Herb Lore - Vitex
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Vitex is one of the best herbs for balancing hormones and easing symptoms of PMS, infertility, and pre- or peri-menopause. Vitex is also helpful to menopausal women who are still cycling. Although studies point to this (the fact that it's most helpful to those who still have their cycle), our herbalist Pam (as well as other clients) have reported that Vitex has worked better for them than other herbs for menopause in relieving hot flashes and other menopausal complaints - even after the cycle has stopped.
Vitex works on the pituitary gland, which is responsible for signaling the body to make certain amounts of each hormone, therefore, it helps to bring balance at the root of the issue. This is why this herb is so successful at balancing female hormones regardless of which way a woman is out of balance.
Vitex is helpful to women who are trying to conceive, as conception is much easier to achieve when the hormones are balanced.
It is also helpful to women who do NOT want to conceive, as with balanced hormones, they have a better sense of when they're fertile and to avoid sex (or use contraception) during that time.
Pregnancy and miscarriage: Vitex is not recommended for use during pregnancy, simply so that the pregnancy hormones can do what they need to do naturally. However, for women who tend to chronically miscarry or who have had a history of miscarriage, Vitex is safe and is recommended for use through the first trimester to help support hormonal balance, thus possibly helping to prevent further miscarriages (if due to hormonal imbalance). Once the first trimester is over, the placenta is well-formed and has taken over the job of hormone production and management. Vitex can now be discontinued. There is no need to wean down because Vitex is simply a nutritive and is NOT a hormone.
Vitex while nursing: Although Vitex is considered a prolactin-inhibitor, studies have shown that it actually can help support and even increase milk production in some breastfeeding mothers. This makes it the perfect herb for breastfeeding women who are experiencing PMS symptoms or hormone imbalance. Keep in mind that if the menses has not returned after birth, Vitex may cause it to start. We do not recommend using Vitex until the baby is a little older so that it doesn't cause your period to come back too soon. If you are a nursing mother who would like to conceive again, using Vitex in conjunction with Shatavari can be beneficial.
Note: Vitex works extremely well, but it can be a little slow-acting. It may take several weeks of use (4-12) before the best results are achieved. The longer a woman has had hormone imbalance, the longer she may need to use Vitex. For those trying to conceive, it is recommended to use the herb until pregnancy is achieved. (Please see Pam's blog post about Fertility & Hormones for more on how hormonal imbalance can affect and even cause fertility issues.)
Drug contraindications: Do not use Vitex in conjunction with the birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or if you're taking medications for IVF treatment. Using Vitex may render the medications less effective as they may work against each other.
This tincture comes in our largest 4oz size bottle only, which is a one-month supply. Vitex is also available in an all-vegetarian capsule form (currently unavailable).