Also known as vitex and lilac chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), herbal healers consider chaste tree berries to be one of the most important herbs for balancing female hormones and promoting all varieties of reproductive and menstrual health. By affecting the pituitary gland, the herb activates the body’s own ability to regulate itself, which can (for example) help lengthen short moon cycles and shorten long ones, promote fertility and breast milk production, and remedy all varieties of unpleasant premenstrual symptoms such as headaches, acne, and cramps.
Bees—creatures sacred to the Great Goddess (aka Mother Nature)—love chaste tree flowers. Plant a chaste tree (or several) in your yard to promote the well-being of this extremely helpful insect and endangered precious resource.
The chaste tree got her name because in ancient times she was employed to dissuade sexual urges. For example, during the festival of Thesmophoria (in honor of the goddess Demeter), when sex was forbidden, Athenian women placed the leaves and branches on their beds to prevent their partners from making advances and maidens wore the flowers to protect their chastity. Similarly, it’s said that Christian monks of ages past wore girdles of the wood and chewed the berries to support them in upholding their vows of celibacy. However, today herbal healers have employed chaste tree berries to increase fertility and sex drive. In fact, according to anecdotal evidence, it appears that taking the herb medicinally supports one in experiencing a balanced relationship with one’s sexuality according to what is currently needed—whether that means increasing sex drive, decreasing sex drive, setting better sexual boundaries, or letting down one’s guard.
While chaste tree berries definitely have an effect on hormones, extensive medical testing has been inconclusive about exactly how and why this occurs. What is clear, however, is that chaste tree’s specialty (magical and medical) has to do with female sexual balance of all varieties: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
To experience these benefits, spend time with a chaste tree, take the flower essence, or consult with a holistic healing practitioner for guidance on how to employ the berries.