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Although chasteberry is an ingredient in weight-loss products aimed at women, the link between chasteberry and losing weight is tenuous at best. Chasteberry is primarily used as an alternative therapy to ease PMS symptoms, but there is no evidence that it will also help women lose weight. As with any supplement, check with your doctor before taking it.
Chasteberry is the fruit of a shrub that is common to Central Asia and the Mediterranean. It also goes by the names chaste-tree berry, vitex and monk's pepper. The latter comes from evidence that chasteberry was used to promote chastity and that monks in the Middle Ages used it to decrease sexual desire.
Chasteberry has been used traditionally to ease menstrual symptoms and to stimulate the production of breast milk, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Some small studies indicate that chasteberry may be beneficial for premenstrual syndrome, may help relieve breast pain and may play a role in reversing some types of infertility, but there is not enough scientific evidence to confirm the preliminary findings.
Chasteberry and Weight Loss
Chasteberry is an ingredient in weight loss products such as SlimQuick that are marketed as fat burners for women. In its review of SlimQuick, UltimateFatBurner.com states that the product contains some useful weight-loss ingredients. But the "women oriented" ingredients, such as chasteberry, are "useless" for fat burning. The review says there is no proven effect on metabolism from these ingredients, and no mechanism that would facilitate weight loss.
According to the American Heart Association, misleading weight-loss claims can lead to diets that undermine your health, cause physical discomfort and set you up for disappointment when you don't achieve the results you were expecting. The AHA says the notion of "fat burning foods" is little more than "food folklore" and "unsubstantiated myth."
Using chasteberry for PMS symptoms has some scientific support. Using chasteberry for weight loss has none. Side effects associated with chasteberry include allergic reactions, stomach problems, acne-like rashes and dizziness. Since chasteberry may affect hormone levels, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use it.