Agneau du Moine, Agneau-chaste, Agni Casti, Agnocasto, Agnolyt, Agnus-Castus, Arbre au Poivre, Chaste Berry, Chaste Tree, Chaste Tree Berry, Chasteberry, Chastetree, Chinese Vitex, Fructus Agni Casti, Gattilier, Hemp Tree, Herbe au Poivre, Mang Jing Zi, Monk's Pepper, Panj-Angosht, Petit Poivre, Pimiento del Monje, Poivre de Moine, Poivre Sauvage, Vitex, Vitex Agnus Castus, Vitex rotundifolia, Vitex trifolia, Viticis Fructus.


Overview Information

Vitex agnus-castus tree is a shrub that is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The shrub has long, finger-shaped leaves, blue-violet flowers, and dark purple berries. The fruit and seed are used to make medicine.

Vitex agnus-castus is used for conditions related to the menstrual cycle such as breast pain (mastalgia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and more severe PMS symptoms (premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD). It is also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

How does it work?

Vitex agnus-castus seems to affect many hormones that are involved in women's reproductive cycle.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Breast pain (mastalgia). Taking vitex agnus-castus daily seems to relieve pain in women who experience breast pain during the menstrual cycle.
  • Severe PMS symptoms (premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD). Some research shows that vitex agnus-castus might work about as well as the prescription drug fluoxetine (Prozac) for relieving symptoms of this condition. Vitex agnus-castus seems to be better for physical symptoms like breast tenderness, swelling, and cramps. Fluoxetine seems to be better for depressed mood, feeling nervous and feeling out of control.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some research shows that taking vitex agnus-castus decreases some symptoms of PMS, especially breast pain or tenderness, depressed mood or moodiness, anxiety, anger, and headache. Vitex agnus-castus may be as effective as birth control or antidepressants for relieving these symptoms. But it doesn't seem to help with bloating.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Fractures. Taking vitex agnus-castus extract does not seem to improve the healing of broken bones.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility). The effects of vitex agnus-castus on fertility is not clear. Some early research shows that it does not improve the chance of becoming pregnant in women with infrequent menstrual bleeding, but it might help those who do not produce enough progesterone.
  • Insect repellent. Early research shows that applying vitex agnus-castus seed extract to the skin repels ticks and fleas for 6 hours, mosquitoes for 3 to 8 hours, and biting flies for 3 hours.
  • Symptoms of menopause. Early research shows that taking vitex agnus-castus might help with some symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes and anxiety. But it doesn't seem to help with depression or problems with having sex.
  • Abnormally heavy bleeding during menstrual periods (menorrhagia). Early research shows that taking vitex agnus-castus doesn't seem to reduce the amount of bleeding in most women. It might help to reduce bleeding when the heavy bleeding is caused by an intrauterine device (IUD).
  • Acne.
  • Dementia.
  • Enlarged prostate.
  • Eye pain.
  • Increasing lactation.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nervousness.
  • Prevention of miscarriage.
  • Swelling.
  • Insect bites, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of vitex agnus-castus for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Vitex agnus-castus fruit extract is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately for up to 3 months. Uncommon side effects include upset stomach, nausea, itching, rash, headaches, acne, trouble sleeping, and weight gain. Some women notice a change in menstrual flow when they start taking vitex agnus-castus.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if vitex agnus-castus is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Using vitex agnus-castus during pregnancy or breast-feeding is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. The concern is that vitex agnus-castus can interfere with hormones. Don't use vitex agnus-castus if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as endometriosis; uterine fibroids; or cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovaries: Vitex agnus-castus can affect hormones and might affect estrogen levels. Don't use vitex agnus-castus if you have a hormone-sensitive condition.

In vitro fertilization: Vitex agnus-castus can interfere with the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization. Don't use vitex agnus-castus if you are undergoing this procedure.

Parkinson's disease. Vitex agnus-castus contains chemicals that affect the brain. These chemicals affect the brain similarly to some medications used for Parkinson's disease. Therefore, vitex agnus-castus might affect therapy for Parkinson's disease.

Schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. Vitex agnus-castus seems to affect a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Some medications for mental disorders help to decrease dopamine. Therefore, taking vitex agnus-castus might affect therapy for certain mental disorders.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with VITEX AGNUS-CASTUS

    Vitex agnus-castus seems to change hormone levels in the body. Birth control pills contain hormones. Taking vitex agnus-castus along with birth control pills might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with vitex agnus-castus, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.

    Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

  • Estrogens interacts with VITEX AGNUS-CASTUS

    Vitex agnus-castus seems to change hormone levels in the body. Taking vitex agnus-castus along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

    Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

  • Medications for mental conditions (Antipsychotic drugs) interacts with VITEX AGNUS-CASTUS

    Vitex agnus-castus seems to affect a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Some medications for mental disorders help to decrease dopamine. Taking vitex agnus-castus along with medications for mental conditions might decrease the effectiveness of some medications for mental conditions.

