08 July, 2011
Chasteberry Extract for Fibroids
Chasteberry is an herb that is also known as Vitex agnus-castus. The plant is a deciduous shrub that is native to Mediterranean, European and Central Asian countries. Vitex has slender leaves and dark purple berries that have a long historical and medicinal use in ancient Greek and Roman times. Monks commonly ingested this herb during the Middle Ages to help suppress sexual desire, which led to the inception of its more common name--chasteberry or chaste tree. Consult with your health care provider prior to using chasteberry for fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are benign--non-cancerous--tumors that are made up of muscle cells and tissue that coagulate and grow in and around your uterine walls. Although the cause of fibroid growth is not known, it may be hormonally linked, especially in cases of excess estrogen. Common symptoms may include heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, a sensation of abdominal fullness, frequent urination, painful intercourse, low back pain, and reproductive problems such as infertility or multiple miscarriages. Medical treatment for fibroids involves prescription medications or surgery. However, some herbs like chasteberry may help to inhibit fibroid growth, although there is not enough evidence to support these claims, says Medline Plus.
According to herbalist Jessica Godino, chasteberry can help to regulate female hormones and stimulate your pituitary gland. This herb specifically helps to increase progesterone and decrease estrogen, which makes it an effective remedy in cases of excess estrogen. Vitex does not contain specific hormonal building blocks. Instead, it contains constituents that help to nourish your endocrine system and enhance your body's ability to obtain hormonal balance naturally.
According to Christopher Hobbs, a licensed acupuncturist, vitex may be an effective herb for resolving uterine fibroids. Since fibroids may occur as a result of hormone imbalance, chasteberry can help to restore your body's proper ratio of estrogen and progesterone, thereby reducing fibroids. This herb may also help to regulate menstruation and reduce bleeding between periods as well as heavy menstrual bleeding that may be the result of uterine fibroids.
You can find chasteberry in herbal capsule, tablet, tea or liquid tincture form. You can also take chasteberry as a raw, dried herb. A liquid extract is a potent, highly absorbable herbal preparation. You can take 30 to 50 drops of chasteberry extract three times daily to help treat your fibroids. This herb can be slow acting, therefore you may need to take it for up to three months before you notice its benefits.
According to Drugs.com, this herb may reduce the effectiveness of the birth control pill. If you do not want to get pregnant, use an additional form of birth control, such as condoms, to help to prevent pregnancy while taking chasteberry. Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, therefore use caution when choosing where to purchase chasteberry extract. Furthermore, avoid taking this herb if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- HeikeRau/iStock/Getty Images