Are you looking for a natural remedy to treat your PCOS or menstrual problems? Is the pill failing to solve your fertility issues? Vitex herb might be what you have been looking for. The history of its use for female health conditions dates back to ancient Greek times. No wonder, modern science has also started to acknowledge its beneficial health effects.
Various studies suggest taking Vitex could be your natural solution to the common female health problems. In our Asana by LadiesBalance women’s hormone balancing supplement, it is one of the primary herbs in the formula for many good reasons. Continue reading to know how it works and the best ways to take it.
A Quick Overview of Vitex Herb for Women’s Hormones
Also called Vitex Agnus-castus, it is the fruit obtained from chaste tree. For the same reason, people also call it chaste berry. Locally, it is known by the name “women’s herb”. Why? you will know why after reading this article. It helps to maintain estrogen hormone balance.
People have been using this herb to treat irregular menstruation, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, and bleeding for centuries. It may also be effective against breast pain and miscarriage.
What Makes Vitex An Effective Herb for Female Health?
No doubt, Vitex is a panacea for many female health problems, which have their roots in hormone imbalance.
But the big question is how Vitex works? As a consumer, you have every right to ask this question. In order to answer this in the most scientific way, we have compiled its health benefits after a deep research. The main active chemicals in Vitex are essential oils, flavonoids, iridoids, diterpenoids, and vitexlactam.
- Vitex has antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants are the chemical species that prevent cell damage from the highly active chemicals called free radicals (FRs). Cellular damage due to the free radicals has been linked to aging and chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and others. Tannins and flavonoids in Vitex are the major chemicals that prevent cell damages and maintenance of good health.
- Vitex protects your pancreas.
The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin, which is necessary for maintaining an optimum blood glucose level. As you age, the rate of pancreatic cell death becomes rapid. According to a 2017 study, Vitex prevents the death of the pancreatic cells. Interestingly, this protective activity may be present whether or not you have diabetes.
In addition, Vitex helps to improve insulin sensitivity thus reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in future.
- Vitex may help to reduce blood glucose levels
Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose level) is a hallmark of PCOS, a common health problem among women during their reproductive years.
Vitex helps to bring down blood glucose levels in the healthy range. There are two mechanisms behind this. First, it increases the production of insulin. Next, it enhances the ability of the cells to utilize available insulin.
- Vitex may help to improve common PCOS symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism, acne, and infertility
In 2014, a study that reviewed 33 other studies revealed some interesting benefits of Vitex for PCOS. The researchers found that taking Vitex for three months significantly improved menstrual irregularities, reduced androgen levels, and treated infertility. Wondering how all these became possible? Given below is the proposed mechanism.
The active chemicals in Vitex bind to specific dopamine receptors in the brain. As a result, it cuts down the secretion of a hormone called prolactin. This, in turn, raises the levels of estrogen and progesterone. Thus, it improves pregnancy rates and helps to normalize menstrual cycles.
Most notably, one study in this research also found that Vitex may be as effective as a prescription drug Bromocriptine. Bromocriptine is prescribed for the patients with infertility and menstrual problems.
In fact, these results support the previous finding that a supplement containing Vitex, green tea, and vitamins could be an alternative to conventional fertility treatment.
- Vitex may help to improve the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) including premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
PMS refers to a range of physical and psychological symptoms that affects up to 75% of women who have periods. Common symptoms include low or high moods, breast tenderness, tiredness, irritability and depressive thoughts. PMDD is a more severe form of PMS.
Taking Vitex seems to be a safe and effective natural treatment alternative in managing the PMS symptoms. The study was conducted among Japanese women and the dose used was 20 mg extract for three menstrual cycles. A similar study was carried out in 2010 in Chinese women. No wonder, the results from both the studies confirmed the benefits of Vitex in PMS.
- Vitex may help to relieve pain and discomfort from endometriosis
Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the tissues lining the inside of the uterus grow outside the uterus. As a result, it causes severe abdominal pain, heavy periods and even infertility. The exact cause is not clear. A combination of genetic factors and hormone imbalance may play a critical role. Unfortunately, you have no cure for endometriosis.
According to the University of Maryland, taking Vitex for 12 to 18 months may provide a relief.
How does vitex help with PMS symptoms and your feminine health?
Your brain controls the PMS symptoms. When you take Vitex, the chemicals in it reach the brain and act at specific sites called opioid receptors. Remember opioid receptors are the same sites where powerful painkillers like Morphine act. Moreover, the opioid system also regulates your mood and hunger. Worried if it could lead to an addiction? The action of Vitex is weaker than that of Morphine. So, there is no risk of developing an addiction.
Vitex in the brain blocks the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). This reduces the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Finally, it regulates the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries.
In conclusion, Vitex works to relieve the PMS symptoms by reducing pain, improving mood and regulating key female hormones.
The Best Ways To Take Vitex for Managing Female Health
For maximum benefits, it is very important to take a supplement in the right way and right dose. That way, you might also be able to prevent or reduce the occurrences of undesirable effects. Make sure to consult a doctor before taking any supplements. Also, take an extra caution if you have a longstanding illness or take a medicine (both prescription and OTC).
You can get different forms of Vitex in a nearby pharmacy. Alternately, you may also order it online. In any case, make sure you buy products from a reputed vendor only. It is available in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid extract or tincture.
The doses can vary depending on the specific medical condition, your general health and other factors like age, weight, and presence of other medical condition.
Vitex dosage for different female health conditions are given below.
- PMS: 400 milligrams daily before breakfast
- Uterine fibroids: 400 milligrams twice daily
- Infertility: 160–240 milligrams daily
- Acne: 160 milligrams daily
- Endometriosis: 400 milligrams twice daily
- Menopause: 160–240 milligrams daily
Does Vitex Cause Any Serious Side Effects?
As of now, there are no reports of any serious side effects when you use Vitex according to the instructions. Nonetheless, some patients may experience mild symptoms. For example, upset stomach, dry mouth, and dizziness.
We would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts on how you’ve used the herb vitex chasteberry to support your feminine health in the comment box below.
- Arentz, Susan., et al. “Herbal medicine for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and associated oligo/amenorrhoea and hyperandrogenism; a review of the laboratory evidence for effects with corroborative clinical findings.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014 Dec 18;14:511.
- Westphal, LM., et al. “A nutritional supplement for improving fertility in women: a pilot study.” The Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 2004 Apr;49(4):289-93.
- Momoeda, M., et al. “Efficacy and safety of Vitex agnus-castus extract for treatment of premenstrual syndrome in Japanese patients: a prospective, open-label study.” Advances in Therapy. 2014 Mar;31(3):362-73.
- Męczekalski, B., et al. “[Vitex Agnus Castus in the treatment of hyperprolactinemia and menstrual disorders – a case report].” Polski Merkuriusz Lekarski 2015 Jul;39(229):43-6.
- Ma, L., et al. “Treatment of moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome with Vitex agnus castus (BNO 1095) in Chinese women.” Gynecological Endocrinology 2010 Aug;26(8):612-6.
- Webster, DE., et al. “Activation of the mu-opiate receptor by Vitex agnus-castus methanol extracts: implication for its use in PMS.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2006 Jun 30;106(2):216-21.
- van Die, MD., et al. “Vitex agnus-castus extracts for female reproductive disorders: a systematic review of clinical trials.” Planta Medica 2013 May;79(7):562-75.
- Ahangarpour, Akram., et al. “Pancreatic protective and hypoglycemic effects of Vitex agnus-castus L. fruit hydroalcoholic extract in D-galactose-induced aging mouse model” Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences 2017 Apr; 12(2): 137–143.