There is a lot of literature about the herbal uses for chaste tree, but very little documented usage of the essential oil. Claims have been made that chaste tree essential oil enhances the production of progesterone, bringing balance to female hormones. It may ease menstrual discomforts such as cramps, irritability, headaches, depression and breast swelling. Chaste tree also works well for reducing the symptoms of menopause. Early studies suggest it may be helpful for those suffering from infertility and irregular menstrual cycles. Chaste tree, in herbal form, is used for polycystic ovarian syndrome, uterine fibroids, infertility, and miscarriages due to luteal phase defects. Essential oils have the same therapeutic properties as the plants from which they are made. The therapeutic properties are more concentrated in the essential oil, often making them even more effective than in the herbal form.
The Vitex agnus castus variety of chaste tree is native to the Mediterranean area (Turkey), while Vitex negundo is found in Asia and Africa. Studies are being conducted at Ege University in Izmir, Turkey, on the use of Vitex oil for reversing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In the book by Connie and Alan Higley, Reference Guide for Essential Oils, the Higleys seem to be indicating that the Vitex studied for Parkinson’s is Vitex negundo. The essential oils of both plants contain sesquiterpenes. Sesquiterpenes cross the blood/brain barrier, carrying the L-dopa and other therapeutic properties of the essential oil along with them.