Vitex Agnus Castus or Chaste Tree.
USES Pre-menstrual Syndrome/Tension (PMS/PMT), Teenage Acne.
HISTORY Agnus Castus was well known in ancient times and featured in Homer’s 6th- century BC epic The Iliad, as a symbol of chastity capable of warding off evil. As the name chaste tree implies, it was thought to reduce sexual desire and traditionally monks chewed it to reduce unwanted libido.
HOW IT WORKS Research has confirmed that Agnus Castus has a hormonal action. A study in Germany indicated that the berries have a progesterogenic effect, acting on the pituitary gland, which regulates the menstrual cycle. It also has been reported to possess the ability to inhibit Prolactin.
Both these actions are thought to be important in PMS, particularly as many who suffer with the problem have a greater sensitivity to Prolactin.
Agnus Castus has also been found to be beneficial in the treatment of acne in both men and women.