    Some medications for mental conditions include chlorpromazine (Thorazine), clozapine (Clozaril), fluphenazine (Prolixin), haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa), perphenazine (Trilafon), prochlorperazine (Compazine), quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal), thioridazine (Mellaril), thiothixene (Navane), and others.

  • Medications used for Parkinson's disease (Dopamine agonists) interacts with VITEX AGNUS-CASTUS

    Vitex agnus-castus contains chemicals that affect the brain. These chemicals affect the brain similarly to some medications used for Parkinson's disease. Taking vitex agnus-castus with these medications might increase the effects and side effects of some medications used for Parkinson's disease.

    Some medications used for Parkinson's disease include bromocriptine (Parlodel), levodopa (Dopar, component of Sinemet), pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole (Requip), and others.

  • Metoclopramide (Reglan) interacts with VITEX AGNUS-CASTUS

    Vitex agnus-castus seems to affect a certain brain chemical. This chemical is called dopamine. Metoclopramide (Reglan) also affects dopamine. Taking vitex agnus-castus along with metoclopramide might decrease the effectiveness of metoclopramide (Reglan).



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For breast pain (mastalgia): 3.2-4.8 mg of vitex agnus-castus dried fruit extract have been taken daily for 2 months. Also, 40 mg of vitex agnus-castus fruit extract has been taken daily for 3 months. In addition, 0.9 mL of a specific vitex agnus-castus product (Mastodynon, Bionorica AG) has been taken twice daily for 3 months.
  • For severe PMS symptoms (premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD): 20-40 mg of vitex agnus-castus extract taken daily for 8 weeks has been used.
  • For premenstrual syndrome (PMS): Generally, 8-40 mg of vitex agnus-castus fruit extract has been taken daily for 2-3 menstrual cycles. A specific extract known as BNO 1095 (Agnucaston/Cyclodynon, Bionorica AG), which contains 4 mg of vitex agnus-castus extract has been taken daily for three menstrual cycles. Another specific extract known as Ze 440 (Prefemin, Max Zeller Sohne AG) which contains 20 mg of vitex agnus-castus fruit extract has been taken daily for three menstrual cycles. Another specific product (Femicur, Schaper & Brummer GmbH & Co. KG) containing 6.4-12 mg of vitex agnus-castus fruit extract has been taken daily in two divided doses for three menstrual cycles. Specific capsules (Agnolyt, Madaus AG) containing 3.5-4.2 mg of vitex agnus-castus dried fruit extract has been taken daily on days 16-35 over three menstrual cycles. Vitex agnus-castus fruit extract, 40 drops added to one glass of fruit juice once daily before breakfast starting 6 days prior to menstrual bleeding and lasting until menstrual bleeding occurs, has been used for six cycles.

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  • Molaie M, Darvishi B, Jafari Azar Z, Shirazi M, Amin G, Afshar S. Effects of a combination of Nigella sativa and Vitex agnus-castus with citalopram on healthy menopausal women with hot flashes: results from a subpopulation analysis. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2019 Jan;35(1):58-61. View abstract.
  • Mollazadeh S, Mirghafourvand M, Abdollahi NG. The effects of Vitex agnus-castus on menstrual bleeding: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Complement Integr Med. 2019;17(1). pii: /j/jcim.2019.17.issue-1/jcim-2018-0053/jcim-2018-0053.xml. View abstract.
  • Momoeda M, Sasaki H, Tagashira E, Ogishima M, Takano Y, Ochiai K. Efficacy and safety of Vitex agnus-castus extract for treatment of premenstrual syndrome in Japanese patients: a prospective, open-label study. Adv Ther. 2014 Mar;31(3):362-73. View abstract.
  • Naseri R, Farnia V, Yazdchi K, Alikhani M, Basanj B, Salemi S. Comparison of Vitex agnus-castus extracts with placebo in reducing menopausal symptoms: A randomized double-blind study. Korean J Fam Med. 2019;40(6):362-367. View abstract.
  • Ohyama K, Akaike T, Hirobe C, Yamakawa T. Cytotoxicity and apoptotic inducibility of Vitex agnus-castus fruit extract in cultured human normal and cancer cells and effect on growth. Biol Pharm Bull 2003;26:10-18. View abstract.
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  • Ono M, Yanaka T, Yamamoto M, et al. New diterpenes and norditerpenes from the fruits of Vitex rotundifolia. J Nat Prod 2002;65:537-41. View abstract.
  • Ooi SL, Watts S, McClean R, Pak SC. Vitex agnus-castus for the treatment of cyclic mastalgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2020;29(2):262-278. View abstract.
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