Vitex (chasteberry), popularly known as a super herb, is native to Italy and Greece. For centuries, the herb has been used in herbal medicines, particularly for the treatment of gynecological issues.
According to some studies, vitex can help regulate hormonal fluctuations in the body and help boost fertility. The herb does not contain hormones or have a direct effect on the hormones of the body, making it effective as a fertility herb.
This wonderful herb impacts the pituitary gland, a gland in the body that is commonly referred to as the master gland. It manages the hormonal secretions from the lymph nodes and other organs like the ovaries.
Health Benefits of Vitex Herb
Now, let’s take a closer look at the amazing thing vitex can do for a person’s health.
Reduces the Advancement of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a health disorder, which can result in painful menstruation and eventually cause infertility. However, vitex has proven to be effective in reducing the symptoms of mild endometriosis. The herb is popularly used by gynecologists to treat mild endometriosis and prevent it from worsening.
Regulates the Menstrual Cycle
According to some studies, vitex is effective for balancing the hormones during the menstrual cycle. The herb prevents the activities of the follicle-stimulating hormone and boosts the secretion of progesterone by regulating the secretion of the luteinising hormone.
Studies indicate that herbal supplements containing vitex can improve PMS symptoms. When prolactin is released, it results in PMS symptoms like breast tenderness but vitex can help suppress the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland. Vitex herb can also be used to treat amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstruation.
Can Help Combat Cancer
Vitex has been used for hundreds of years to supplement cancer treatments. The herb has also proven to prevent the formation of tumors in cancer cell lines. Vitex extract can also prevent cell growth and promote cell death in prostate cancer.
Lengthens the Luteal Phase
The period between ovulation and the start of menstruation is referred to as the Luteal Phase. And one of the major causes of infertility is a short luteal phase. However, vitex helps to lengthen the luteal phase. While vitex does not contain any hormones, it still helps the body to produce luteinising hormone, which induces ovulation. This then improves the progesterone levels in the body during the luteal phase of the cycle and makes it last longer.
Vitex helps to treat amenorrhea, a health condition where the monthly menstruation does not occur due to hormonal imbalances. Vitex increases the progesterone levels and reduces the risk of amenorrhea. We also know that the major cause of acne in some women is hormonal imbalances. And since vitex has the potential to correct hormonal imbalance, it can enhance acne treatment. It does this by decreasing prolactin.
Boosts Progesterone Levels
Vitex helps to improve the progesterone levels in the body. The herb encourages the formation of the corpus luteum, which stimulates the secretion of progesterone in the body. In fact, studies show that women who use vitex respond positively to the herb and display significantly increased progesterone levels.
Most women experience a distorted menstrual cycle due to the use of estrogen-infused birth control pills. When women take vitex after stopping birth control pills, it can help stabilize the menstrual cycle and induce ovulation fast.
Miscarriages can affect subsequent conceptions for women. Vitex is one herb that has proven effective for preventing miscarriages. Most miscarriages are caused by low progesterone levels in the body. Due to its ability to regulate progesterone levels, the herb can help keep a pregnancy to term.
Boost Milk Production
Vitex helps boost lactation in pregnant women and nursing mothers. It is most effective when used immediately after delivery and subsequently as needed to stimulate milk production.
Relieves Pre Menstrual Stress
Vitex provides relief for Pre Menstrual Stress or PMS. The symptoms of PMS in women vary and may include acne, breast tenderness, depression, allergies, irritability, headaches, mood swings, and rashes. Studies show that women who take vitex can get relief for PMS.
Reduces Uterine Cysts
Vitex can be used to reduce uterine cysts. These cysts grow inside the smoother inner layer of the uterus and this herb has been known to shrink these cysts.
The herb has been used for so many years to control hormonal balance, and this can also treat ovarian cysts. Most times, ovarian cysts are caused by excessive estrogen in the body. Vites can help balance the hormone and better the condition.
Deals with Irregular Menstruation
Vitex helps to treat irregular menstruation. The herb helps to balance an absent menstrual cycle as well as treat frequent and too heavy menstrual cycle.
Improves Prostate Health
Vitex is known to help in the treatment of an enlarged prostate, a condition also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. An enlarged prostate gland can increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Reduces Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors in the uterine walls, which lead to a change in the shape or size of the uterus and several other symptoms. However, a balance of hormones can prevent and reduce uterine fibroids. Vitex can help to balance the amounts of estrogen and progesterone in the system.
Lowers Menopause Symptoms
Menopause signifies the permanent end of menstruation and eventually, fertility. It often occurs in women in their 40s or 50s. In combination with other herbs like dong quai or black cohosh, vitex can provide relief for sleep irregularities and hot flushes in pre- and postmenopausal women.
Good for the Skin
Vitex can give smoother skin and help lower the risk of skin-related hormonal problems like acne. The use of vitex has to be accompanied by the right diet changes for it to be effective. While vitex is a very beneficial herb for the skin, it can only be effective if used for a period of time. To enjoy its full benefits, keep in mind that it might take some time to take effect. But once it starts working, its effect will be evident on your skin for a long time.
Side Effects of Vitex
Vitex is generally considered safe for most people when used appropriately. However, the herb may have some uncommon side effects like nausea, acne, weight gain, headaches, upset stomach, itching, rash, and irregular sleep patterns.
There are other side effects of vitex herb to take note of.
- Some women may experience a change in menstrual flow when after taking vitex.
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid the use of vitex. The concern is that the herb can interfere with hormones and is unsafe for this category of women.
- Women who suffer from hormone-sensitive conditions like uterine fibroids; endometriosis; or cancer of the breast, ovaries, or uterus should avoid vitex. This is because the herb can affect hormones and estrogen levels.
- Vitex might interfere with the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization. Women undergoing this procedure should avoid the use of vitex.
- Vitex is made of chemicals that might affect the brain. These chemicals function in the brain similarly to some medications used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, the herb might affect therapy for Parkinson’s disease.
- Vitex might affect a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Therefore, certain medications for mental disorders like Schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders help to reduce dopamine. And taking vitex might affect therapy for these mental disorders.
Vitex is a herb that is used to make medicine. The herb is commonly used for treating conditions related to the menstrual cycle. It may affect many hormones that are involved in women’s reproductive cycle.