Chaste berries are the fruit of the chaste tree (Vitex castus-agnus). It is a large shrub or small tree, growing anywhere from 1-6m tall, depending on soil quality and structure, with mass spikes of tiny, lilac to pink flowers in spring, followed by the peppercorn-like berries, which are used as medicine. It is native to the Mediterranean region and Western Asia, where it has featured prominently in traditional medical systems for at least 1500 years; predominantly as a hormone-balancer.
Traditional indications included, for bringing in milk and cleansing the uterus after birthing, for reducing uterine inflammation and menstrual pain, for relieving some types of headaches, and for treating epilepsy and other disorders of the brain. Modern use around the world still echoes these sentiments, and chaste is widely used for a variety of female conditions, as well as being employed as a calmative herb. Chaste berry is a progesterone agonist, so in cases of low progesterone, it is used to improve fertility and protect against miscarriage.
For horses, chaste berry is most commonly used to provide support for mares who experience strong hormonal swings throughout their cycle, which can lead to behavioural issues, or just general discomfort for the mare.
According to the European Union herbal monograph, chaste berry is thought to influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, possibly masking the effects of prolactin, which may explain its usefulness in the management of Equine Cushing’s Disease.
Although chaste berry is officially contraindicated through pregnancy, due to it not having been put through rigorous, modern safety testing – it appears from traditional use that it may be of good value to new mothers, after the trauma of labour.
Chaste berry is readily palatable to most horses, so it can be fed mixed directly into your horse’s daily hard feed. We offer chaste berry as a finely-ground meal of the whole, dried berry, which we grind freshly on-site and package into airtight, lightproof bags. This keeps the berries as fresh as possible until they get to you, for maximum retention of the beneficial constituents, while the small particle size makes them readily digestible by your horse once they enter the feed bucket, for optimal nutrient uptake. We also offer whole berries, in case you would like to grind your own. We recommend that you use your ground berries within six months of opening the bag, although the fresher the better, so if you are only feeding to a very small horse, it would be best to choose the smaller bag size.
Chaste berries are typically given at a rate of 2g/100kg bodyweight daily, or 10g daily for a 500kg horse.
We also offer chaste berries as a part of our tailored blend for ‘moody mares’ – Serene Queen.