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Chasteberry has been used for more than 2,500 years to treat various conditions. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it was used for a variety of gynecologic conditions. As far back as Hippocrates, Chasteberry was recommended for menstrual complaints. In medieval times, the Chasteberry (botanically known as Vitex agnus-castus) was thought to suppress the libido of both males and females. Legend has it that monks once chewed on the dried berries in an effort to adhere to their vows of celibacy. In Europe, Chasteberry is now recommended more often than any other herb for relieving the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, the Chaste tree (actually a small shrub that bears violet flowers and reddish black berries) is now found in subtropical climates around the globe. In the fall, its ripe berries are dried. Similar to peppercorns in shape, chasteberries also have a slightly peppery taste. Other common names for this herb include vitex, monk’s pepper, and chaste tree berry.
On a different note, many horse owners have discovered that Chasteberry has a remarkably healing effect upon the syndrome known as Cushings that can be so devastating to their equine friends. Multiple customers have reported remarkable turnarounds in even seemingly hopeless cases.
Note: Do not take Chasteberry/Vitex if you are pregnant, nursing, or if you are taking medications. If you are on medications, please consult your healthcare practitioner before beginning to use Vitex in case of any potential interactions.