When Should You Stop Taking Fertility Herbs?

When Should You Stop Taking Fertility Herbs?

Are you confused about when to take fertility herbs and supplements? Some of the most frequent questions we receive at Natural Fertility Info.com are:

  • “Should I take this herb/supplement all month long?”
  • “Should I stop taking this herb/supplement during my period?”
  • “Can I take my fertility herbs while I am on the Fertility Cleanse?”
  • “When should I stop taking fertility herbs and supplements?”
  • “Which herbs/supplements can I take or stop once I get pregnant?”

Fertility Supplement QuestionsThere seems to be much confusion about when to take fertility herbs and when not to. I hope this post helps to clear up any questions you have and empowers you to listen to your body so you can see what is right for you.

One of the reasons it can be confusing is because of how the hormonal system works. During part of the month one hormone is high, and during another it drops, and a different hormone is high. It is an intricate symphony of hormones and reactions… hormones acting as the conductor, letting the body know when to release the egg, start growing the lining or when to start the period.

Many herbs that are used to help promote and support fertility have some effect on the endocrine system. For example Vitex is a popular and effective herb that nourishes and helps the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Through this, it has been shown to increase progesterone, lengthen a short leutal phase, and boost overall fertility. The actions of the herbs and supplements must be taken into account when determining how they should be used.

In this article I am going to address the top four questions previously mentioned. The range of supplements and herbs mentioned in this article are by no means all of the herbs and supplements out there. I cover the most common herbs and supplements as well as all of the supplements/herbs supported on our website. If you are using a product and are confused about when to use it and if it is safe for pregnancy, contact the manufacturer of that supplement and ask them directly, so you can get the best advice for that particular product.

Should Fertility Supplements and Herbs Be Taken All Month Long?

There is no one answer across the board for all fertility supplements and herbs. Each is used differently and for different reasons. Most Fertility Herbs and Supplements are suggested to be used all month long, for consecutive months for the best results. Instead of going through each and every herb and supplement, I will cover the herbs or supplements that should not be used all month long and the reason for this.

Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose Oil is a nutritious oil that is traditionally used to help increase cervical mucous. Suggested usage is 1500mg of this oil from day one of your cycle (menstruation) until ovulation. It should not be taken after ovulation when trying to conceive, as it has been shown to promote contractions of the uterus.

Dong Quai
Dong Quai works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it will stimulate an absent or scanty period. It also nourishes the blood (it is in nearly all Chinese herbal blood-building formulas) and treats iron deficiency and anemia. One of its best uses is helping women who are not menstruating to invite their menstruation back. The increased circulation also helps to strengthen and balance the uterus. In rat studies it has been show to help build the uterus lining.

I generally suggest Dong Quai to be used before trying to conceive so one can get the full benefit by taking it all month long except during menstruation. Once the period has come back, then you can focus on trying to conceive. If Dong Quai is being used during the month while trying to conceive, it is best to stop using it once you have ovulated and discontinue use during your period. If Dong Quai is part of a blend it will not be as potent and not have such a strong effect. Dong Quai is a known uterine contractor so it should be avoided if you think you are pregnant, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Progesterone Cream
Progesterone cream is used to help balance estrogen dominance or help with low progesterone issues. Progesterone must be used very specifically so your cycle is helped, not disturbed. Dr. John Lee recommends that Progesterone cream should only be used after ovulation and discontinued once menstruation has returned. If you find out you are pregnant, you should continue on the progesterone and speak with your health care provider right away so your hormone levels can be monitored and progesterone usage adjusted as needed. Stopping progesterone once you are pregnant is dangerous as it may cause your progesterone levels to drop at a time that they should be increasing daily.

If progesterone is used before ovulation it can cause ovulation to be suppressed. Charting is one of the best ways to know when you are ovulating. If you do not have a menstrual cycle or are not ovulating, Dr. Lee suggested to mimic a 28 day cycle by using progesterone cream, helping to jump start the cycle again. You can learn more about progesterone use for fertility here…

Slow Flow
Slow Flow is an herbal formula designed to help a menstrual cycle that is very heavy. Slow Flow uses astringent herbs, uterine tonics and nutrients to support normal menstrual flow, and is to be used on heavy bleeding days. Heavy bleeding is technically defined as having to change protection more than every two hours. Suggested usage for Slow Flow is three capsules every three to four hours during heavy menstrual blood loss. Up to 6 capsules may be taken daily for longer-term management, but no longer than three months. So to reiterate, Slow Flow should only be used during the period.

