What is it?


Vitex agnus-castus (VAC) is also commonly known as chaste tree or chasteberry. The plant’s main constituents include vitexin, casticin, agnuside, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, alkaloids, and diterpenoids. The fruit consists of flavonoids, terpenoids, neolignans, phenolic compounds, and glycerides. (20) Its main flavonoids include casticin, vitexin, and orientin. (8) Standardized extracts typically measure the iridoid or flavonoid content where aucubin (iridoid glycoside) or agnuside is used as the reference material. (9)

Main uses

Premenstrual syndrome
Regulation of hormonal balance


Agnolyt ® (100 g of tincture provides 9 g of VAC with 1:5 ratio. A capsule contains dried extract of VAC fruit [9.58–11,5 : 1] 3.5–4.2mg) (5)
Considered as safe with no serious adverse events; 12 of 85 patients reported mild GI distress, skin manifestations or headaches, while 5 reported similarly in B6 group (13)
Agnucaston ® - BNO 1095 (70% ethanol, 30% H2O extract; 4 mg of extract equivalent to 40 mg of dry weight (10:1 ratio) VAC) (2) (25)
No adverse events over 3 menstrual cycles (12)
Agnugol ® (3.2-4.8 mg dried fruit extract ) (6)
No side effects over 8 weeks (6)
No side effects over 3 months as compared to metformin (24)
Prefemin® - Ze 440 (60% ethanol m/m, fruit extract ratio 6-12:1 standardized for casticin; 20 mg of extract equivalent to 120-240 mg of dry weight VAC) (22)
Equal instances (~5%) of reported adverse events between VAC (20 mg per day) and placebo groups with good tolerability over 3 cycles (22)
No serious adverse events with VAC (20 mg per day) over 3 cycles (18)
20/50 reported 37 adverse events, none serious in nature (20 mg per day) over 8 cycles (3)
Physicians suspected adverse events in 1% of patients with no serious effects. 94% of patients describe tolerance as good or very good (14)
Strotan ® (each capsule contains 20 mg of VAC) (16)
No side effects observed with VAC (20 mg) over 3 months (16)

Dosing & administration

Adverse effects

Vitex agnus-castus does not pose serious health risks and is considered safe. However, it is recommended that pregnant and lactating women avoid its use due to limited safety data in these states. Commonly reported side effects include nausea, headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, menstrual disorders, acne, pruritus, and erythematous rash. However, these side effects are mild and reversible. (4)(5)


The pharmacokinetics of VAC have been scarcely studied.


  • In mice, the oral bioavailability of agnuside was 0.7% with peak plasma concentrations achieved within 30-45 minutes of administration. (21)
  • In vitro, BNO 1095 (a VAC extract) solubility and permeability was improved once it was nano-emulsified, suggesting the possibility for improved bioavailability. (19)


  • In mice, agnuside was found in the highest amounts in the intestine, kidney, liver, spleen, brain, lungs and heart. (21)


  • No data is currently available.


