Friday, January 07, 2011

Essential Oil of Vitex May Ease Symptoms of PMS and Menopause

Vitex Vitex agnus-castus, also called chaste tree and monk's pepper, is from the family Verbenaceae. A perennial, deciduous shrub, vitex grows to about 6-18 feet high and can spread to about 15 feet. The leaves are dark green, the flowers are small and lilac, and the berries are red- black with a spicy, aromatic flavor and aroma.

Historically, vitex is said to have been chewed by monks to help preserve their celibacy. There are also reports mentioning its use in Greek rituals, as well as the practice of carrying twigs for protection against dangers and to signify chastity.

Vitex essential oil is a pale to dark-yellow color and has a strong aroma, but is not traditionally used in perfumery. The fruit, or berries, are used to produce the oil, which includes the active constituents limonene, 1,8-cineol, pinene, carophyllene, and sabinene.

Therapeutically, vitex essential oil is thought to have hormonal effects, such as support for the relief of common menopausal symptoms[1] and PMS[2], and may also have antibacterial and antifungal effects.

To learn more about vitex, read the full-text article "Essential Oil of Vitex May Ease Symptoms of PMS and Menopause," which originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of the ACHS Reporter HERE.

1 Lucks, B. (2003). Vitex agnus castus essential oil and menopausal balance: a research update. Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery Vol 9, Issue 3 148-154.
2. (2009). The premenstrual syndrome: effectiveness of Vitex agnus castus. Med Monatsschr Pharm. May; 32(5): 186-91.

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