Should You Take Fertility Herbs or Supplements During Your Period?

Yes and no. It all depends on the herb or supplement you are using. There are specific herbs and supplements that should NOT be used during your period such as:

Progesterone Cream
Progesterone cream should be discontinued as soon as you get your period. This is a time that the body naturally decreases its progesterone.

Dong Quai
Unless you have a really slow flow or non-existent flow Dong Quai should not be used during menstruation. The reason for this is that Dong Quai increases circulation to the uterus, during menstruation this could cause heavier bleeding than normal.

Vitex
In the past I have generally suggested that women stop using vitex during menstruation, but over time, through years of working with vitex with many, many clients, I have come to find vitex works best when taken all month long.

Every herb will react differently for each person. Some women do better by taking herbs all month long, while others benefit from taking a break during their menstrual cycle, giving the body a chance to cleanse itself and rest.

So my answer is go with your intuition and see how it works for you. Yes, I know not very scientific, but there is not one answer that fits all. I generally suggest a break during menstruation if you are taking the herbs for months on end, as it is a good idea to give the body a break.

Can I Take My Fertility Herbs While I Am On the Fertility Cleanse?

During the Fertility Cleanse it is best to only be doing the Fertility Cleanse and not using any other fertility herbs. The reason for this is that the Fertility Cleanse is using a blend of many different herbs to help balance and cleanse your body. Adding additional hormonal herbs to this may be too much. There are some exceptions though. If you have been using fertility herbs prior to the Fertility Cleanse, then you may continue using them. And nutritional supplements are fine to take during the Fertility Cleanse.

Kits and natural fertility programs are best started directly after the Fertility Cleanse has been completed. On the other hand superfoods can be used during the Fertility Cleanse.

It is best to not try and conceive the month that you are doing the Fertility Cleanse because many of the herbs in the Fertility Cleanse should not be used while you are pregnant.

When Should I Stop Taking Fertility Herbs and Supplements?

If you are taking hormonal medications, birth control or any other type of medicated hormonal treatment it would be best to not mix them with fertility herbs. We do not know what the effects are since there have been no studies done yet. We do not know if maca or vitex (or other hormonal regulating herbs) will interact negatively with clomid or IVF medications. So to be on the safe side it is best to not mix the two.

If you are going to use medically assisted treatments it is best to only use herbs and supplements in preparation, before hormonal medications and injections are being used. There are a couple of supplements that you will want to talk to your doctor about such as a prenatal multivitamin and essential fatty acids (just to make sure) if you are getting a medically assisted treatment.

Another time to discontinue use of fertility herbs and supplements is once you become pregnant. We go into depth about this in the section that follows.

Which Herbs and Supplements Can I Take or Should I Stop Once I Become Pregnant?
Most fertility herbs and supplements should be discontinued once you find out you are pregnant (this of course is referring to all the herbs and supplements not mentioned above with specific warnings).That means once you take a pregnancy test and get a positive. There are some fertility supplements and herbs that could be used during pregnancy under the guidance of a health practitioner or doctor who is familiar with these therapies such as:

When it comes to pregnancy it is best and safest to focus on eating an incredibly healthy diet. This is the safest and most important way to provide nourishment, present and future health for your growing baby.

I hope this article helped to clear up some of the questions you may have had. When in doubt, just ask the manufacturer of the product you are using and they can let you know how to correctly use the product and if it is safe during pregnancy.