  • No data is currently available.
  1. Abbaspoor, Z. (2011). Effect of Vitex agnus-castus on menopausal early symptoms in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double blind, placebo –controlled study. British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research,1(3), 132-140. ()
  2. Bachman, C. (2011). Mönchspfeffer bei prämenstruellem syndrom. Fortbildung,25-26. Retrieved from https://www.rosenfluh.ch/media/arsmedici-dossier/2011/10/Moenchspfeffer_bei_PMS.pdf. ()
  3. Berger, D., Schaffner, W., Schrader, E., Meier, B., & Brattström, A. (2000). Efficacy of Vitex agnus castus L. extract Ze 440 in patients with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics,264(3), 150-153. ()
  4. Carmichael, A. R. (2008). Can Vitex agnus castus be used for the treatment of mastalgia? What Is the current evidence? Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,5(3), 247-250. ()
  5. Daniele, C., Coon, J. T., Pittler, M. H., & Ernst, E. (2005). Vitex agnus castus: A systematic review of. adverse events. Drug Safety,28(4), 319-332. ()
  6. Eftekhari, M. H., Rostami, Z. H., Emami, M. J., & Tabatabaee, H. R. (2014). Effects of “vitex agnus castus” extract and magnesium supplementation, alone and in combination, on osteogenic and angiogenic factors and fracture healing in women with long bone fracture. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences,19(1), 1-7. ()
  7. Ghahremaninasab, P. , Shahnazi, M., Khalili, A. F., & Hamdi, K. (2016). The effects of combined low-dose oral contraceptives and Vitex agnus on the improvement of clinical and paraclinical parameters of polycystic ovarian syndrome: A triple-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal,18(12). ()
  8. Hajdú, Z., Hohmann, J., Forgo, P., Martinek, T., Dervarics, M., Zupkó, I., . . . Máthé, I. (2007). Diterpenoids and flavonoids from the fruits of Vitex agnus-castus and antioxidant activity of the fruit extracts and their constituents. Phytotherapy Research,21(4), 391-394. ()
  9. Hajimehdipoor, H., Shekarchi, M., Hamedani, M. P., Abedi, Z., Zahedi, H., Shekarchi, M., & Gohan, A. R. (2011). A Validated HPTLC-Densitometric Method for Assay of Aucubin in Vitex agnus-castus L. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 10(4), 705-710. ()
  10. Halaska, M., Beles, P., Gorkow, C., & Sieder, C. (1999). Treatment of cyclical mastalgia with a solution containing a Vitex agnus castus extract: Results of a placebo-controlled double-blind study. Ceska Gynekologie,8(4), 175-181. ()
  11. Halaska, M., Raus, K., Beles, P., Martan, A., & Paithner, K. G. (1998). Treatment of cyclical mastalgia using an extract of Vitex agnus castus extract: Results of a double-blind comparison with a placebo. Ceska Gynekologie,63(5), 388-392. ()
  12. He, Z., Chen, R., Zhou, Y., Geng, L., Zhang, Z., Chen, S., . . . Lin, S. (2009). Treatment for premenstrual syndrome with Vitex agnus castus: A prospective, randomized, multi-center placebo controlled study in China. Maturitas,63(1), 99-103. ()
  13. Lauritzen, C., Reuter, H., Repges, R., Böhnert, K., & Schmidt, U. (1997). Treatment of premenstrual tension syndrome with Vitex agnus castus controlled, double-blind study versus pyridoxine. Phytomedicine, 4(3), 183-189. ()
  14. Loch, E., Selle, H., & Boblitz, N. (2000). Treatment of premenstrual syndrome with a phytopharmaceutical formulation containing Vitex agnus castus. Journal of Womens Health & Gender-Based Medicine, 9(3), 315-320. ()
  15. Ma, L., Lin, S., Chen, R., & Wang, X. (2010). Treatment of moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome with Vitex agnus castus (BNO 1095) in Chinese women. Gynecological Endocrinology,26(8), 612-616. ()
  16. Milewicz, A., Gejdel, E., Sworen, H., Sienkiewicz, K., Jedrzejak, J., Teucher, T., & Schmitz, H. (1993). Vitex agnus castus extract in the treatment of luteal phase defects due to latent hyperprolactinemia. Results of a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study. Arzneimitell-Forschung, 43(7), 752-756. ()
  17. Mirghafourvand, M., Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi, S., Ahmadpour, P., & Javadzadeh, Y. (2015). Effects of Vitex agnus and Flaxseed on the menstrual bleeding: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Zanjan University of Medical Sciences and Health Services,23(100), 90-95. ()
  18. Momoeda, M., Sasaki, H., Tagashira, E., Ogishima, M., Takano, Y., & Ochiai, K. (2014). Efficacy and safety of Vitex agnus-castus extract for treatment of premenstrual syndrome in japanese patients: A prospective, open-label study. Advances in Therapy, 31(3), 362-373. ()
  19. Piazzini, V., Monteforte, E., Luceri, C., Bigagli, E., Bilia, A. R., & Bergonzi, M. C. (2017). Nanoemulsion for improving solubility and permeability of Vitex agnus-castus extract: Formulation and in vitro evaluation using PAMPA and Caco-2 approaches. Drug Delivery,24(1), 380-390. ()
  20. Rafieian-Kopaei, M., & Movahedi, M. (2017). Systematic review of premenstrual, postmenstrual and infertility disorders of Vitex agnus castus. Electronic Physician,9(1), 3685-3689. ()
  21. Ramakrishna, R., Bhateria, M., Singh, R., Puttrevu, S. K., & Bhatta, R. S. (2016). Plasma pharmacokinetics, bioavailability and tissue distribution of agnuside following peroral and intravenous administration in mice using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis,125, 154-164. ()
  22. Schellenberg, R. (2001). Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: Prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study. Bmj,322(7279), 134-137. ()
  23. Schellenberg, R., Zimmermann, C., Drewe, J., Hoexter, G., & Zahner, C. (2012). Dose-dependent efficacy of the Vitex agnus castus extract Ze 440 in patients suffering from premenstrual syndrome. Phytomedicine,19(14), 1325-1331. ()
  24. Shayan, A., Masoumi, S. Z., Shobeiri, F., Tohidi, S., & Khalili, A. (2016). Comparing the effects of agnugol and metformin on oligomenorrhea in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Journal Of Clinical And Diagnostic Research,10(12), QC13-QC16. ()
  25. Wuttke, W., Jarry, H., Christoffel, V., Spengler, B., & Seidlová-Wuttke, D. (2003). Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) – Pharmacology and clinical indications. Phytomedicine,10(4), 348-357. ()
  26. Zamani, M., Neghab, N., & Torabian, S. (2012). Therapeutic effect of Vitex agnus castus in patients with premenstrual syndrome. Acta Medica Iranica,50(2), 101-106. ()

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