Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex)

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This little berry is one of the best for balancing hormones thus increasing fertility. It is said to help reduce endometriosis from advancing, balance progesterone levels, decrease PMS, restore an absent or calm a heavy menstrual cycle, reduce uterine cysts. Chaste Tree Berry is said to encourage ovulation by increasing lutenizing hormone, lengthening the luteal phase and increasing progesterone. A chaste tree supplement may also support fertility by promoting a healthy hormone balance and helping to support regular menstrual periods. In some cases, women suffer from hormonal imbalances that cause their period to stop altogether at a young age. This is different from menopause, and it makes conceiving highly difficult since the body isn’t ovulating. Taking vitex or chaste tree regularly may help regulate prolactin levels and promote a regular menstrual cycle.

Fertility can be a complicated issue, and not all fertility problems are caused by hormonal imbalances. However, in cases where women are having trouble conceiving due to producing too much or too little of a specific hormone, using vitex chaste tree for fertility may make a difference. Chaste tree is commonly used to aid in the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and breast tenderness (mastalgia). While there have been claims that chaste tree enhances fertility, there are only a small number of clinical studies looking at the benefit of chaste tree for fertility enhancement and prevention of miscarriage. The fertility enhancing properties of chaste tree are thought to be due to normalization of the reproductive hormones.

Vitex has been found to help normalize ovulation, improve a short luteal phase and reduce Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), all known fertility inhibitors. In one study, vitex help normalize progesterone levels and increased the luteal phase from 5.4 days to 11.4 days. In addition, two double-blind studies show vitex extract increases a woman’s fertility and chances of successful conception. For fertility, Vitex increases luteinizing hormone production while mildly inhibiting the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This indirectly boosts progesterone production and chances of achieving and maintaining a successful pregnancy. Vitex decreases high prolactin levels, which are associated with breast pain. Prolactin is a hormone that stimulates milk production and breast growth during pregnancy. High levels in the absence of pregnancy are often the result of a very common women’s endocrine disorder called hyperprolactinemia. High prolactin levels are also linked to fertility problems. Vitex is an incredible hormone balancer, which adapts to women’s different needs. Vitex has been shown to normalize heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), relieve amenorrhea (absent menstual cycle), and decrease polymenorrhea (too frequent periods). Vitex even eases inflammation of the uterus or ovaries, so it’s good choice for women prone to painful fibroids or cysts, too.

How Vitex Works

Our current understanding of Vitex is that it has a supporting and regulating effect upon the pituitary gland. The pituitary is known as the “master gland” because it controls many vital bodily functions such as sending chemical signals to the ovaries, telling them how much hormones to make. This communication is known as the hormonal feedback loop.

Vitex has been shown in studies to:

Vitex is one of the best fertility herbs available to us when it comes to balancing hormones and regulating the menstrual cycle.

Inhibit follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): Vitex increases the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH), which in turn increases progesterone.

 Lengthens a short luteal phase: Studies have shown Vitex to be effective at lengthening the luteal phase. While it does not contain any hormones itself, it does help the body to increase its own production of luteinizing hormone (promoting ovulation to occur), which in turns boosts progesterone levels during the luteal phase of the cycle. 

Increased progesterone levels: Vitex has been shown to stimulate the formation of the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is responsible for the secretion of progesterone. In a study of 45 women, 86% responded positively with normalized or significantly improved progesterone levels.

Reduces advancement of mild endometriosis: Vitex is used in Germany by gynecologists to treat mild endometriosis and prevent it from advancing.

May help prevent miscarriage: Vitex has a beneficial impact on progesterone levels. If miscarriages are due to low progesterone, Vitex may help to normalize or increase progesterone levels. Vitex may be considered safe to use during pregnancy, but make sure to consult with a healthcare practitioner when using this herb during pregnancy. Also make sure to read our ‘Use During Pregnancy’ section below. 

Relieves PMS: Clinical research has shown that Vitex may be very beneficial for PMS symptoms, especially depression, headaches, rashes, acne, allergies and sensitivity of the breasts. In one study, improvement of PMS by the first month was experienced by 32% of the women. By the third month, 84% of the women experienced improvement of their PMS.

Lack of menstruation (amenorrhea): In a study of 15 women with amenorrhea, 65% had resumed a menstrual cycle by the sixth month of use. Progesterone levels also increased.

Irregular menstruation: Vitex has been shown to help balance both an absent menstrual cycle as well as aid a menstrual cycle that is heavy or too frequent.

Uterine cysts: Vitex has been found to be helpful at reducing cysts that are growing within the smooth muscle layer of the uterus.

Stabilization of menstruation after stopping birth-control pills: After discontinuing estrogen-containing birth control pills, Vitex taken for several months has been shown to help stabilize the cycle and induce ovulation more quickly.

Helps stimulate milk production in new mothers: For over 2,000 years, Vitex has been used to help stimulate mother’s milk. Begin using Vitex right after birth and continue for 10 days or more as needed.

Acne: Several studies have shown an improvement in the skin with the use of Vitex. Along with appropriate dietary changes, Vitex may help acne.

Most hormone-related issues that disappear once pregnancy begins and then return after breastfeeding ends can be supported by the use of Vitex.