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[-] 83 Comments
  1. Question: interactions between fertility approaches please. 41yrs & trying to conceive 5th baby after 12 year break. Vitex 800mg since April 2016. Maca since May 2016. Red clover blossoms on/off since May. Typically long, heavy! cycles (range every 21 days to 56 days) and/or spotting (midcycle, sometimes a week before period). Vitex has raised low progesterone. Still a little low estrogen. Good FSH, good LH, good lining, lots of eggs. OPK shows ovulation! Metformin (since July 11) Week 1 @ 1000mg, Week 2 @ 2000mg continue for 90 days. Start soy isoflavones July 10/16 (Day 1 of period) 3 to 5 days (Dr said ok!) Start Clomid July 12/16 (Day 3 of period) for 5 days. Are Vitex & maca still ok?

    P.S. May had 6 day light spotting period only. June 11 normal 6 day period.July 5 light spotting period day 25 of cycle. Aug 10 first day of NORMAL! period day 37 of cycle. Definite positive OPK on July 27th which is day 23 of cycle. So it seems Vitex and/or Metformin have definitely improved regularity and shortened cycle. I believe Metformin helped ovulation be distinct this month. Please give input on how Clomid interacts with things like maca and vitex. Should vitex stop during 5 days of clomid and then restart? Dr. said metformin is safe with everything. She wasn’t concerned about the soy and clomid either. Taking folic acid 1mg daily, vit D 50 mcg daily, Valerian 1x day for light IBS.

    • Dear Mary Jane,

      We suggest against combining herbs with your medications. Herbs that act on the hormonal system could affect how your medications are working. It is best not to combine the two. Vitex and Maca should both be paused while using Clomid unless our doctor suggests otherwise.

      May I ask why Clomid is being considered when its evident there are multiple eggs and OPKs indicated an LH surge? While its use is of course ultimately up to you, it may be worth considering what we share in our Video: Clomid – What You Should Know And Natural Alternatives.

      Best wishes!

    • Thank you for the reply! I did stop Vitex and Maca – good to know it was the right call. I take
      Clomid first time today. Why? Two solid years of trying has not resulted in pregnancy and I’m over 40. Last month a little low estrogen. Three months ago a little low progesterone. I think Vitex is fixing things slowly. This is my second cycle using opk test strips and only this last one showed a positive (now I’m on day 3 of a normal period so obviously all that trying last month didn’t work). Metformin and clomid is for 90 days (3 cycles) only. Dr said the risks overall are low and might do the trick because nothing obvious should be keeping me from getting pregnant yet 2 years later nothing!

    • Best wishes Mary Jane! I do wish for you positive results!

  2. regular for 2 months with vitex. stop vitex for 3rd cycle but no menses yet. Normally, im a 28 day cycle. should i start vitex again. been having sore breast leading up to menstrual. cycle shows menses on cycle day 30, tomorrow July 21, 2016. not preg but don’t think menses will start.

    should i start back vitex

  3. Since last three months I am experiencing abnormally light and short periods. Usually I would have heavy flow for first 2 days and it got lighter to spotting till day 5. Last month my doc put me on clomid. Even after clomid, my cycle is still lighter and shorter this month. Some test results (CD1) LH: 3.87, FSH: 6.49, HCT: 32.2, MCV: 65.6, MCH: 22.4, PDW:17.8 and ESR: 12mm1hr. Also I am diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism and my current TSH levels are around 6.4, taking 100mg synthroid. I am trying to conceive. Can you please suggest what herbs can help me?

    • Dear Dimple,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      We offer this wonderfully detailed guide, Every Woman’s Guide to Hypothyroidism and Fertility, written by our Clinical Herbalist on staff who has studied women’s thyroid health that may be helpful to review. That said, give you are taking Synthroid, we can not suggest taking herbs as well unless you are being guided in doing so by your healthcare provider.

      It may be most helpful to consider working one on one with a fertility herbalist who can guide you in the right direction, on the right program, for your specific fertility health needs through a Fertility Consultation.

      All my best!

  4. I have been measuring my cycles for the last year, they are normally 24-25 days, one month 22, 23, 26, one 28 (took b6 and 12 that month). In the last two months I started vital to lengthen my luteal phase. And, Im ovulating day 16 and have a 24 day cycle, do you think I should continue use? It doesn’t seem to work for me. I am 25 TTC baby #2 and had short cycles the first time having my child and got pregnant with no extra vitamins or help.

