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The herb vitex is also known as chaste berry or chaste tree. "Vitex" is taken from the herb's botanical name, Vitex agnus-castus. Vitex has a long history of use as a medicinal herb, usually for problems associated with the reproductive system, for which vitex is said to have both tonifying (strengthening) and regulating effects.
Vitex has been used to enhance libido in both sexes and is a common ingredient in many sexual health formulas for this reason. Vitex is also commonly used for menstrual support including PMS-symptoms1 and menopause.2 Vitex is chemically complex, but compounds known as flavonoid glycosides are among the probable active ingredients in vitex. Research suggests that glycoside-rich vitex extracts can affect hormone levels.3
Check with your doctor if you have questions about your hormone levels, or whether hormone levels are related to any health problem you may be experiencing.
The most common side-effects are nausea, headache, GI disturbances, menstrual disorders, acne, itching and rash.
J Fam Pract. 2001 Apr;50(4):298.
2. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 May;49(5):2472-9.
3. Phytomedicine. 2003 May;10(4):348-57.