Chasteberry Dosing and Safety

safety

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to members of the Vitex (Verbenaceae) family or any chasteberry components. Mild skin reactions have been reported in clinical trials including eczema, itching, rash, skin eruptions, urticaria (hives) and allergic exanthema.

Side Effects and Warnings

Chasteberry is likely safe when used orally in otherwise healthy adults using appropriate doses for the short-term alleviation of signs and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or hyperprolactinemia (elevated serum prolactin levels). Chasteberry appears to be generally well tolerated with few adverse events reported. In an observational trial of 551 patients, approximately 5% experienced side effects, which were primarily mild. However, there are no currently no available studies evaluating the long-term effects of chasteberry.
Rare occurrences of the following side effects have been reported: acne, alopecia (hair loss), eczema, itching, rash, skin eruptions, urticaria ("hives"), headache, vertigo, seizure, drowsiness, agitation, fatigue, sweating and dry mouth, depressed mood, increased intra-ocular pressure, tachycardia (fast heart rate), palpitations, circulatory disorders, pulmonary edema (lung swelling), diarrhea, nausea, gas/flatulence, heartburn, and vomiting, altered gonadotropin and ovarian hormone levels, hot flashes, mastalgia (breast pain), cycle changes, fibroid growth and weight gain, polyuria (frequent urination), menstrual bleeding, vaginitis (inflamed vagina), pelvic disease, and nosebleed.
Nevertheless, use cautiously in patients taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
Use cautiously in patients taking dopamine agonists or antagonists. Additionally, caution is advised in patients with Parkinson's disease and other illnesses of the central nervous systems as medications used for these conditions often affect dopamine and taking them with chasteberry may increase effects and side effects.
Avoid using in patients with hormone sensitive cancers or conditions, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and in women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Except under strict medical supervision, chasteberry should not be used in pregnancy due to potential uterine stimulatory properties. Some clinicians have used chasteberry in progesterone deficient women during their first trimester to prevent miscarriage, but it is not known if chasteberry is helpful or safe for this indication.
Chasteberry is not recommended in breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Chasteberry competitively binds to dopamine receptors and has been shown to affect prolactin secretion, possibly resulting in decreased breast milk production. However, some clinicians actually use low doses to stimulate milk production with some reported benefits.

dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

Some experts recommend taking chasteberry on an empty stomach in the morning for maximal benefits. However, no studies have confirmed this finding. Various doses of chasteberry have been used in studies and practice. Traditional doses have ranged from 3.5-4.5 milligrams per day of dried extract to 600 milligrams three times per day of dried fruit. Other traditional dosing includes an aqueous alcoholic extract derived from 30-40 milligrams of dried fruit daily in 50-70% alcohol (v/v); 0.03-0.04 milliliters daily of fluid extract (1:1 gram per milliliter); 0.15-0.2 milliliter daily of tincture (1:5 gram per milliliter); 2.6-4.2 milligrams daily of a dried extract (9.5-11.5:1 w/w); or 0.5-1.0 grams of dried fruit taken three times daily.

Children (younger than 18 years):

There is no proven safe or effective dose for chasteberry in children.

interactions

Interactions with Drugs

Chasteberry has been shown to bind to D-2 receptors and therefore may alter dopaminergic effects. Caution is advised in patients with Parkinson's disease and other illnesses of the central nervous systems as medications used for these conditions often affect dopamine and taking them with chasteberry may increase effects and side effects.
Chasteberry may increase plasma levels of estrogens and progesterone. Caution is advised in patients taking birth control pills or other agents that alter hormones, such as hormone replacement therapy.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Chasteberry has been shown to bind to D-2 receptors and therefore may alter dopaminergic effects. Caution is advised in patients with Parkinson's disease and other illnesses of the central nervous systems as medications used for these conditions often affect dopamine and taking them with chasteberry may increase effects and side effects.
Chasteberry may increase plasma levels of estrogens and progesterone. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that may also alter hormone levels due to possible adverse effects.