Vitex, also known as chaste berry is a deciduous shrub in the mint family that is distributed throughout Asia and the Mediterranean region. It is an attractive plant that produces lavender flowers. In warmer climates, it is grown as an ornamental to attract butterflies and other pollinators to the garden.
For centuries, chaste berry has had a reputation for curbing libido, which explains its common name. Also known as Monk's Pepper and Cloister Pepper, the herb was cultivated and used as a seasoning in Medieval monasteries for this reason.
Because compounds in chaste berry appear to affect estrogen levels, the herb is also known as “the women’s herb.” However, this also means adverse side effects are possible. Check with your doctor before using this herb if you take pharmaceutical medications or if you have a history of a hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, fibroids or endometriosis.