Vitex agnus-castus

  • Margaret B. Artz
Part of the Forensic Science and Medicine book series (FSM)


Vitex agnuscastus is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years in Europe for female reproductive system disorders, is well-tolerated, and has established efficacy in helping with some symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. The major active constituents of V. agnuscastus are iridoid glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, and essential oils. Its dominant pharmacological effect on the body is inhibition of prolactin secretion. V. agnuscastus is available in a variety of dosage forms and its use is gaining popularity in the United States. Although it has a low adverse-effect profile, women should avoid ingesting the herb while trying to become pregnant, during pregnancy, or while nursing.

Key Words

Chasteberry flavonoids flavones essential fatty acids female reproductive system disorders estrogenic herbs 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Brown DJ. Herbal research review: vitex agnus castus. Clinical monograph. Q Rev Nat Med 1994;2:111–121.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hobbs C. The chaste tree: Vitex agnus castus. Pharm Hist 1991;33:19–24.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Foster S. A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs. Boston Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Du Mee C. Medicinal plant review: vitex agnus castus. Aust J Med Herbalism 1993;5:63–65.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jellin JM, Gregory, P, eds. Natural medicines comprehensive database. Stockton: Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2003. (Last updated, December 13, 2003). Date accessed on June 16, 2006.
  6. 6.
    Loch EG, Selle H, Boblitz N. Treatment of premenstrual syndrome with a phytopharmaceutical formulation containing Vitex agnus castus. J Women’s Health Gend Based Med 2000;9:315–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lucks BC. Vitex agnus castus essential oil and menopausal balance: a research update. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery 2003;9:157–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Males Z, Blazevic N, Antoli A. The essential oil composition of Vitex agnus-castus f. rosea leaves and flowers. Planta Med 1998;64(3):286–287.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD, eds. Herbal Medicines, second edition. London Pharmaceutical Press, 2002.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann, eds. Chaste Tree Fruit. In: Herbal medicine, expanded Commission E monographs. Austin American Botanical Council; Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al., eds. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin American Botanical Council; Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lauritzen C, Reuter HD, Repges R, Bohnert KJ, Schmidt U. Treatment of premenstrual tension syndrome with Vitex agnus castus. Controlled, double-blind study versus pyridoxine. Phytomedicine 1997;4:183–189.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schellenberg R. Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective,randomised,placebo controlled study. BMJ 2001;322:134–137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Atmaca M, Kumru S, Tezcan E. Fluoxetine versus V. agnus-castus extract in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Hum Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 2003;18:191–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Robbers JE, Tyler VE, eds. Tyler’s Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. Binghamton Haworth Herbal Press, Inc., 1999.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Drug monograph: chastebeerry, chaste tree fruit, villexagnus-castus. AccessMedicine, copyright © 2006. The McGraw-Hill companies. Last revised: July 31, 2001.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wuttke W. Dopaminergic action of extracts of Agnus Castus. Forsch Komplementarmed 1996;3:309–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Houghton PJ. Agnus castus. Pharm J 1994; 253:720–721.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jarry H, Spengler B, Porzel A, Schmidt J, Wuttke W, Christoffel V. Evidence for estrogen receptor beta-selective activity of Vitex agnus-castus and isolated flavones. Planta Med 2003;69:945–947.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    S0rensen JM, Katsiotis ST. Parameters influencing the yield and composition of the essential oil from Cretan Vitex agnus-castus fruits. Planta Med 2000;66:245–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kuruuzum-Uz A, Stroch K, Demirezer LO, Zeeck A. Glucosides from Vitex agnuscastus. Phytochemistry 2003;63:959–964.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Liu J, Burdette JE, Sun Y, et al. Isolation of linoleic acid as an estrogenic compound from the fruits of Vitex agnus-castus L. (chaste-berry). Phytomedicine 2004; 11:18–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Saden-Krehula M, Kutrak D, Blazevic N. †4-3-ketosteroids in flowers and leaves of Vitex agnus-castus. Acta Pharm Jugosl 1991;41:237–241.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    MARTINDALE PRODUCT INDEX® (intranet database). Version 5.1. Greenwood Village, CO, Thomson Micromedex.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Milewicz A, Gejdel E, SwØren H, et al. Vitex agnus castus-Extrakt zur Behandlung von Regeltempoanomalien infolge latenter Hyperprolaktinämie [Vitex agnus castus extract in the treatment of luteal phase defects due to latent hyperprolactinaemia. Results of a randomized placebo-controlled double blind study.] Drug Res 1993;43:752–756.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Merz PG, Gorkow C, Schrödter A, et al. The effects of a special Agnus castus extract (BP1095E1) on prolactin secretion in healthy male subjects. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1996;104:447–453.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Cahill DJ, Fox R, Wardle P, Harlow CR. Multiple follicular development associated with herbal medicine. Hum Reprod 1994;9:1469–1470.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Girman A, Lee R, Kligler B. An integrative medicine approach to premenstrual syndrome. Clin J Women’s Health 2002; 2:116–127. Reprinted in Am J Obstet Gynecol 2003;188:S56-S65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Israel D, Youngkin EQ. Herbal therapies for perimenopausal and menopausal complaints. Pharmacotherapy 1997; 17:970–984.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gerhard I, Patek A, Monga B, Blank A, Gorkow C. Mastodynon® bei weiblicher Sterilität. Randomisierte, plazebokontrollierte, klinische Doppelblindstudie. [Mastodynon® for female infertility. Randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical double-blind study. Forsch Komplementarmed 1998;5:272–278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Berger D, Schaffner W, Schrader E, Meier B, Brattstrom A. Efficacy of Vitex agnus castus L. extract Ze 440 in patients with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Arch Gynecol Obstet 2000;264:150–153.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kubista E, Müller G, Spona J. Traitement de la mastopathie avec mastodynie cycliqu. Resultats cliniques et profiles hormonaux. [Treatment of mastopathy with mastalgia. Clinical results and hormonal profiles]. Rev Fr Gynéecol Obstet 1987;82:221–227.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Halaska M, Raus K, Beles P, Martan A, Paithner KG. Lecba cyklicke mastodynie pomoci roztoku s extraktem z Vitex agnus castus: vysledky dvojite slepe studie ve srovnani s placebem [Treatment of cyclical mastodynia using an extract of Vitex agnus castus: results of a double-blind comparison with a placebo]. Ceska Gynekologie 1998;63:388–392.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shuster J. ISMP Adverse drug reactions. Heparin and thrombocytopenia. Black cohosh root? Chasteberry tree? Seizures! Hospital Pharmacy 1996;31:1553–1554.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret B. Artz

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations