Vitex agnus-castus Common name: Chaste berry, Monk’s pepper, Vitex
Parts used: Fruit
Constituents: Flavonoids (castican, orientin, isovitexin); Iridoid glycosides (agnuside [the reference constituent for standardization], aucubin, eurostoside; Terpenoids (cineole, sabinene, limonene, camphene and others).
Medicinal actions: Pituitary adjuvant
Medicinal use: Vitex is most often used in the treatment of menstrual disorders. PMS, secondary amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, menorrhagia, metorrhagia, insufficient lactation, infertility, polycystic ovaries and acne are among some of the conditions that can be helped with vitex. The basic overall indication for vitex is a relative progesterone deficiency, or, a relative estrogen excess.
- In higher doses will inhibit prolactin at the level of the pituitary, increasing LH, decreasing FSH, and support the corpus luteum to help increase progesterone and decrease estrogen and testosterone production.
- In lower doses will stimulate prolactin at the level of the pituitary and potentially decrease progesterone production.
Pharmacy: Tincture: (1:5), 3-10 ml QD.
Toxicity: In high doses (20 times therapeutic), Vitex inhibits all aspects of anterior pituitary function resulting in decreased pituitary, adrenal and uterine function.