What is Vitex?
The herb Vitex is also known as Chaste Tree or Chasteberry as it comes from a small shrub that grows in the Mediterranean. The fruits of this shrub have been used for some 2000 years as a natural treatment for female fertility and hormonal health. As a result of the many studies that have proven its effectiveness, Vitex has become one of the most popular herbal remedies for hormonal imbalance. If you’re seeking natural treatment for PMS, infertility, PCOS, or Endometriosis – it’s likely that you’ve come across Vitex. Vitex is available to us in herbal supplement tablet or tincture form.
Does Vitex “cure” hormonal imbalance or fix infertility?
Vitex supports your pituitary gland to produce progesterone and luteinizing hormone – both of which are necessary for your body to ovulate, for regular menstrual cycles, and for you to avoid symptoms of hormonal imbalance like PMS. When a woman is progesterone deficient (or estrogen dominant, to put it another way) and has what is known as a luteal phase defect Vitex can support her endocrine system to create more progesterone, ovulate regularly, and develop a healthy cycle. This will help balance out the estrogen dominance that is at the root of many of your cycle issues. The pituitary gland is also called the “master” gland and it talks to the ovaries, letting them know how much hormone to make. Vitex works on the pituitary gland function, enhancing its ability to do this work.
So, yes, Vitex is well-researched as an aid for female fertility and hormonal imbalance. It is an effective and often successful natural treatment and a great tool for women to have at their disposal when facing cycle problems. However, my perspective is that Vitex is a short term solution to some hormonal imbalance issues.
Vitex can act like jumper cables to the pituitary gland and stimulate it to make the right level of hormones again. However, Vitex alone will not fix your infertility, PMS, PCOS, or Endometriosis long term, IF you don’t also change your internal hormonal ecosystem with food. If you don’t address your hormonal ecosystem as a whole, you may see changes within the prescribed time (although Vitex is less likely to be successful), but when you come off (which you will eventually want to), your symptoms and problems will return. Supporting your whole system by eating the right foods at the right times, per the Flo Living protocol, will provide your body with the building blocks it needs. Doing this and then taking Vitex on top for a short time will improve the effectiveness of the herb, increase the efficiency of the pituitary gland long term, and give you symptom-free cycles more rapidly.
When you should use Vitex
There are certain times in a woman’s life when Vitex can be very helpful as part of a hormonally-supportive diet and lifestyle.
- After using the birth control pill – Vitex is effective at supporting the body’s return to natural hormone production and cycling. If you come off the birth control pill and find your periods do not return within a few months, Vitex is an effective natural treatment option.
- When you are entering the second stage of perimenopause and finding your cycles are becoming more irregular, Vitex can help to regulate your cycles and as such decrease the symptoms associated with perimenopause in your 40s.
- When you have PMS symptoms like acne and breast tenderness as the result of a progesterone deficiency and estrogen dominance, Vitex can boost the body’s production of progesterone and ease these issues.
- When you’re trying to get pregnant – Vitex supports regular ovulation, so if you’re experiencing frequent annovulatory cycles you can take this natural treatment to support the return of your fertility.
- When you’re suffering with the symptoms of mild Endometriosis – in some European countries Vitex is commonly prescribed for this hormonal health issue.
- When you want to breastfeed – for many years Vitex has been used to increase the production of breastmilk post-partum, although you would only use it short term.
How you should use Vitex
Vitex is a relatively slow-acting herb. Therefore you need to commit to taking it for up to 6 months to see any change in your cycles or improvement of symptoms. This is also the reason why this is not an easy treatment option compared to food therapy, as you have to take this herb everyday for such a long time and let’s face it, that’s tough to remember to do. If you do want to try this route, then I advise my clients to try it for this amount of time and then take a month’s break to see how they feel without the Vitex.
You should not use Vitex if you are currently on the Pill (it won’t have any impact on your hormones as the synthetic hormonal Pill replaces your body’s natural hormone production and suppresses the endocrine system). You should also not take Vitex if you’re using IVF drugs already as this can cause over-stimulation of the ovaries.
It is less commonly known and important to understand that using Vitex when you have a history of depression can cause your depression symptoms to worsen. So, be cautious if your PMS commonly includes feeling really low and depressed, rather than anxiety, irritation or fatigue.
Be sure to buy Vitex from a reputable, long-standing supplement company like Gaia so you know you are getting a potent formulation, without fillers.
Vitex will not be a successful natural treatment for you if it is the only thing you change about your daily habits. If you do not feed your body with hormonally-supportive foods and avoid processed products, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, dairy and gluten, then Vitex cannot work miracles! I recommend that you have the Flo Living protocol already in play when you start using Vitex as an additional booster.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, have you recently gone off the birth control pill?
Second, have you tried Vitex?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
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