Vitex agnes

Chaste Berry

Vitex agnes

The Hormone Balancer


About 250 species make up this genus of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs occurring mainly in the tropical and subtropical regions.

This plant is otherwise known as Monk’s Pepper, Chaste Berry because its small black berries were used to suppress libido due to its hormonal effects on both men and women. Its reputation for chastity lead to the practice where the monks sprinkled the ground at the initiation of novices. Vitex agnes grows to about 2-3meters high and is characterised by pinnate leaves, not unlike cannabis, and spikes of elegant mauve flowers. This particular species grows well in warmer parts of New Zealand losing its leaves in winter.


·         That the berries increase female progesterone inhibiting male androgens.

·         Bitter sweet slightly astringent relaxant herb that regulates hormonal functions.

·         German researchers suggest that the berries increase the production of luteinising hormone and prolactin.

·         After reviewing German research, the herbalist Christopher , suggests its use during the first three months of pregnancy to help prevent miscarriage and with ginger to allay nausea.

·         Another study has found that it increases the production of the hormone progesterone.

·         When 53 women with excessive bleeding and short menstrual cycles were given Vitex agnes, 65% showed an improvement and 47% claimed to have been cured.


  • Vitex agnes has been used traditionally for addressing female hormone problems like PMT.
  • Chaste berry can be used to help control acne in both young men and women.
  • It has been found to be helpful in reducing the incidence and severity of menopausal flushes. Used in conjunction with black cohosh, soy products,  flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds, may be regarded as a natural form of HRT.
  • This herb has been used to dissolve cysts and fibroids.
  • Chaste berries may be used after lengthy periods on the contraceptive pill to re-establish normal ovulation.
  • One of the most surprising medical uses is its success in treating Cushings disease particularly in horse and dogs.
  • Berries may be used instead of pepper corns.

Note:      Chaste Berry may interfere with progesterone-containing medications.



This graceful aromatic shrub reaches a height of around 2-3 metres and is an invaluable inclusion in a Mediterranean garden. Combines well with Rosa rugosas, lavender, yuccas and rosemary.   The tiny blue-black berries form late summer.

Disclaimer: Information in this article is not to be used in place of professional medical advice and expertise. For diagnosis and treatment always see your health professional. We recommend that either a qualified herbalist or your animal professional carry out diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Herbal remedies must not be given not be taken in conjunction with other medication with out consulting a medical professional.

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