Chaste Berry

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Agnus castus or Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus-castus L.)

 

Parts used: dried fruit

Constituents: diterpenes, iridoid glycosides, flavonoids (including casticin), triglycerides, volatile oil

Pharmacopoeia Standard: the dried material should contain no less than 0.08 per cent of casticin.

Actions: dopaminergic, prolactin inhibiting

Indications: premenstrual syndrome, irregular or absent periods, breast tenderness

Applications: Increased levels of the hormone prolactin are often responsible for menstrual irregularities and pre-menstrual syndrome; agnus-castus has been shown to inhibit its production and clinical trials have demonstrated that this can help regularise the menstrual cycle, improving symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, fluid retention and headache. Agnus-castus may also be used to treat acne with a hormonal cause.

Combinations: with Black Cohosh for premenstrual and menopausal problems; with Echinacea for acne; with feverfew for menstrual migraine.

Safety: Contraindicated in pregnancy.

Dosage: 400mg twice a day. Treatment should be continued for at least 3 months.

 

Bibliography

Atmaca M, Kumru S, Tezcan E. 2003 Fluoxetine versus Vitex agnus castus extract in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2003 Apr; 18 (3) :191-5. PubMed PMID:12672170.

Berger D, Schaffner W, Schrader E, Meier B, Brattström A. 2000 Efficacy of Vitex agnus castus L extract Ze 440 in patients with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2000 Nov; 264 (3) :150-3. PubMed PMID:11129515.

Carmichael AR. 2008 Can Vitex Agnus Castus be Used for the Treatment of Mastalgia? What is the Current Evidence?. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 Sep; 5 (3) :247-50. PubMed PMID:18830450; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2529385.

Chen SN, Friesen JB, Webster D, Nikolic D, van Breemen RB, Wang ZJ, Fong HH, Farnsworth NR, Pauli GF. 2011 Phytoconstituents from Vitex agnus-castus fruits. Fitoterapia. 2011 Jun; 82 (4) :528-33. PubMed PMID:21163339; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3081944.

Choudhary MI, Azizuddin, Jalil S, Nawaz SA, Khan KM, Tareen RB, Atta-ur-Rahman. 2009 Antiinflammatory and lipoxygenase inhibitory compounds from Vitex agnus-castus. Phytother Res. 2009 Sep; 23 (9) :1336-9. PubMed PMID:19173281.

Ciotta L, Pagano I, Stracquadanio M, Di Leo S, Andò A, Formuso C. 2011 [Psychic aspects of the premenstrual dysphoric disorders New therapeutic strategies: our experience with Vitex agnus castus]. Minerva Ginecol. 2011 Jun; 63 (3) :237-245. PubMed PMID:21654609.

Daniele C, Thompson Coon J, Pittler MH, Ernst E. 2005 Vitex agnus castus: a systematic review of adverse events. Drug Saf. 2005; 28 (4) :319-32. PubMed PMID:15783241.

Dante G, Facchinetti F. 2011 Herbal treatments for alleviating premenstrual symptoms: a systematic review. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2011 Mar; 32 (1) :42-51. PubMed PMID:21171936.

Dericks-Tan JS, Schwinn P, Hildt C. 2003 Dose-dependent stimulation of melatonin secretion after administration of Agnus castus. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2003 Feb; 111 (1) :44-6. PubMed PMID:12605350.

Dugoua JJ, Seely D, Perri D, Koren G, Mills E. 2008 Safety and efficacy of chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Winter; 15 (1) :e74-9. PubMed PMID:18204102.

Döll M. 2009 [The premenstrual syndrome: effectiveness of Vitex agnus castus]. Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2009 May; 32 (5) :186-91. PubMed PMID:19469189.

Freeman EW. 2010 Therapeutic management of premenstrual syndrome. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Dec; 11 (17) :2879-89. PubMed PMID:20687778.

