5 Serious Side Effects Of Chasteberry – The Mediterranean Herb

Be aware of the adverse effects of this supplement before making it a part of your routine.

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Edited by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma
Fact-checked by Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

Chasteberry is a popular herbal supplement that is mostly used to treat the symptoms of menopausei  XThe natural cessation of a woman’s periods, which happens in her late 40s or early 50s, usually 12 months after her last period. and premenstrual syndromei  XA condition characterized by mood swings, acne, and bloating that begin a week or two before a woman gets her period. (1). This herb is scientifically termed as Vitex agnus-castus.

While its effectiveness in treating menstrual problems is known, you also must be wary about the side effects of chasteberry. Continue reading to know more.

protip_icon Know The Flip Side: Chasteberry

Short-Term Effects
Acne, skin rash, nausea, and heavy menstrual flow.

Long-Term Effects
May cause complications in pregnancy and during breastfeeding, and also increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Drug Interactions
May interact with antipsychotic drugs, contraceptives, and drugs used in hormonal therapy.

When To See A Doctor
If you experience a sudden onset of acne, heavy menstrual flow, severe nausea and vomiting, and hormonal change symptoms, consult a doctor.

What Are The Side Effects Of Chasteberry?

1. May Cause Acne

Woman experiencing acne as a side effect of chasteberry
Image: Shutterstock

Acne is among the most common adverse effects of chasteberry (2). The herb also causes an erythematous rash, which is redness of the skin characterized by increased blood flow to the superficial capillaries.

protip_icon Did You Know?
This plant was named chasteberry as it was considered to be sacred to the virginal goddess Vesta and also because its fruit was the cause for men’s decreased libido.

2. May Cause An Upset Stomach

Woman experiencing upset stomach as a side effect of chasteberry
Image: Shutterstock

Chasteberry has often been used to treat constipation in traditional medicine. Hence, overuse of chasteberry may cause an upset stomach (3).

Other related gastrointestinal complaints might include nausea. leading to fatigue. However, this is only based on anecdotal evidence, and research has not established this fact.

3. Can Lead To Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Image: Shutterstock

The use of chasteberry during pregnancy and breastfeeding is controversial. There is poor evidence to support if the use of chasteberry during pregnancy can actually prevent miscarriages (4).

Though in certain small studies, the use of chasteberry seemed to help achieve pregnancy, its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is thoroughly discouraged as its effect on babies has not been well documented (5).

4. May Cause Problems During Breast Cancer

Woman experiencing problems with breast cancer as a side effect of chasteberry
Image: Shutterstock

Chasterry has phytoestrogenic properties. It can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, a hormone that plays a role in the development of women’s breasts. This way, it might cause breast tenderness or interfere with certain cancers. Hence, individuals with hormone-sensitive cancers, like that of the breast, must consult their doctor before using it (6).

5. Can Interfere With Certain Drugs And Therapies

Woman finding her medication is not working as a side effect of chasteberry
Image: Shutterstock

Chasteberry can interfere with birth control pills. It is known to promote fertility, and the herb may not be a good option if you are looking for birth control (7).

Chasteberry can also disrupt progesteronei  XAn ovarian hormone that plays a crucial role in the menstrual cycle and the maintenance of the early stages of pregnancy. , a hormone used in hormone replacement therapyi  XA treatment that boosts a woman’s hormone levels to relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, and night sweats. (8). Hence, women undergoing therapy must steer clear of the herb and talk to their doctor.

Simultaneous use of chasteberry along with antipsychotic drugs is contraindicated (9).

protip_icon Quick Tip
Chasteberry improves fertility and helps relieve PMS symptoms. But it may also cause changes in menstrual cycle or heavy menstrual flow and mood swings in some. Hence, it is recommended not to exceed its dosage.

We have seen the major side effects of chasteberry. Research is ongoing, and its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well documented.

The dosages of chasteberry used in studies vary widely.

  • The ideal dosage of the herb extract is between 20 to 40 milligrams per day (5).
  • If you are using a fluid extract, the ideal dosage is 40 drops per day.
  • For the tincture, 35 to 45 drops, thrice a day, should be ideal.

Anything beyond this may cause problems.

Chasteberry may also cause side effects when taken with certain birth control options due to the hormonal changes they cause.. A blogger had severe mental health issues that she attributed to chasteberry. She knew these mental health issues were caused by hormonal fluctuations, as she had been told so by a doctor when she had experienced similar adverse reactions using a birth control ring and patch. So when she faced a similar depressive episode, she knew something was affecting her hormones and discovered it was the vitex supplement she was taking. She writes, “Vitex is often recommended by Chinese herbalists to regulate menstrual cycles. It should not be taken with the pill as it may increase the side effects and decrease its effectiveness. Needless to say it increased the side effects x100 for me. I am no herbalist or doctor, but if you tend to react badly to the pill or hormones in general then please stay away from this one (i).”

Infographic: Top 3 Side Effects Of Chasteberry To Watch Out For

We are aware that premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms are frequently treated with the popular herbal supplement chasteberry. However, its side effects might have a negative impact on your health. See the infographic below to learn more about its negative side effects.

top 3 side effects of chasteberry to watch out for (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

Chasteberry is generally used to manage menopause symptoms and premenstrual syndrome. But one must also note the side effects of chaste berry. It may cause a headache, trigger allergic reactions, acne, dizziness, and stomach upset. It may exhibit negative effects during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition, the phytoestrogenic properties of chaste berry may trigger problems during breast cancer. It is known to interact with certain therapies and medications. Although chaste berry benefits can be reaped by using it as advised, excess consumption for extended durations may trigger severe negative effects. Hence, you should practice caution while eating it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does chasteberry take to work?

As per anecdotal evidence, chasteberry takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to show results.

Will chasteberry cause weight gain?

The link between chasteberry consumption and weight gain is not established scientifically. However, consume it in moderation and follow a healthy, active lifestyle to avoid unhealthy weight gain.

Does chasteberry increase dopamine?

No. However, it acts like dopamine and activates the dopamine receptors (11).

Key Takeaways

  • Chasteberry is a herbal supplement that treats the symptoms of menopause but it can cause some serious side effects.
  • Chasteberry can cause acne, and can even cause gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and diarrhea.
  • These berries have phytoestrogenic properties and interact with many drugs which can cause problems if consumed during pregnancy or while being treated for breast cancer.

Discover the health benefits and potential side effects of chasteberry in this informative video. Explore its uses and precautions. Watch now to make informed decisions about this natural supplement.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Chasteberry” American Family Physician, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Chasteberry” Drugs and Lactation Database, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  3. Non-Drug Ways to Manage Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)” University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
  4. Safety and efficacy of chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus) during pregnancy and lactation.” The Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  5. Chasteberry” American Family Physician.
  6. Chasteberry” Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
  7. Chaste Tree: Mother Nature’s Menstruation Remedy” Plant Profiles in Chemical Ecology.
  8. A gateway to environmental signaling” Endocrine Disruption.
  9. Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of Vitex agnus-castus L.: A review” Pharmacognosy Review.
  10. Safety of Herbal Supplements: A Guide for Cardiologists” Cardiovascular Therapeutics, Wiley Online Library.
  11. Opioidergic mechanisms underlying the actions of Vitex agnus-castus L” Biochem Pharmacol.
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