Are you suffering from uncomfortable symptoms that occur due to conditions like irregular menstrual periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, or infertility, thinking that there is no remedy for the pain and discomfort?
The remedy is Vitex (or chasteberry), a small brown berry that has been around and used for several centuries, and has been observed as very effective by several independent scientific studies. Coming in a peppercorn-like size, Vitex has an extensive 2,000 year history of being used as an herbal medicine.
So, what is Vitex? How does it help women relieve their symptoms and treat diseases? What are its advantages, and how should one take it? Read on and get the answers to all these questions and more!.
Vitex Chasteberry Health Benefits
1. Reduces PMS Symptoms
This is the most prominent and well-known use of Vitex. Not surprisingly, over 75% of women experience PMS, and by extension experience several uncomfortable emotional and physical symptoms which occur about 2-14 days prior to their period. These symptoms can be reduced (if not entirely eliminated) if hormones are brought to proper balance. Which is exactly where Vitex comes in.
One of the best natural treatments to relieve symptoms of PMS, Vitex reduces prolactin by suppressing its release from the pituitary gland, in turn reducing symptoms like tenderness of the breasts, irritable moods, and headache. According to a series of six studies conducted in Australia, five found that Vitex extracts were better than a placebo when it came to treating PMS.
2. Reduces Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids refer to tumors of non-cancerous nature that occur within the walls of the uterus, and lead to uncomfortable symptoms in addition to an alteration in the shape and/or size of the uterus. Hormonal imbalance is a key cause of this condition, which can be prevented by taking chasteberry in regular doses, which will help balance the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio.
3. Helps Improve Fertility In Females
Vitex has been observed to have improved fertility rates, especially in women who suffered from a defect in their luteal phase (i.e. have their menstrual cycle's second half very shortened). Since the ovaries in such women do not release enough progesterone, they have a great deal of trouble maintaining fertility.
A trial was conducted on 48 women ranging between the ages of 23-39, all of whom suffered from infertility. The women were given chasteberry once a day for 3 months. Seven of them conceived, while 25 others experienced better levels of progesterone, which increases the odds of getting pregnant. It was therefore concluded that chasteberry was indeed an effective natural infertility treatment for women.
4. Helps Clear Acne
We all know that hormonal fluctuations and imbalances are one of the main causes of acne, something that is especially applicable if you are a woman. If you are one of the many who suffers from a monthly acne outbreak, Vitex just might be the perfect solution for you thanks to its inherent ability to regulate hormones and reduce the occurrence of acne in women.
5. Helps In Treating Endometriosis
A very painful reproductive disorder, Endometriosis is characterized by the outgrowth of a particular tissue that is supposed to line the inner part of your uterus, the outside of it, and generally involves the bowels, ovaries, and pelvis lining tissue. While the real causal factor is unknown, scientists assume that genetics and hormonal imbalances act as some of the major factors.
While it is not possible to do much as far as genetics are concerned, it is possible to overcome hormonal imbalance to some extent by taking Vitex. For treating endometriosis naturally, it is recommended to take chasteberry for a long term (i.e. 12-18 months) to treat the condition.
6. Helps In Treating Amenorrhea
A rather serious medical condition, Amenorrhea is characterized by a sudden stop of menstrual periods in a woman who is of reproductive age and who is not pregnant. If your period has ceased even though you're not pregnant or going through menopause, it is a rather alarming matter.
Amenorrhea may have several causal factors, one of them being too large a quantity of prolactin in your body, that in turn leads to a deficiency of estrogen (called hypoestrogenism). Taking Vitex supplements can help regulate prolactin levels and helps sufferers achieve a healthy balance of progesterone and estrogen.
7. Helps In Increasing Lactation
Chasteberry is extremely popular in Europe as an herb that helps increase lactation. According to a study that was conducted by the Health System of Michigan University, Vitex supplementation was observed to have increased the quantity of milk made by mothers regardless of complications in pregnancy.
