Chaste Tree (Vitex)

CHASTE TREE (Vitex agnus-castus)

Family: Verbenaceae

Parts commonly used: Ripe berry.

Properties/energetics: Tonic, emmenagogue, vulnerary/Warming, dry; bitter, spicy.

Systems predominantly affected:  Genitourinary, skin.

Uses: Historically, this plant was employed to help reduce male libido, being especially useful for cloistered monks and those gents entering the priesthood consequently, the names Chaste Berry, Monk’s Pepper, and Cloister Pepper. It later acquired the reputation as a woman’s herb and is predominantly used to treat women’s hormone-related conditions. Chaste Tree berry is also helpful for men having trouble with (resistance to) their midlife changes (andropause or male menopause) to adjust to this important transition. Herbalist Christopher Hobbs, in his excellent booklet Vitex! The Female Herb, points to studies that indicate this herb can help control acne (and possibly adolescent frenzy) in both male and female teenagers by regulating hormone activity.

Affects on specific body types: Chaste Tree’s properties help normalize the hormonal system, be it either excess or deficient, making it an appropriate herb to use for all constitutional types. The Warrior probably should use this warm spicy herb sparingly. However, erratic change and irregularity are the hallmarks of the Seer type, making this herb extremely useful tonic for the Seer-dominant individual to help regulate hormonal balance.

Preparations/dosage: Infusion: 1 cup three times a day. Tincture: 20 to 40 drops three times a day. 

Precautions: Not to be used during any hormone therapy. Women on the Pill especially might want to avoid using this plant. It can counteract the Pill’s suppression of hormone production.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition