Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus castus) Extract Supplements, Benefits & Side effects

Monk's Pepper
    The monk pepper plant (Vitex agnus Castus) from southern Europe looks like a Hemp plant with its hand-shaped leaves but it belongs to the crucifers The medicinal plant is particularly interesting in typical women's ailments, as it balances female hormones. It regulates menstrual discomfort and reduces the chest sensitivity (Mastodynie) as well as discomfort caused by premenstrual syndrome, such as irritability and unrest.

    In traditional medicine, monk pepper is also used for power disorders and depression. For pharmaceutical purposes, only the fruits of the monk pepper are processed. Drug treatment must be done at least three months. Various preparations such as dry extracts, infusions or tinctures are available for treatment.

    During puberty, pregnancy and lactation, monk pepper preparations should be avoided. The positive effects of monk pepper on hormonal symptoms in women are explained by ingredients that affect hormonal regulation. The processes are not exactly clarified. But probably the following connection is that: The fruits of the monk pepper, also called chaste tree fruits, contain so-called diterpene.

    These substances Act on the one hand on the dopamine budget. Dopamine is one of the most important messenger substances in the brain and is considered a feel-good hormone. On the other hand, diterpene all seem to inhibit the formation of the hormone prolactin.

    Pain in the breasts (Mastodynie) is accompanied by many women with elevated prolactin concentration in blood. As Monk Pepper lowers the prolactin, it could be the explanation to the positive effect of chest pain, even during menopause.

    Prolactin is part of the finely sophisticated interaction of the hormones that control the female cycle. In all appearances, Monk Pepper can help to control irregularities. This is why Monk pepper is used for irregular menstrual bleeding (dysmenorrhea), premenstrual syndrome, and menopause complaints.

 At times, gynecologists and naturopaths recommend a treatment with Monk Pepper in case of an unfulfilled desire for children. The medicinal plant may also have an effect on the so-called corpus hormone, which promotes the nesting of OVA in the uterine mucosa.

    Monk Pepper is not really appreciated by men but seems to be used mostly by women. For Vitex Agnus-Castus, according to the Latin name of the medicinal plant, acts mainly on the female hormone level. The effect: Monk Pepper relieves symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, in the case of menopause complaints and in some other complaints.

   For these areas of application, the effect is also substantiated by studies and conclusive explanatory models. Some early test certifies the monk's pepper effect in premenstrual syndrome (August 2014), but at the same time demands further studies for better detection.

    It is not proven whether the treatment of monk Pepper provides measurable results in the event of an unfulfilled desire for children. This also applies to the application that has brought the monk's pepper its old names such as chaste lamb and chaste tree fruits.

    In homeopathy, the medicinal plant is recognized under the Latin term Vitex agnus-castus. The application areas agree with the use of the medicinal plant monk pepper. For Irregularities in the female cycle, menstrual cramps or chest pains, for example, it should not be used for treatment on your own for a long period of time. Any symptoms can be harmless, but may also indicate a serious illness. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor before self-treatment.

    Since Monk Pepper interferes with the hormonal balance, every application in pregnancy is prohibitive. This medicinal plant should not be used when a woman is breastfeeding because monk pepper can suppress the formation of milk.

Side effects of monk pepper
    In general, Monk Pepper is very well tolerated in the body. Side effects are usually limited to itching with allergic skin reaction. It is also rare to have headaches after taking chaste tree fruit extracts.

Interactions of Monk Pepper
    Monk Pepper may affect medications that act on the hormone dopamine. These are, for example, drugs against depression such as dopamine recovery inhibitors. But Ritalin also belongs to this class. Ritalin is a medication for the treatment of ADHD. In addition, dopamine-containing medications are used in psychosis and neurosis but also in Parkinson's disease or in emergency medicine in the event of shock conditions in the cardiovascular system.

    Monk Pepper could also affect the effect of estrogens or antiestrogens. Estrogens are used, for example, against menopause symptoms or also for contraception. Antiestrogens are used, among other things, in breast cancer or bone atrophy (osteoporosis).

    With prolactin forming hormones of the pituitary, the ingestion of monk Pepper could obscure the symptoms and thus complicate the diagnosis. If disturbances of the pituitary ( pituitary gland disorder ) are already known in the medical history, a doctor should be consulted before taking monk Pepper.

    Many medical preparations with Monk Pepper can be gotten in your pharmacy without prescription. Tablets, capsules or aqueous alcoholic solutions of the chaste tree fruit are usually offered. As an effective dose, concentrations between 30 and 240 milligrams per single dose is good. Consult the pharmacy or your doctor to find out what dosage will suit your symptoms.

    Unlike many other medicinal plants, tea or baths and other preparations of monk Pepper are considered not to be effective.

Experience with Monk Pepper
    The efficacy of monk Pepper in a whole series of existential disorders or illnesses is uncontroversial, even though not all mechanisms of action have been completely riddled and explained by science. A number of relevant studies have been carried out and more will certainly follow. In numerous forums, for example with gynecological disorders, cycle or menopause, Monk Pepper reappears again and again as a possible, effective treatment method. The successes confirm its effect.

