The origin of the current practice of administering Vitex agnus-castus in menopause-related complaints is uncertain, but appears to be relatively recent. Here we review the evidence for this application of Vitex based on evidence from pharmacological studies and clinical research.
The mechanisms of potential relevance in the context of menopause are explored with reference to the current understanding of the endocrinology and neuroendocrinology of menopause and associated symptoms.
We conclude that, while evidence from rigorous randomized controlled trials is lacking for the individual herb in this context, emerging pharmacological evidence supports a role for V. agnus-castus in the alleviation of menopausal symptoms and suggests that further investigation may be appropriate.
- PMID: 19678775 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
According to t eh NIH Side Effects and Cautions are:
- Chasteberry has not been associated with serious side effects. However, it can cause gastrointestinal problems, acne-like rashes, and dizziness.
- Chasteberry may affect certain hormone levels. Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills or who have a hormone-sensitive condition (such as breast cancer) should not use chasteberry.
- Because chasteberry may affect the dopamine system in the brain, people taking dopamine-related medications, such as certain antipsychotic drugs and Parkinson's disease medications, should avoid using chasteberry.