Chasteberry is said to help balance women's hormones. Some use it for PMS relief, but the overwhelming majority use it to help counter menstruation problems and reproductive complications associated with hormone imbalances and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Some scientists have shown a promising link between chasteberry and fertility, while other tests showed little or no improvement. According to the U.S. National Centre for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, chasteberry is considered generally safe, but like all medicines, herbal or otherwise, there are some reported side effects.
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Chasteberry affects your hormonal systems, according to the National Centre for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. When you take the herb, you might experience changes to your menstrual cycle. Your period could come at a different time and be heavier or lighter. The changes depend on each women's hormone levels and cycles. You might also experience irregular PMS symptoms. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 400 mg of the herb taken each morning can ease PMS symptoms. Because chasteberry affects hormone systems, you should avoid it if you're pregnant, breastfeeding or have hormone sensitive cancers.
Chasteberry doesn't have any specific known drug interactions, but if you have Parkinson's disease, you shouldn't use the herb. Chasteberry affects dopamine production in your brain. According to a 2005 article published in American Family Physician, chasteberry affects how Parkinson's medications, like bromocriptines and metoclopramides, work in your body. Work with your doctor to determine which medical condition takes priority and adjust your treatment plan accordingly.
Mild side effects
American Family Physician points out that some people who use chasteberry will experience common and mild side effects such as dizziness, upset stomach, headache and fatigue. These symptoms can decrease over time and usually don't require a doctor's care; however, it's important to keep your doctor informed of side effects you have when taking the herb.
Chasteberry both increases and decreases libido, according to American Family Physician. The herb has been used historically to reduce sexual desire, hence its name. Libido is reported to decrease at dosages over 480 mg per day but is also shown to increase at doses of 120 mg per day. Research about chasteberry's effects on libido aren't conclusive, but because its side effects are so mild, it may be a safe herb to try if you suffer from low or high libido.
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