    • Hi Ann,

      If a shorter cycle seems to be normal for you, and you are still ovulating, vitex may not be your best option, but it could be if you are struggling to get pregnant.. It sounds like vitamin B6 and 12 were a better fit. Be sure that when you take B vitamins, you are taking B complex, so as not to create an vitamin B imbalance. Your luteal phase should be at least 12 days. It looks like yours isn’t, so this could be considered an issue, if you are trying to conceive and not achieving results. Please keep in mind that vitex takes many cycles of use to be effective, so it is kinda hard to say after only 2 cycles of use. I am not sure if this answer is helpful or not, but I hope it helps you what to think about!

  5. I want to know if I can start using vitex when am in my fertile period leading to ovulation day or I can start after that.

    • Dear Kemzy,

      Fertilica Vitex can be started at any point in the menstrual cycle. General suggested use is 900-1000mg per day each day of the menstrual cycle without taking a break.

  6. First let me say I’m thrilled to find an active line of questions and answers!

    Now, my question. I am turning 46 next month and while I have been blessed with no fertility issues and having 3 wonderful kids my fiancé and I want to try for another child naturally before considering IVF. My situation is complicated by the fact that he lives in the UK and we are enduring the very long visa process so our only time to ttc at the moment is when is comes to visit for a couple of weeks.

    As I said, I’m nearly 46 and I began to have slightly irregular periods around 43 with some being 2 weeks apart, some being 2 months apart and others being regular at 28-30 days apart.

    A couple of months ago I began having hot flashes so I assumed Perimenopause was definitely here but I’ve read a lot about women being able to still conceive with the help of herbal supplements.

    I’m looking at Vitex, CoQ10, Maca, L-arginine and progesterone cream as the primary herbal supplements. Are these safe to take together and if I use Dr Lees recommendation to wake up my follicles by using the progesterone cream on days 5-26 then when would I also take Vitex during those days or all month?

  7. I started taking Fertilaid and Ovacare on Feb. 1, 2016. But now I feel as if I am pregnancy. Since this week I have feeling dizzy and sleeping at work and when I get home I sleep. Before I hardly sleep immediately if I lie down, but now it doesn’t take up to 5 min. I became sensitive to smell too. Since Oct. 12 last year that I did fibroid surgery, my period had now flown normally. It only came out on Nov. 28 & 30 and since then hasn’t come out. If the pregnancy test is negative, please what should I take to make the period flow? Or do you think it can conceive still? I am planning to do home pregnancy test tomorrow Saturday. Then I will know what next to do, but I still took the Fertiliad and Ovucare now. Thank you.

    • Hi stella,

      First, we do not sell Fertilaid or Ovacare, that is another company. If you have questions regarding their products, please contact them.

      Even though you have not had a period for many months, it may still be possible to get pregnant, if you have ovulated.

      In regard to your absent period, it really would be best to contact your doctor about your concerns. Depending on the type of surgical procedure you had to remove the uterine fibroids, there are some procedures that do run the risk of damaging the uterus or causing menopause, which may possibly explain the absent period. I don’t want to scare you, but I do want you to understand just how important it is to talk to your doctor (the surgeon who performed the surgery) about your now absent period. I would urge you to do this as soon as possible, before continuing to try to get pregnant.

      If you are pregnant, contact your doctor for a prenatal appointment. 🙂

      All the best!

  8. Hello, I have PCOS and I am not ovulating so I have recently purchased a fertility supplement with vitex in it because we are ttc. I have read it is not safe to take vitex while pregnant. My question is should I stop taking vitex after I ovulate in case I become pregnant? Or will it be ok to take it between the time I ovulate and my af starts.

    • Dear Marie,

      General suggested use of Fertilica Vitex is 900-1000mg per day each day of the menstrual cycle without taking a break while trying to conceive. Upon first determination of pregnancy, Vitex is best weaned off of unless otherwise guided by your herbalist, midwife, or healthcare provider.

      Re: Vitex and Pregnancy, German research shows Vitex can be taken safely through the end of the third month of pregnancy and may help prevent miscarriage. It is stopping it suddenly in pregnancy that is not suggested.

