5 Serious Side Effects Of Chasteberry – The Mediterranean Herb

Medically Reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health

Chasteberry is a popular herbal supplement that is mostly used to treat the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (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.

What Are The Side Effects Of Chasteberry?

1. May Cause Acne

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.

2. May Cause An Upset Stomach

Though not serious, the use of chasteberry may cause an upset stomach (3).

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

3. Can Lead To Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

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

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 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

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 progesterone, a hormone used in hormone replacement therapy (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).

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 is generally used to manage menopause symptoms and premenstrual syndrome. But one must also note the side effects of chaste berry. It may trigger acne 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. While using it as advised may be safe, excess consumption for extended durations may trigger severe negative effects. Hence, practice caution.

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).

References

    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.
The following two tabs change content below.

Vd. Naveen Sharma

(BAMS, Ayurveda Specialist)
Dr. Naveen Sharma is a renowned Ayurveda specialist with an experience of 10 years. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in... more

LATEST ARTICLES