Vitex (Vitex agnus castus) has captivated herbalists and healers for centuries. As we venture into the lush depths of its botany and healing properties, prepare to be inspired by the versatile virtues that Vitex berry holds.
One of the fascinating things about the study of herbal medicines is getting to see how a single plant has been perceived and used across various regions, herbal traditions and time periods. Frequently, plants are known universally for their core characteristics and are applied throughout various traditions in similar ways. However, there are examples of herbs that have widely diverse and hotly debated indications; Vitex, also known as Chaste tree berry, is one such herb.
Botany & Benefits
Vitex medicine comes from shrubby bushes or small trees with tender leaves and speckled flowers. The berry is the most common part of the plant used today, although in Ancient Greece the leaves were added to wine and the branches were used to make furniture.
Have you ever received conflicting recommendations about how and when to use Vitex? The truth is, there is disagreement in the herbal community surrounding the specific applications of this herb. Some say it is strictly for boosting progesterone, some say it is over promoted, and some say it influences the pituitary, resulting in normalization of estrogen and progesterone balance. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, "A decline in progesterone is the first hormonal change to cause symptoms in a woman approaching menopause." With this information, many holistic practitioners view Vitex as an ideal choice for supporting menopausal discomforts. However, it is not recommended if a woman is already taking Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Here at WishGarden, we take the stance that Vitex supports women in all hormonal stages, and is found in many of our women’s formulas. This herb is well known for its role in supporting the female hormonal system, but what makes it special and so versatile is its ability to bring the body back into balance as it harmonizes the menstrual cycle, and does so for those who are on different sides of the spectrum when it comes to their hormones. So, whether you’re menstruating, pre-menopause or menopause, Vitex can help!
Some of its amazing benefits include:
- Supports cycle regularity and fertility
- Supports the libido and sexual desire
- Tames sexual overstimulation
- Soothes discomforts associated with menstruation and menopause
- Soothes digestion upset
Keep in mind, it’s always best to get advice from a practitioner when choosing a natural regimen for your hormonal cycle.
History in the Making
An herb’s common name can tell us a lot about its history. The “chaste” in chaste tree berry refers to the berry’s legendary capacity to curb sexual appetites, particularly in men. Both Pliny, the Roman documenter of natural medicine, and Dioscorides, the Greek physician, noted this effect in their works. This quality of the berry made it useful for young vestal virgins wishing to protect themselves from overly amorous suitors. These women would place the foul-smelling branches of this tree on their beds and carry it around with them as a symbol. The common names Monk’s Pepper and Monk’s Protector tell of its history as an herb used in monasteries and convents to guard the vow of chastity.
Today, on the other hand, Vitex agnus-castus is very famous for helping women cultivate fertility & balance menstrual cycle irregularities. These days you can find Vitex listed on practically every herbal formula that says “Woman” on it!
A WishGarden Favorite!
Amongst all of WishGarden’s hormonal supportive formulas that Vitex can be found in, Hot Flash Tamer has been one of the favorites over the years and has continued to keep its ranking!
Also featuring herbs like Raspberry leaf, Black Cohosh and Burdock root, Hot Flash Tamer not only helps to cool you off, it also supports hormonal balance and supports the functionality of the liver. Our livers help us process excess hormones running around the body causing havoc. This formula has best results when taken regularly as a tonic for daily support.
Rebecca Younger is passionate about herbs and women's health. She aspires to plant seeds of inspiration within her community about plant medicine and healthier ways of life. She studied Herbal Medicine at Herbalism Roots in Denver and is a certified Doula through the Matrona Foundation. She is the customer journey lead at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.