      Then, I want to share that many healthcare providers of all schools of thought know that dietary changes are foundational and have seen many women very successfully support themselves by simply eating a whole food PCOS Diet. Consider learning more important information in this article written by our senior herbalist titled How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs. The PCOS Fertility Diet Tip – Simple Food Choices to Stabilize Blood Sugar may be helpful as well.

  9. Hello, I am 28 years old. I have been diagnosed with PCOS in 2010 but I now know I had it since the very young age of 10-11. Because around that age is when my body turned for the worst! Instead of experiencing normal female puberty, I felt like I was going through male puberty! I had horrible facial (and body) hair! I would literally have to shave my beard and mustache every morning before going to school. I end up very overweight aswell. The sad part is that I have NEVER EVER in my life had a natural menstrual cycle, only induced ones! I have been on birth control for more then 10 years, because that was the only thing that would make me have a period. To this day I am still struggling with all of the ugly symptoms. I am desperately looking for a natural remedy that can make me ovulate and have natural periods on my own for the first time. Should Vitex or Dong Quai be a good choice for my situation or is there some other herb more suitable for me? And what would be the right dosage? I am already taking DCI + Prenatal vitamins.. Thank you so much in advance!

    • Dear Vanessa,

      I am so sorry you have had to deal with this for so long!

      PCOS is a complex endocrine system disorder. The endocrine system coordinates the delivery of hormones throughout the body and when it’s not functioning properly, disarray results. A commitment to changing your health is the first step! …and simply asking for help is taking that first step!

      PCOS requires long-term lifestyle changes. Many healthcare providers of all schools of thought know that dietary changes are foundational and have seen many women very successfully support themselves by simply eating a whole food PCOS diet.

      You will find important information in this article written by our senior herbalist titled How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs.

      The PCOS Fertility Diet Tip – Simple Food Choices to Stabilize Blood Sugar will be helpful as well.

      It is important to support the body in re-learning balance by promoting healthy hormonal balance, a healthy uterine lining, regular ovulation, improved estrogen metabolism, reduced cravings for sweets and improved digestion all of which you will learn how to do in the articles above.

      Know that we also offer help in creating the best natural fertility program for your needs through our Fertility Consultation program. If it would be most helpful to move forward on your journey with the personalized guidance o a fertility herbalist, consider a Fertility Consultation.

      I hope this is helpful and gives you hope!

  10. Hi,
    I’m 25 years old, I weigh 115 and am 5’6.. Been TTC for 2 1/2 years now. I am diagnosed with PCOS, however I have a very regular 28-29 day cycle. ALWAYS. Never missed a month, always on time. Dr. says I probably only ovulate 2-3 times a year. I have done 4 Clomid IUI’s, one with trigger shot but no success. My body responded well to the clomid and I ovulated each time, just didn’t work. The Dr. also said my husbands sperm count and motility is low, which I have a hard time believing bc for each IUI he had over 65 million motile post wash. My question is should I take Vitex? If so can it be taken with other herbs and vitamins. Such as FCLO, Red Raspberry Leaf, Nettle etc. Please advise.

    • Dear Jessica,

      Fertilica Vitex has been found to support most cases of irregular menses and female hormone imbalance, as well as support a healthy luteal phase, healthy progesterone levels and promote regular ovulation. The great part is that is does this without containing any hormones itself. Fertilica Vitex can be combined with Fertilica Cod Liver Oil, Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle, and many other herbs, but I am not certain about “etc.” 😉

      Were you aware there are Natural Alternatives to Clomid? There are also 5 Simple Ways to Promote Regular Ovulation. Click those links to more information that I think you will find helpful.

  11. Hi,

    I’m 33 years. Been ttc for about a year now. I have a cyst on my right ovary. My period which was a regular 28 days has been fluctuating between 27 and 30 since August 2014.

    I started taking Vitex mid April 2015, had a normal period in April. However, my breasts remained sore all through May, pregnancy tests were negative and then my period came early by about 6 days. I have felt quite normal after that. Could all that then have been caused by the herbs or was something just off in that cycle?

