 months of using chasteberry. I’ve seen many women feeling better much sooner than that.
How do you bring chasteberry to your life and diet?
Yes, you can always go the supplement way. But, if you want to save some money and make this peppery berry a part of a daily routine, there are two options:
1). Start with ½ teaspoon of chasteberry powder (my favorite if from Mountain Rose Organics) which you can add to your smoothies.
2). Make a chasteberry tea from the berries (you can get them here).
If you like it, make larger quantities of it using the proportions shown in the recipe. As always, feel free to experiment and modify the recipe to please your palate. In the past, I played with this recipe by adding crushed cardamon pods or vanilla powder.
- 1 tablespoon rose petals (where to buy)
- 1 teaspoon whole chaste tree berry, crushed (use a grinder or pestle and mortar) (where to buy)
- 1 teaspoon hibiscus flowers (where to buy)
- 1 teaspoon crushed star anise, about one star
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon chips (where to buy)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, honey, coconut nectar or 1 drop of stevia
- Steep all the herbs and spices for 10 minutes in 4 cups of hot water, add the sweetener and enjoy hot or cold.
Who should NOT use chasteberry: Vitex berry is not recommended for women who use hormonal contraceptives, anti-psychotic drugs or Parkinson’s medicines. It may also interact with drugs that affect the pituitary gland.