Halaska M, Beles P, Gorkow C, Sieder C. 1999 Treatment of cyclical mastalgia with a solution containing a Vitex agnus castus extract: results of a placebo-controlled double-blind study. Breast. 1999 Aug; 8 (4) :175-81. PubMed PMID:14731436.

He Z, Chen R, Zhou Y, Geng L, Zhang Z, Chen S, Yao Y, Lu J, Lin S. 2009 Treatment for premenstrual syndrome with Vitex agnus castus: A prospective, randomized, multi-center placebo controlled study in China. Maturitas. 2009 May 20; 63 (1) :99-103. PubMed PMID:19269753.

Ibrahim NA, Shalaby AS, Farag RS, Elbaroty GS, Nofal SM, Hassan EM. 2008 Gynecological efficacy and chemical investigation of Vitex agnus-castus L fruits growing in Egypt. Nat Prod Res. 2008 Apr 15; 22 (6) :537-46. PubMed PMID:18415863.

Jarry H, Spengler B, Porzel A, Schmidt J, Wuttke W, Christoffel V. 2003 Evidence for estrogen receptor beta-selective activity of Vitex agnus-castus and isolated flavones. Planta Med. 2003 Oct; 69 (10) :945-7. PubMed PMID:14648399.

Jarry H, Leonhardt S, Gorkow C, Wuttke W. 1994 In vitro prolactin but not LH and FSH release is inhibited by compounds in extracts of Agnus castus: direct evidence for a dopaminergic principle by the dopamine receptor assay. Exp Clin Endocrinol. 1994; 102 (6) :448-54. PubMed PMID:7890021.

Kuruüzüm-Uz A, Ströch K, Demirezer LO, Zeeck A. 2003 Glucosides from Vitex agnus-castus. Phytochemistry. 2003 Aug; 63 (8) :959-64. PubMed PMID:12895546.

Liu J, Burdette JE, Sun Y, Deng S, Schlecht SM, Zheng W, Nikolic D, Mahady G, van Breemen RB, Fong HH, Pezzuto JM, Bolton JL, Farnsworth NR. 2004 Isolation of linoleic acid as an estrogenic compound from the fruits of Vitex agnus-castus L (chaste-berry). Phytomedicine. 2004 Jan; 11 (1) :18-23. PubMed PMID:14974442.

Loch EG, Selle H, Boblitz N. 2000 Treatment of premenstrual syndrome with a phytopharmaceutical formulation containing Vitex agnus castus. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000 Apr; 9 (3) :315-20. PubMed PMID:10787228.

Ma L, Lin S, Chen R, Wang X. 2010 Treatment of moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome with Vitex agnus castus (BNO 1095) in Chinese women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Aug; 26 (8) :612-6. PubMed PMID:20334585.

Mazaro-Costa R, Andersen ML, Hachul H, Tufik S. 2010 Medicinal plants as alternative treatments for female sexual dysfunction: utopian vision or possible treatment in climacteric women?. J Sex Med. 2010 Nov; 7 (11) :3695-714. PubMed PMID:20722793.

Mehlhorn H, Schmahl G, Schmidt J. 2005 Extract of the seeds of the plant Vitex agnus castus proven to be highly efficacious as a repellent against ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and biting flies. Parasitol Res. 2005 Mar; 95 (5) :363-5. PubMed PMID:15682335.

Meier B, Berger D, Hoberg E, Sticher O, Schaffner W. 2000 Pharmacological activities of Vitex agnus-castus extracts in vitro. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct; 7 (5) :373-81. PubMed PMID:11081988.

Merz PG, Gorkow C, Schrödter A, Rietbrock S, Sieder C, Loew D, Dericks-Tan JS, Taubert HD. 1996 The effects of a special Agnus castus extract (BP1095E1) on prolactin secretion in healthy male subjects. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 1996; 104 (6) :447-53. PubMed PMID:9021345.