    Regards,

  12. I started taking Vitex at the start of my cycle. It’s been going well until now which is about week three of my cycle. My period has all of a sudden started. Do you think I should stop taking Vitex until my period stops? I’m worried I’m going to end up with a two week period. I am trying to conceive. Thanks for your help.

    • Dear Brittany,

      I am sorry this is concerning! Some women experience a shift in their menstrual cycle when they first begin using Vitex. The length of the menstrual cycle may shift (shorten or lengthen) temporarily before it normalizes. This is actually the body balancing itself out and is completely normal.

  13. Started taking Vitex 2 months ago to help with my heavy and prolonged menstrual cycles. Also wanted to see if it would help me get pregnant. Recently decreased my dose from 1,000mg to 500mg because I was starting to had belly pain. I know it’s from the Vitex because when I skipped a dose, I did not have this type of pain. I recall having this same pain when I first started taking Vitex but I was able to prevent the pain by taking the tablets with food. This is no longer the case. I was going to stop taking it but I started getting cramps as if my menstrual cycle was approaching prematurely. I’m now afraid to stop taking Vitex even though it’s still causing me belly discomfort. Please advise!

    • Dear Sonja,

      If Vitex is causing you pain or discomfort in any way, it would be best to discontinue it’s use. Vitex is not known to do this, but neither are desired results/effects of using any herb. It may also help to reach out to the customer care team of the maker of the supplement you are taking to share your experience with the product and seek their support.

  14. I’m 35 and we have been trying to conceive for 8 months with no luck. I’ve had bloods taken by my doc to confirm I do ovulate and he’s happy with my hormone levels, but I’m worried that because I have very light periods this is effecting our chances. After reading your articles I have started taking 1000mg starflower oil, Dong Quai, Red Clover & Red Raspberry Leaf capsules along side my pre pregnancy vitimins.
    Because I have such light periods should I stop taking any of the above herbs after ovulation? Or carry on taking them to increase blood flow when my period Arrives? My cycles are very regular, every 29-31 days just extremely light or this month just spotting. So I’m quite worried.

    • Dear Natalie,

      Light menstruation is often a sign of lack of circulation to the uterus.

      It is best to follow the suggested use of the manufacturer of each product purchased. This being said, I am not familiar with Starflower oil, but general suggested use of Dong Quai is that it is best taken as the dried powdered root in capsules. The daily suggested use of Dong Quai is 3120mg per day, split into 3 separate doses of 1,040mg. Dong Quai is best taken with food, during meals. Dong Quai is not suggested during menstruation. General suggested use of Red Clover is of 3-6 months in preparation for pregnancy, and Red Raspberry leaf is as an infusion (herbal tea), drink 1 cup, 1-3 times a day.

      It may help to refer to our Natural Guide For Menstrual Health for additional tips as well.

      I hope this is helpful!

  15. I am confused. I started taking VItex March 10, the day after my cycle ended. I am now on cd 44 and 9 days late. Is it normal for this to happen with Vitex? I took a pregnancy test four weeks ago prior to an xray (for safety sake) and I took one on the 2nd day after my missed period, both were negative. What is going on here? Do I need to quit the Vitex? I am not having any negative side effects other than this. My cycles where long and unpredictable before, but not this long. I thought the Vitex would regulate them, not throw them further off.

    • Dear Michele,

      I am sorry this is causing concern! Some women experience a shift in their cycle when they first begin using Vitex. The length of the menstrual cycle may shorten or lengthen temporarily before it finally stabilizes. This is just the body balancing itself out and viewed as completely normal. We see these shifts work themselves out within 1-3 cycles of use.

      General suggested use of Fertilica Vitex is 900-1000mg per day each day of the menstrual cycle without taking a break while trying to conceive.

      Take care!

    • That is the dose I am taking. Thank you so much for the information. I will stick it out and see how things go. Hopefully it will even out soon. Thanks!!!!

  16. Last month I took a vitamin/herb supplement with Dong Quai, Red Clover and spirulina. I started roughly around the time I was nearing ovulation. I thought it might help with my PMS (bloating, cravings). My cycle is regular, but I tend to spot for several days before really bleeding, which makes pinpointing when I “start” confusing. My period is MIA, missing in action. I only took supplement for 9 days – experienced nausea and total absence of normal PMS symptoms. I spotted Feb 1st and bled on 5th. Usually 28-29 day cycle. As of Friday HPT negative, but now my nipples are REALLY tender. Could herbs have suppressed ovulation?

