According to WebMD, chaste tree, or Vitex agnus-castus, is a well-known herbal remedy for female issues, such as irregular periods, premenstrual syndrome, menopausal symptoms, acne outbreak and breast pains. It is also used to treat other conditions, including dementia, joint pains, colds, nervousness, severe and chronic headaches, inflammation or swelling, stomach aches, and spleen impairments.
Vitex agnus-castus goes by different names, such as Vitex, Chasteberry, Monk's Pepper and chaste tree. HowStuffWorks reports that chaste tree was historically known to be effective in reducing sex drive in both men and women. In fact, monks chewed the vegetative parts of a chaste tree to promote celibacy. This anaphrodisiac property earned Vitex agnus-castus the names chaste tree, Chasteberry and Monk's Pepper. Wikipedia also states that Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder reported in his "Historia Naturalis" that Athenian women used the Vitex stems and leaves to maintain their chastity when they left their husbands during the feast of Thesmophoria.
The health prowess of chaste tree lies on its flavonoid, terpenoid and iridoid glycoside constituents, which according to HowStuffworks, function similarly as the hormone progesterone. Low levels of progesterone are generally blamed for the abnormalities in female reproductive systems, such as irregular menstrual cycles, excessive or scarce bleeding and even infertility. Chaste tree normalizes the levels of progesterone in the body, and in so doing also fixes a woman's natural ovulation cycle, which allows pregnancy to occur.
Due to its capability to tamper with the body's hormonal functions, chaste tree is dangerous to use during pregnancy. However, WebMD reports that it is helpful in forcing the placenta out of the body with ease after childbirth and boosting the production of breast milk.