Chasteberry

CHAYST-beh-ree

What are other names for this remedy?

Type of medicine: natural remedy

Scientific and common names: Vitex agnus-castus, Vitex trifolia, Agnus castus, hemp tree, chasteberry, Abraham's balm, monk's pepper, chaste tree, chaste tree berry, chastetree, vitex

What is chaste tree?

Chasteberry is the fruit of the chaste tree. The fruit is used medicinally.

What is it used for?

This remedy has been used to treat several conditions. Studies in humans or animals have not proved that this remedy is safe or effective for all uses. Before using this remedy for a serious condition, you should talk with your healthcare provider.

Chasteberry has been used to treat:

  • Acne
  • Enlarged prostate gland and trouble urinating
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Infertility
  • Symptoms of menopause such as breast tenderness, fluid retention, mood changes, and hot flashes
  • Uterine bleeding and menstrual problems

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve uses for natural remedies. The FDA does not inspect or regulate natural remedies the way they do prescription medicines.

How is it taken?

Chasteberry comes in many forms, such as tincture, tablet, liquid, tea, or capsules.

What if I overdose?

Symptoms of an acute overdose have not been reported.

What should I watch out for?

Chasteberry may have effects similar to estrogen. Before taking chasteberry, talk with your healthcare provider if you have:

  • Breast cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Uterine fibroids

If you need emergency care, surgery, or dental work, tell the healthcare provider or dentist you are taking this remedy.

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any natural remedy that you are using or thinking about using. If your provider does not tell you how to take it, follow the directions that come with the package. Do not take more or take it longer than recommended. Ask about anything you do not understand. Remember:

  • Natural remedies are not always safe.
  • You should not take them if you are pregnant or breast-feeding without your healthcare provider's approval. They should not be taken by infants, children, or older adults without your provider's approval.
  • They affect your body and may interact with prescription medicines that you take.
  • Natural remedies are not standardized and may be contaminated. They may have different strengths and effects.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its desirable effects, this remedy may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the remedy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away). If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; rash; trouble breathing; chest pain or tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat).

Side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, itching, rash, hair loss, headaches, tiredness, agitation, fast heartbeat, dry mouth, trouble sleeping, weight gain, or changes in menstrual flow.

What products might interact with this remedy?

When you take this remedy with other medicines, it can change the way the remedy or the medicines work. Vitamins and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Before taking this remedy, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

  • Antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine, clozapine (Clozaril), fluphenazine, haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa), perphenazine, prochlorperazine (Compro), risperidone (Risperdal), thioridazine, thiothixene (Navane), and quetiapine (Seroquel),
  • Birth control pills rings, patches, and implants and hormones such as conjugated estrogens (Premarin), estradiol (Estrace), medroxyprogesterone (Provera), and norethindrone (Aygestin, Camila, Jolivette, Micronor)
  • Medicines to treat Parkinson's disease such as bromocriptine (Parlodel), carbidopa/levodopa (Sinemet), pramipexole (Mirapex), and ropinirole (Requip),
  • Metoclopramide (Reglan)

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.

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Keep all natural remedies and medicines out of the reach of children.

This advisory includes select information only. The information was obtained from scientific journals, study reports, and other documents. The author and publisher make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the information. The advisory may not include all side effects associated with a remedy or interactions with other medicines. Nothing herein shall constitute a recommendation for the use of any remedy. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.

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