   In case of doubt, it is worthwhile to consult a naturopath or a physician with an alternative medical background before drugs and artificially produced hormones are used for treating only the symptoms of dysfunction and potentially undesirable side effects.

    Also, it should always be noted that, although the human body always works quite similarly on paper, it can react very differently to substances in the case of natural remedies in individual cases. Degrees in phases of existing medication and hormonal fluctuations, it is also important to adjust natural supplements precisely to your own body to achieve the desired results.

    In any case, a doctor should be consulted prior to self-medication with monk pepper, because certain hormone-dependent diseases such as breast cancer or endometriosis are not recommended. In addition, interactions with other medications must be clarified. In puberty, pregnancy and lactation, monk Pepper should not be taken.

Scientific studies and Monk pepper
   The monk's pepper has been known as a medicinal plant for millennia. Some of its effects can be scientifically explained today: Agnus Castus influences the hormonal balance in humans and animals. It is known and proven to be harmonizing on the psyche and helping with a range of skin problems, itching and skin rashes.

   In addition to numerous over-deliveries and experience reports of older and newer dates, many studies have now documented successful treatments of various existential disorders and diseases with monk pepper.

    In May 2013, an Australian research team published the overall evaluation of previously existing data on the use of monk Pepper in PMs and cycle irregularities. Again, the results were very positive. Agnus Castus extract proved to be well tolerated and free of serious side effects.

    PMS, the premenstrual syndrome, causes a whole series of existential disorders that severely affect the quality of life of the affected women month after month. A number of studies have investigated the phenomenon in recent decades, dealing with the causes and tested ways to alleviate the discomfort.

    Laboratory tests and clinical trials were successfully conducted in Germany and China, among others. Typical ailments such as aching, sensitive breast, water accumulation, inner tension and irritability, headaches, digestive problems and depressed moods could be greatly improved with the help of Monk Pepper.

    As early as 2006, employees of the Stanford University Medical faculty, CA, USA, researched the effects of Agnus Castus on women's fertility. The result of the study showed that irregular cycles were harmonised and a whole series of test on pregnant women were tested during the treatment.

    The menopause causes many women's complaints due to the declining production of female sex hormones and the associated "displacements" in the whole organism: hot flashes, sweats, sleep disturbances, depression, irregular cycle with often over-severe bleeding and symptoms similar to those of PMS.

    Instead of a hormone replacement therapy with many risks, it is advisable to support natural remedies such as the monk's pepper. A clinical study conducted in Israel in 2007 is only one of many evidence that monk pepper helps women to overcome this transitional period more easily and effortlessly in a corresponding dosage.

Monk's Pepper from the pharmacy
    The modern Phytotherapy research was able to demonstrate that herbal medicinal products with extracts from monk pepper fruits are extremely effective in the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS often has its cause in a hormonal imbalance. The complaints about PMS are manifold.

    About 70% of all women suffer from PMS under swelling, exciting and aching breasts. As a result of water storage, weight gain may occur. Digestion problems, fatigue and headache are also occurring. The herbal active ingredients, as contained in the preparation of Mastodynon of Bionorica, intervene in the sensitive hormonal control circuit.

    The physical discomfort, among which many women in the days "before the days" suffer, are improved by Mastodynon, a medicinal product which contains in addition to Monk Pepper in a unique combination active ingredients from five other medicinal plants, already after four to six weeks of ingestion.

Monk's Pepper as a drop
    To produce drops on monk pepper basis, the fruits are dried, crushed and then transferred with an alcohol solution. The ripe fruits of the monk pepper plant provide the valuable ingredients for liquid preparations. They are dried, crushed and then transferred with an alcohol solution. Medicines produced on the basis of organically grown plants are preferable.

    The application of monk Pepper tinctures or drops is usually oral. The recommended amount of intake is about 30 to 40 mg per day. Depending on the individual needs and severity of symptoms, medical advice should be obtained for a lower or higher dosage. The medicinal product should be taken over a period of at least 3 months. Only then can the first signs of change be determined.

Monk's Pepper in menopause
    Most of the symptoms of menopause can be traced back to the release of hormone production. Initially, the progesterone decreases, and an estrogen dominance arises. Later, the estrogen level is also severely eliminated. These changes are part of a natural process.

    Despite massive complaints about over 30% of all women, people can do their best in this phase to effect the hormonal shifts. The active ingredients of the monk pepper in the menopause "manipulate" less the hormone level, they are used in regulating the entire hormonal balance.

Monk Pepper and pregnancy
    After ovulation, the so-called yellow body is formed from the follicle. It produces progesterone. This hormone is important so that the uterus can prepare for a possible pregnancy, i.e. the mucous membrane is sufficiently structured. If the time after ovulation (the corpus phase) is shortened by a progesterone deficiency, this can complicate a pregnancy.

Conclusion
Monk Pepper Dry Extract (Vitex agnus-castus) can be used as an effective therapy option to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. There are also convincing clinical data that Vitex agnus-castus is effective in the treatment of premenstrual chest pain (mastalgia). For dysmenorrhea, sufficient efficacy has not been proven. Vitex Agnus-Castus is considered to be well tolerated.

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