I've signed up for a couple of aromatherapy email lists, hoping to glean some learning as the professionals chat amongst themselves, and there's an interesting conversation going on about treating menopausal symptoms with this essential oil.From the general profile located here:
Some people are recommending the oil from the berries only, others are combining oils from the berry and leaves equally (1:1 ratio) and using that. The testimonies are pretty impressive; just thought someone in our "crowd" might find it interesting. I don't suffer from PMS badly enough to treat it (other than one, spectacular cramp per month-- I imagine that I'm ovulating, although I have no real idea), but I thought there might be others who'd like to check it out. Comments from the email list:
Vitex agnus castus has been used in herbal form for many hundreds of years. Native to Mediterranean climates, the plant is a member of the verbenaceae family. The berries are the part traditionally used, most often powdered in capsules or in a tincture. As the botanical name implies, the plant was used to promote chastity, and was so successful in quashing desire in medieval monasteries that it was added to the food as a seasoning, thus earning one of its common names, “monks pepper”. Most people know the plant as chaste tree. It has been used in Europe, and much more recently in the United States, for a wide variety of female hormonal imbalances. Many modern works on menopause, including Christiane Northrup’s “The Wisdom of Menopause”, reference the herb as a valuable tool
I have had more success with the berries rather than the leaves. Hi there! I have used chaste berry in both the berry and leaf oils,
separately as well as together along with the extract/tincture of the
chaste berries. I have had very good results with all three of what I just
mentioned. I grow chaste berry trees and make my own tinctures and oils
with great results. I have not had a hot flash until, persuaded by my dh,
went to a bio-identical hormone doctor about 2 months ago. This doc put me
on some "bio-identical" formula and presto I started having "hot flashes"
that were terrible. One week later I went back to my own natural hormone
balancing using chaste berry oil and rose oil. No more hot flashes and no
more new bio-doc. So I can tell you that the chaste berry oil, chaste berry
leaf oil and the tincture/extracts of chaste berry do work and work
exceedingly well. By the way I have been using chaste berry oils in my
hormone formulas since about 2000 with great results.
There are studies on this .. and I have a kit bag full of personal
testimonials that support what you say .. it does work for reducing hot
flashes. And Margaret did well to purchase both because the Berry is
stronger than the Leaf .. and some ladies want to find what is best for them
.. not everybody reacts the same. And good it is that Stacey was specific
in stating that the person is not on hormones .. if they were then they
should not use Vitex. As for men .. they should not sniff it anyway .. it causes nausea in men.