    • Dear Hilaire,

      It would best to reach out to the maker of the supplement you took to ask them. I do not know the supplement or all that is contains. There is potential for any herb that has an action on the hormones to temporarily impact the menstrual cycle.

  17. I started taking Vitex a month and a half ago to help with my short luteal defect after suffering two miscarriages. I didn’t link it at the time, but soon after I started taking it I had the onset of severe anxiety. I also had my period for 2 weeks straight, following which I decided to stop taking Vitex. The day after I stopped, the bleeding became heavier and I am extremely bloated! I have also had weight gain since taking Vitex. Can you please advise if these are normal side effects, and also when the Vitex will be out of my system? Would I still ovulate while this extended bleeding is happening?

    Thank you!

    • Dear Nessy,

      Vitex has been known to exacerbate depression, especially premenstrual depression (PMS-D) in women with a history of very low progesterone. It may be best to have your progesterone levels tested. If they are determined to be low, consider supporting healthy progesterone levels with something like a natural progesterone cream instead of Vitex, given your experience with this herb.

      The article Luteal Phase Defect: Natural Treatment Options may provider additional thoughts and considerations.

      Take care!

  18. I have been taking Dong Quai and Vitex for about 8 months to regulate periods (I have PCOS) and it’s working. My husband and I wanted to start trying for a baby soon. Do you suggest Vitex only until ovulation (first 1/2 of cycle)? I know normally you can take it month-long but I wasn’t sure if changed when TTC.

    I also stopped Dong Quai cold turkey last week (the herb company discontinued due to safety concerns from China). Will stopping an herb quickly like that have huge impact on hormones?

    Thank you!

    • Dear Jessica,

      We suggest taking Fertilica Vitex all cycle long without taking a break. If conception occurs while taking Fertilica Vitex, it is best weaned off of in early pregnancy. This Herbs and Pregnancy Q&A will share The Safe Way to Discontinue Herbs in Pregnancy for when that time arrives.

      In general, we do suggest discontinuing herbs after several months of use to see how the body responds on its own. Dong Quai is known for its ability to support healthy circulation to the reproductive system, rather than hormonal balance and is best discontinued at ovulation when you begin trying to conceive. It is okay to just stop taking Dong Quai.

      I hope this is helpful! Best wishes!

  19. I am currently 25 years old. I am taking Vitex to balance my hormones, to regulate my period, after coming of the pill, and to increase my chances of becoming preggo! Is there anything else you could recommend as I am trying to increase my chance? I just had a blood test to confirm if I have PCOS – which I think i might. Does having PCOS decrease my chances on becoming pregnant?

    Help – I fear that I am not be able to get pregnant. I am really worried.

  20. Hello! I have PCOS and I wasn’t getting my period. I started taking Vitex 6 months ago and 10 days later I began my period. I was getting my period every month. In December I didn’t get a period so I took two home pregnancy tests which were negative. So, I’m 21 days late now. Should I stop taking the Vitex and see what happens. Just wondering what is going on.

    • Dear Essie,

      Have you recently experienced high levels of stress, or gained or lost lots of weight, even traveled? Did your diet change in teh past month? Each of these can impact the timing of the menstrual cycle. Are you taking anything other than Vitex? How about natural therapies?

      I can not be sure of what is going on for you. In general, we find Vitex takes anywhere from 6 months to a year to be effective although everyone experiences effects at different rates. Given you have been using Vitex for 6 months, you could consider stopping it to see how your body responds without it. Have you considered hormonal testing again to see if levels have changed or if your body in managing PCOS? It may be time to consider this again too.

      I hope to hear back from you!

  21. Hello, I have very low AMH and FSH of. I am 35 years old. What can I do and take to make my #s normal and to start a period. I’m on day 48 and no period. I’ve been taking Vitex for about a month and don’t really notice any difference. Please help!

