Pharmacology Book

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Chasteberry

Aka: Chasteberry, Vitex agnus-castus, Monk's Pepper, Chaste Tree Berry
  1. History: Naming
    1. Used by European celibate clergy to decrease libido
  2. Mechanism
    1. Components: Flavinoids, glycosides, essential oils
    2. Key effects: Estrogen and Progesterone
      1. Low dose (example: 20 to 120 mg/day)
        1. May inhibit FSH release and decrease Estrogen level
        2. May stimulate LH release and increase Progesterone
      2. High dose (example: 480 mg/day)
        1. Stimulates Prolactin release
        2. Appears to not affect FSH, LH, Estrogen, Progestins
    3. Other effects
      1. Acts at central Dopamine receptors
  3. Clinical uses
    1. Uses where Chasteberry may be possibly effective
      1. Cyclical Mastalgia
      2. Premenstrual Syndrome
      3. May improve fertility (contraindicated in pregnancy)
    2. Uses where there is insufficient evidence
      1. Altering libido
      2. Stimulation of Lactation
  4. Pregnancy and Lactation
    1. Contraindicated in pregnancy
    2. Not recommended in Lactation
  5. Drug Interactions
    1. None reported
    2. May affect Dopaminergic medications
      1. Medications for Parkinsonism
      2. Metoclopramide
  6. Dosing
    1. Fruit extract 20 to 40 mg daily
  7. Adverse Effects
    1. Gastrointestinal upset
    2. Headache, Dizziness or Fatigue
    3. Xerostomia
  8. References
    1. Roemheld-Hamm (2005) Am Fam Physician 72(5):821-4 [PubMed]
    2. Schellenberg (2001) BMJ 322:134-7 [PubMed]

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