Mesaik MA, Azizuddin, Murad S, Khan KM, Tareen RB, Ahmed A, Atta-ur-Rahman, Choudhary MI. 2009 Isolation and immunomodulatory properties of a flavonoid, casticin from Vitex agnus-castus. Phytother Res. 2009 Nov; 23 (11) :1516-20. PubMed PMID:19441009.

Nasri S, Oryan S, Rohani AH, Amin GR. 2007 The effects of Vitex agnus castus extract and its interaction with dopaminergic system on LH and testosterone in male mice. Pak J Biol Sci. 2007 Jul 15; 10 (14) :2300-7. PubMed PMID:19070148.

Sağlam H, Pabuçcuoğlu A, Kivçak B. 2007 Antioxidant activity of Vitex agnus-castus L extracts. Phytother Res. 2007 Nov; 21 (11) :1059-60. PubMed PMID:17600861.

Schellenberg R. 2001 Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study. BMJ. 2001 Jan 20; 322 (7279) :134-7. PubMed PMID:11159568; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC26589.

Sehmisch S, Boeckhoff J, Wille J, Seidlova-Wuttke D, Rack T, Tezval M, Wuttke W, Stuermer KM, Stuermer EK. 2009 Vitex agnus castus as prophylaxis for osteopenia after orchidectomy in rats compared with estradiol and testosterone supplementation. Phytother Res. 2009 Jun; 23 (6) :851-8. PubMed PMID:19107741.

Sliutz G, Speiser P, Schultz AM, Spona J, Zeillinger R. 1993 Agnus castus extracts inhibit prolactin secretion of rat pituitary cells. Horm Metab Res. 1993 May; 25 (5) :253-5. PubMed PMID:8330858.

Tamagno G, Burlacu MC, Daly AF, Beckers A. 2007 Vitex agnus castus might enrich the pharmacological armamentarium for medical treatment of prolactinoma. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2007 Nov; 135 (1) :139-40. PubMed PMID:17602822.

Tschudin S, Huber R. 2000 [Treatment of cyclical mastalgia with a solution containing a Vitex agnus castus extract: Results of a placebo-controlled double-blind study Breast 1999;8:175-181]. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2000 Jun; 7 (3) :162-4. PubMed PMID:11001647.

van Die MD, Burger HG, Bone KM, Cohen MM, Teede HJ. 2009a Hypericum perforatum with Vitex agnus-castus in menopausal symptoms: a randomized, controlled trial. Menopause. 2009 Jan-Feb; 16 (1) :156-63. PubMed PMID:18791483.

van Die MD, Bone KM, Burger HG, Reece JE, Teede HJ. 2009b Effects of a combination of Hypericum perforatum and Vitex agnus-castus on PMS-like symptoms in late-perimenopausal women: findings from a subpopulation analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Sep; 15 (9) :1045-8. PubMed PMID:19757982.

van Die MD, Burger HG, Teede HJ, Bone KM. 2009c Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste-Tree/Berry) in the treatment of menopause-related complaints. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug; 15 (8) :853-62. PubMed PMID:19678775.

Webster DE, He Y, Chen SN, Pauli GF, Farnsworth NR, Wang ZJ. 2011 Opioidergic mechanisms underlying the actions of Vitex agnus-castus L. Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Jan 1; 81 (1) :170-7. PubMed PMID:20854795; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2993511.

Weisskopf M, Schaffner W, Jundt G, Sulser T, Wyler S, Tullberg-Reinert H. 2005 A Vitex agnus-castus extract inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in prostate epithelial cell lines. Planta Med. 2005 Oct; 71 (10) :910-6. PubMed PMID:16254821.

Wuttke W, Jarry H, Christoffel V, Spengler B, Seidlová-Wuttke D. 2003 Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)--pharmacology and clinical indications. Phytomedicine. 2003 May; 10 (4) :348-57. PubMed PMID:12809367.

 

 

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Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH

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Last updated 27th November 2014     ©Purple Sage Botanicals