photo courtesy of http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/chaste-tree-for-celibacy-and-womens.html
Vitex agnes castus, common name Chasteberry Tree berries have been used for thousands of years, in Egypt Greece and Rome to treat gynecological conditions. It is believed to decrease the symptoms of PMS and to decrease menstrual irregularities. This plant is a very important and effective herbal remedy for Naturopaths and can be added to a herbal mix that will target specifically the patients complaints.
In recent years this plant has been researched thoroughly to find the mechanism of action. It is believed to exert its effect on hormonal balance (increasing progesterone) via attaching to the pituitary gland and encouraging secretion of hormones in a dose dependant manner. What this means is that lower levels of chasteberry in the blood seem to encourage secretion of leutinizing hormone (LH) that would help to lower estrogen levels and improve uterine lining for the egg to implant in the second half of the cycle. In higher doses it would improve follicular (egg) development - helpful in conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
A study by Milewicz et al 1993, showed that women with luteal phase defects (the second part of the cycle from ovulation until start of next period) had improvements in luteal phase such as increased progesterone, which would help the uterus prepare for implantation of an egg. The study was quite small with only fifty three participants but showed promise for further studies.
In conclusion, while chasteberry tree berries have been proven to be efficient in reducing PMS symptoms the effect on infertility is not entirely clear, although tradition and some studies would say that in a dose dependent manner, if we can increase progesterone in the second stage of our menstrual cycles, then we can maintain a good uterine lining, sufficient for implantation of a fertilised egg.
See your naturopath for a herbal preparation that will improve your chances of fertility.
Yours in health