Vitex (chast tree)

Chast (Vitex) tree is a native species of the Mediterranean region. It is a widely accepted herbal plant of great importance mainly used as a remedy for premenstrual syndrome(PMS), infertility problems, menopause symptoms etc.

 

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Chast tree (vitex) is a shrub, also named as cloister pepper or monk’s pepper. It bears violet color flower and berries. The dried leaves and berries of this species are used for medical purposes.

This herbal plant is widely used to control premenstrual syndrome, treat endocrine-related problems and repel harmful insects. Beside these, it also possesses antifungal and antibacterial properties too.

 

CLASSIFICATION

Chast tree; scientifically referred to as Vitex agnus castus is also called as vitex. It is scientifically classified as follow:

kingdom: Plantae

Subkingdom: Tracheobionta

Super Division: Spermatophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Subclass: Asteridae

Order: Lamiales

Family: Vervanceae

Genus: Vitex

Species: Vitex agnus castus

 

Image result for free chaste images Flowers of chaste tree vitex agnus-castus, Free Photo

 

CULTIVATION

Vitex agnus-castus is cultivated in warm temperature and subtropical regions. It is a shrub that ranges about 3-16 ft. height and do better on well-drained loamy neutral to alkaline soil.

This species requires full sunlight for its best growth and development i.e. the plant doesn’t grow well in the cold and wet region rather prefer warm climate.

The process of flowering and fruiting doesn’t go on simultaneously. Though after ripening it turns into harder to harvest. So, the fruits are usually harvested by hand.

 

How to cultivate vitex? (Step by Step guide)

– Prepare a plantlet in a small starter vessel. You can also buy it from a nearby nursery. Or you can also graft the stem it available.

– There are many different varieties of Vitex. You can choose any variety as per the shape, size and flowers you want.

– Loamy soil is best so well-drained loamy soil preferred before cultivation of a plantlet.

– Show the plantlet in your place of interest. Please note your plant gets proper sunlight as it doesn’t do well in wet and shade.

– It grows well in medium water supply.

– It grows very fast after it gets proper environment. Get the flowers blossom in their own.

– The berries are very small and difficult to harvest. So, it is harvested with hand before ripening.

Image result for free vitex berries images

 

BIOCHEMICAL COMPOUNDS PRESENT IN CHAST TREE

Chast tree consists of biochemical compounds such as:

flavonoids

progestins

iridoids, and

essential oils

These compounds are combinedly assumed to treat mensural related problems in an effective way.

 

MEDICAL IMPORTANCE

– Vitex has been used as medicine since the ancient ages. It is said to be used for balancing hormones since long ago.

– Intake of vitex extract helps to increase urine flow in men, treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and reduce sexual desire, and maintain celibacy.

– Vitex extract is also believed to be best for uterine fibroid cysts and boosting breast milk supply in new mothers.

– Beside these; chaste tree is believed to treat below-listed problems:

1. Premenstrual syndrome

2. Mensural cycle problems

3. Menopause symptoms

4. Painful breast (mastodynia)

5. Infertility and other endocrine-related problems.

– It is also taken for treatment of acne, eye pain, body inflammation, dementia, upset stomach, swelling and spleen disorders like problems.

 

WORKING MECHANISM

The research present that vitex works by decreasing levels of prolactin hormone. Prolactin helps to balance other hormones such as progesterone and estrogen.

It makes the balance in many hormones that regulates the endocrine and reproductive system. This makes a routeway for the solution of many problems.

In spite of belief, there is no strong evidence to prove how it works. Due to lack of enough research, the plant of great medical importance has been backward.

Only a few research has been observed about this plant. Many beliefs are yet left to be proven. It is also a golden opportunity for researchers to explore the historic plant.

 

DOSES TO INTAKE VITEX AGNUS CASTUS

Vitex extract comes in a  form of tinctures, liquid extract and capsules. Please follow the instructive dose as mentioned. The extract is given a different name for different problems.

 

SIDE EFFECTS

It seems to be suitable for the most population. Some of its unusual side effects involve:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Sleeping problems etc.

 

SAFETY CONCERN AND PRECAUTION

Vitex Agnus Cactus has great medicinal values. But in some condition, it might affect the health status. Here are some enlisted conditions when vitex should not be used:

  • During pregnancy
  • when undergoing Invitro fertilization (IVF)
  • During Hormone-sensitive condition ( Endometriosis, uterine fibroids)
  • If you have breast, uterus or ovary cancer
  • If you have schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder
  • When you have Parkinson’s disease

Vitex affects the hormonal level. You must be very careful if you are under some medication. This interaction might create a negative effect on your health. So, please take proper guidance of health professional while you are under medication.

Image result for free vitex berries images  

 

CONCLUSION

Chast tree offers great medical importance. A wide space of this plant is yet left to be explored. Various endocrine disease and mensural related problems are treated using their extract. The proper dose must be taken under the prescription of medical experts before using it directly.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

1. What herbal remedy is used to reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

You can use chaste(Vitex) extract to overcome prementural syndrome such as acne, blotting, fatigue, mood swing etc. Please take it only under the supervision of medical personal for amount of doases to compensate.

2. Do vitex helps to balance hormones?

The research present that vitex works by decreasing levels of prolactin hormone. Prolactin helps to balance other hormones such as progesterone and estrogen.

3. What is vitex chasst tree used for?

Vitex chast tree is used to treat Premenstrual syndrome, Mensural cycle problems, Menopause symptoms, Painful breast (mastodynia), Infertility and other endocrine-related problems.

4. How did chast tree get its name?

It gets its name from the medieval belief that it could decrease the libido (anaphrodisiac).

5. What are the side effects of vitex?

The side effects of vitex are, upset stomach, nausea, Itching, Rashes, Headaches, Acne, Weight gain, Sleeping problems etc.

6. Can vitex be used during pregnancy?

As vitex affects in hormonal action, vitex should not be used during pregnancy.

 

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Prativa Bhatta

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