The picture above was taken from here. It is a close-up of a cluster of leaves, flowers and berries from the chasteberry tree. The cultivar that is most often documented in medical herbalism is the vitex agnus castus, which grows in the Mediterranean. The cultivar that I have and is pictured above, is the vitex trifolia. There is one more cultivar called the vitex rotundifolia, which I am unfamiliar with.
I gave The Husband a rude shock 3 weeks ago when he caught me staring out our window in tears. Me, the optimistic and always happy one. I couldn't explain myself. I had absolutely no energy for anything and since the overwhelming fatigue prevented me from enjoying life... gardening, cooking, eating, writing, laughing, playing, talking... I felt like dying and thought it might be a nice relief from the intolerable state of vegetative living.
Needless to say, The Husband was MOST concerned. He left HIS hobbies alone to come and sit with me, hold me and chat with me. It helped. But only a little bit.
It turned out that I was simply severely anaemic and severely lacking in Vitamin B12... a result of a diet with insufficient animal fat, and monthly menstruation flow heavy enough to fatten up a few vampires at once. Meanwhile, I began to look like a wraith and behave like one. It was all a terribly ghoulish experience.
With the right vitamins and iron supplements, I began to feel alive again until 5 days ago when I began to experience the now familiar premenstrual tension. I become fat with water retention. The breasts become sore. The uterus becomes so engorged with blood that a hard lump develops at the pelvic region. The severe uterine cramping begins. And an overwhelming fatigue sets in because there is so little blood left to sustain the rest of my body. I feared that I was again to become a vampire's buffet.
I brewed myself a mug of chasteberry tea everyday for the past 5 days. I was not hopeful at all because much of the literature suggests that one would have to take this tea for a month at least to see any results. By day 2, the hard lump of the engorged uterus had softened considerably. By day 3, the uterine cramping had become far more gentle than I remembered in many many months. It had almost become normal for me to bear with a few days of almost-labour pains every month. When the menstruation began on day 4, I was amazed that I wasn't prostrate the whole day.
Instead, I was up and about hosting one party and then attending another. It was all nerve-wracking for The Husband who would have been much embarrassed by my absence from his side. I was still a little less than my usual energetic self, but at least I could function and look normal.
I am EVEN MORE amazed that the menstrual flow today is only 30% the normal volume. I am not a vampire's buffet this month. Maybe just a snack... With this, it will be easier to re-establish my haemoglobin levels and come back to the human world from wraithland.
This said, I have also been taking rose tea which is supposed to reduce internal haemorrhaging. So I don't really know which tea I have to thank for the light menstrual flow. I do know however that the sore breasts, water retention and extreme fatigue went almost away after 3 doses of chasteberry tea.
I will stop taking rose tea next month and see if chasteberry tea alone does reduce heavy menstruation.