Composition of Chasteberry
Both extensive clinical studies, as well as over two thousand years of use in folk medicine, have proven the effectiveness of this remedy. It works by stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland, which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body.
Vitex is a slow-acting herb. I usually recommend allowing three full cycles for the plant to really work its magic, and many women take it for up to several years. In the thousands of years that it has been in use, there are no reports of even the mildest side effects. Vitex is a safe, gentle, and effective remedy, with something to offer women in every cycle of life.
Herbs like vitex are natural ways you can strengthen and tone your body’s systems. The medicinal ability of chasteberry to positively affect hormonal health issues appears to be derived from dopaminergic compounds present in the herb. How exactly does vitex encourage hormonal balance? While it doesn’t supply hormones to the body, it does act directly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. For women, it increases luteinizing hormone, modulates prolactin and aids in the inhibition of the release of follicle-stimulating hormone, which all helps balance out the ratio of progesterone to estrogen, slightly raising the levels of progesterone. It’s important to keep in mind that chasteberry is not actually a hormone, but rather an herb that helps the body raise its own levels of progesterone.
Health benefits of Chasteberry
In a normal menstrual cycle estrogen is higher before ovulation and progesterone is higher after. Many women don’t realize that an imbalance of these hormones can lead to the entire range of symptoms associated with PMS and menopause! Vitex usually has the effect of enhancing progesterone and decreasing estrogen levels.
Almost all of symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle can be treated with this plant. It is the single best herb for treating the many possible symptoms of PMS: cramps, flooding, headaches, depression, water retention, constipation, acne, breast tenderness, and irritability. It can help normalize irregular or scanty periods.
It is especially helpful for women who are coming off the birth control pill. For many women, cycles remain irregular for up to two years after stopping the pill. Vitex can greatly shorten that time and helps ease the body into regaining its own natural rhythm.
It is a wonderful tonic to enhance the chances of conception through its ability to regulate ovulation and if taken through the first trimester, vitex will reduce the chances of miscarriage. After the birth, it helps a new mother to produce plenty of milk.
Vitex also offers many benefits to women who are menopausal. It helps to relieve many of the uncomfortable symptoms of this transition time, including hot flashes, irregular cycles, depression, and flooding. Vitex is also an indispensable remedy for women with uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, or endometriosis. All of these conditions proliferate under the influence of estrogen and shrink under the influence of progesterone.
Chasteberry, considered a mainstay in the alternative medicine treatment of reproductive tract disorders, menstrual complaints and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), may be helpful in treating your acne. Chasteberry may have potential as a natural alternative to reducing acne flareups caused by fluctuating hormones.
Chasteberry (Vitex) – Helps the body to balance progesterone levels. Progesterone stimulates new bone growth.
History of Chasteberry.
In ancient times, vitex was believed to be an anaphrodisiac (the opposite of an aphrodisiac) or something that lowers the libido. It makes sense that chasteberry originally got its name from its ability to counter sexual desire. The Romans used a drink prepared from the plant’s seeds to decrease libido. In ancient Greece, young women celebrating the festival of Demeter wore chasteberry blossoms to show that they were remaining chaste in honor of the goddess. For monks in the Middle Ages, chasteberry was used for similar purposes, which lead to the common name “monk’s pepper.”
The modern use of vitex began in the 1950s when the German pharmaceutical firm Madaus Co. first produced a standardized chasteberry extract.