We use a number of different herbs and supplements in clinic, to treat a wide range of issues.   However in a clinic that specialises in hormonal health and fertility, Chaste Tree (also known as Vitex or Chaste Berry) has to be one of the favourites. Chaste Tree is a native plant of the Mediterranean, that has been used for centuries to regulate hormones and is fantastic for many women who are trying to fall pregnant.  Its biomechanics are not fully known, but what is understood, is that it acts on the pituitary gland and the pituitary glands signals to the ovaries.  In particular Chaste Tree appears to have a positive impact on Progesterone levels.

Due to Progesterone having such an important role in the balance of women’s sex hormones, it has a range of clinical applications.

So what can it be used for?


The most common reason for prescribing Chaste Tree is to reduce symptoms such as breast pain, abdominal cramps, depression and headaches associated with fluctuating hormones during the menstrual cycle.    Many of these symptoms occur in the luteal phase (second phase) of the cycle just before the period starts and when progesterone is going through its most influential time.  Improvements can be seen within the first month of Chaste Tree use, but more commonly the best effects are seen after 3 months.

Reduce the frequency of bleeds and heavy bleeds.

For women who suffer from frequent bleeds, long bleeds or even continuous bleeds, Chaste Tree would be my first consideration to try.  Although research shows that Chaste Tree can be used to bring on an absent menstrual cycle, in clinical practice it is more effective for reducing bleeds.  That may be to help someone stop bleeding, who gets spotting every day of the cycle, or for someone who gets 8 days of heavy bleeding every month with their period. 

Improvements in falling pregnant.

Chaste Tree is a great sexual hormone regulator, which means it is a great way to balance the different phases of the cycle.  For those that have a short or long luteal or follicular phase, Chaste Tree has been shown to balance the length of the different phases of the cycle.  However the number one reason it can help women fall pregnant, is its effects on Progesterone levels, which need to start rising after ovulation to support the uterus lining and to stop contractions of the uterus.  Higher progesterone levels have also been shown to prevent against certain miscarriages and help to support the early stages of pregnancy.

Return an absent cycle.

Many practitioners also prescribe Chaste Tree as a way to treat amenorrhea.  Studies have shown that Chaste Tree can induce ovulation and once ovulation occurs, generally a period follows.  Chaste Tree is a great way to return a regular cycle, but it shouldn’t be used like this too soon after stopping oral contraception.  If a cycle doesn’t return straight after stopping oral contraception, don’t panic.  It can take some time for your body to get used to creating hormones naturally again, but things like Acupuncture can assist.

May assist some PCOS sufferers.

As Chaste Tree has a stimulating effect on ovulation and Progesterone, it can be beneficial to some suffers of PCOS.  For PCOS sufferers who exhibit signs of excess oestrogen, Chaste Tree’s ability to push the Oestrogen/Progesterone balance away from Oestrogen dominance, can ease many symptoms.  Each PCOS suffer may present with different circumstances though, so for PCOS sufferers, it is always best to consult with a healthcare practitioner first.  Chaste Tree for some PCOS suffers may not assist at all, but as it is not a hormone replacement and only a herb that affects hormone production, there are few adverse effects.

Menopausal symptoms.

Menopause may also present in many different ways as a woman’s ability to produce sex hormones slows down.  This doesn’t mean that it stops all together though.  As well as supporting Oestrogen levels as a woman goes through menopause, Chaste Tree can also support Progesterone levels and ease many menopausal symptoms.  One of the best ways to treat menopausal symptoms though, is to first reduce stress and support the adrenal glands, which Acupuncture and other stress relieving activities is great for.

Some odd uses.
Interestingly enough, due to the popularity of Chaste Tree and its positive effects on womens hormones, some side benefits of taking Chaste Tree are coming to light and are currently being investigated.  There is belief amongst some Chaste Tree users that it can be a prevention against mosquitos and other insects.  Also one of the oldest uses of Chaste Tree was to curb a mans libido and help promote celibacy in monasteries. 

There are many fantastic uses for Chaste Tree and seem to be more appearing all the time.   As a natural supplement to support womens health it is one of my favourites.  If you are suffering through any hormonal issues, it may be worth considering, however always consult a health care practitioner before doing so.


Caleb is one of our talented practitioners here at The Pagoda Tree.  For more information, to arrange an appointment or find out more please call us on 03 96867454 or email reception@thepagodatree.com.au.  We’re here to help!