Vitex, also known as chasteberry, monk's pepper or Vitex agnus-castus, is the fruit of the chaste tree, a member of the mint family. Vitex has a long history of use. In times past, it was people believed that it helped promote chastity, hence its name. Today, chaste tree is grown both for its medicinal uses and as an ornamental plant.
Vitex is one of the most popular herbal remedies for pre-menstrual syndrome and painful menstruation.
Vitex is prescribed by naturopaths and herbalist mainly for women’s reproductive health issues. It can effectively and safely address many common menstrual cycle complaints.
Vitex is often prescribed to help regulate the menstrual cycle and may be helpful for women with irregular periods, those who are coming off hormonal birth control or for women trying to conceive.
Vitex herb preparations do not contain hormones or hormone-like compounds. The herb influences hormonal activity by stimulating the pituitary gland to create more luteinizing hormone which triggers the ovaries to increase their production of progesterone.
Vitex can help alleviate PMS symptoms, such as bloating, depression and irritability. Vitex may help relieve menstruation pain and help ease painful menstruation, uterine bleeding and breast discomfort in menstruating women. Hormonal acne can also improve in women who suffer from pre-menstrual acne.
Long-term supplementation with vitex has shown to help ease endometriosis symptoms.
The herb works by normalizing the ratio of progesterone to estrogen by directly acting on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
Vitex may benefit men’s health as well. It can help alleviate benign prostatic hyperplasia, increase urine flow and turn off sexual desire
Vitex supplements are available in the form of vitex capsules, vitex tablets, vitex liquid extract. Vitex should be taken for at least 3 menstrual cycles before improvement is experienced.
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