Yet another German study conducted earlier discovered that only 15 drops of Vitex in the form of a tincture everyday was more effective in helping mothers produce more milk (regardless of whether or not they suffered from pregnancy complications) as opposed to taking vitamins such as B1.
The specific Vitex herbs that help increase breastmilk flow are called galactagogues.
That said, there is not too much evidence to support whether Vitex is actually safe/unsafe for lactating women, which makes it best to consult a doctor prior to actually taking it.
8. Reduces Symptoms Of Menopause
The final end of a woman's fertile period, menopause is referred to as the 12 months that follows your final menstrual period, and generally occurs during the 40s or the 50s (the average age for menopause in U.S is 51). To get the best effects, Vitex is sometimes used in combination with other useful herbs like dong quai or black cohosh.
According to a study that was published in the medical journal Gynecological Endocrinology in 2007, any herbal supplement that contained chasteberry relieved both pre-and-postmenopausal women from symptoms such as hot flushes and disturbances in sleep, among others. According to another study conducted in 2015, Vitex supplements proved to be very instrumental in reducing moderate to severe symptoms of menopause.
9. Help Treat Enlarged Prostate
A medical condition generally associated with age, benign-prostatic-hyperplasia is characterized by the enlargement of the prostate gland, which causes, among other things, difficulty in urination.
According to a study conducted in 2005 by the Pharmaceutical Biology Institute at Basel University, Switzerland, Vitex agnus-castus fruit extracts contain elements that helps reduce enlarged prostrate and even prevents the spread of and kills cells responsible for prostate cancer. It is therefore a potentially instrumental treatment for such conditions.
Vitex Proper Type And Ideal Dosage
Vitex can be found in several forms and is easily available both in local health stores and online. Vitex, or chasteberry, in its dried and ripe condition is used to make solid and/or liquid extracts which are then inserted in tablets and capsules. You can, however, try the liquid extract if you don't like tablets and capsules.
Additionally, Vitex is available as tea both on its own and in combination with other useful herbs which help balance hormonal levels. You may also, however, simply order dried chasteberries and make a tincture on your own at home.
Some recommended doses for Vitex for some conditions are as follows:
- For PMS: 400 mg daily before breakfast
- For uterine fibroids: 400 mg twice daily
- For infertility: 160–240 mg daily
- For acne: 160 mg daily
- For endometriosis: 400 mg twice daily
- For menopause: 160–240 mg daily
Potential Side Effects Of Vitex Chasteberry
In general, Vitex Chasteberry supplements are safe for use when it is taken via the mouth in proper dosages.
While Vitex is generally safe, it may have some side effects such as nausea, upset stomach, acne, rash and itching, weight gain, sleeping difficulties, and headaches. Some women have experienced a disturbance in their menstrual flow after having taken Vitex.
Vitex may not be recommended if you are suffering from conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, mental illnesses, health conditions of a hormone-sensitive nature like breast cancer and endometriosis, or are pregnant. In such cases, you should consult your doctor prior to taking Vitex.
Additionally, Vitex may interfere with certain specific kinds of medications, such as those estrogen supplements (especially those used in IVF treatments), antipsychotics, and birth control. In case you are currently taking any such medication, you should consult your doctor prior to taking Vitex.
Vitex Chasteberry Final Words
Often called by the name chasteberry, Vitex Chasteberry is an extremely well-known and effective remedy for hormonal imbalance and PMS. Equally beneficial to both men and women, Vitex has several beneficial effects, including (but not limited to) reducing uterine fibroids, reducing PMS symptoms, relieving menopausal symptoms, clearing up acne, improving fertility in women, treating conditions such as amenorrhea and endometriosis, promoting lactation, and treating enlarged prostates.
While it comes in many different varieties, the one most commonly used in medicine is produced by the chaste tree that produces chasteberry, a small, peppercorn-sized brown berry fruit.