    • Dear Michelle,

      First, given you have missed a period, I have to ask if you could be pregnant? It is important to know this before beginning to take any new herbs and nutritional supplements.

      Second, clinical research shows that Vitex may start working within 10 days, but full benefits may not be experienced until 6 months or longer. It can be rare to experience or notice any profound difference in just one months time.

      And then regarding FSH and AMH levels, consider taking to learn more about supporting these hormones naturally here: FSH Levels and Your Fertility and here: AMH, Ovarian Reserve, & Continued Follicle Production. There may be some overlap in information, but I feel both of these articles are very helpful in understanding the role of these hormones and how to support them.

      I hope this is all helpful!

  22. I have pcos and decided to get off birth control and try to manage naturally. A few days after I stopped BC I started taking spearmint for excess hair growth, gymnema, a probiotic and a multivitamin. A few days after starting this regime I have a period that hasn’t stopped for 2 weeks. Any suggestions?

  23. I am taking hypothyroid medication. I am wondering if it’s ok to take Vitex as well? Thank you.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Greetings Sandy!

      You will need to speak with your healthcare provider about combining any herbs you are interested in taking including Fertilica Vitex with your medication.

      Take care!

  24. Can someone please let me know if its okay to take Vitex and seconds later other vitamins or should Vitex be taken separately?
    Thank you

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Jacqueline,

      Vitex can be taken with other herbs and supplements at the same time.

      Best wishes!

  25. Thoughts about taking Vitex while doing progesterone supplementation during luteal phase and first trimester of pregnancy? i have read some warnings about continuing vitex while receiving progesterone supplementation (specifically Crinone is the potential drug interaction in question).

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Khadijah,
      Vitex can be combined with natural progesterone cream (different from pharmaceutical progesterone as you likely know) while ttc and into early pregnancy under the guidance of a healthcare provider of midwife. Our Progesterone Fertility Guide offers guidance on how to properly use natural progesterone cream into pregnancy and according to German research, vitex can be taken safely through the end of the third month of pregnancy and may help prevent miscarriage. At month three of pregnancy, the placenta takes over progesterone production on its own so vitex most likely won’t be needed anyways. If you are deciding to use vitex during pregnancy, we suggest you consult with an herbalist or midwife for guidance and supervision, and to have your progesterone levels monitored.
      Thank you for reaching out to us!

  26. Hello! My period was absent for about 5 months. I read up on ding quai and gave it a try. My period started again and it’s now about to be on my 3rd consecutive cycle, my question is…do I continue to take dong quai to start my flow or not and let it happen naturally?! I guess my real question is do I continue to take it, regardless if my period comes on it’s own or from the dong quai? Thanks!

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Ashley,
      How great that your body responded to Dong Quai! It is often after three or so cycles that we do suggest, given your cycles are showing consistency, that you try stopping the herb to see how your body responds on it’s own. You could try this. It may also be important to learn what is was that caused your period to be absent so that you can work to stay in balance. So many things from diet and stress levels, losing or gaining weight, even travel can affect the menstrual cycle (just to name a few)… knowing what triggered this for you will help you support your body to the best of your ability.

  27. hi there was wondering if i can take vitex mixed with other herbs and vitamins with my contraceptive pill as i have endometriosis.

    • Hi Sara,

      No, we don’t recommend taking vitex mixed with other herbs while taking contraceptive medications. A multivitamin would be okay though.

  28. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  29. I’ve been taking 50 mg of DIM each day, along with a B-complex (that contains 50 mg of B6).

    I think I’m now pregnant, but I have a week before I can test.

    Do I continue to take DIM and/or B until I test?

    Do I continue to take it if I am indeed pregnant?

  30. Dear Mom to Be…
    Any Herbs taking such as Maca, Royal Jelly, Vitex should be stopped before taking IVF medications. Good Luck to you all

    JoAnne

  31. Dalene,
    Thank you for the response on the progesterone cream cancer warning. That makes total sense and I feel better already about using it 🙂

    Marianne

    p.s. Is there a way you guys can add a feature to subscribe to posts? I don’t always remember to come back and look for an answer. If this site is using WordPress, I use a plugin called Subscribe to Comments Reloaded that works very well.

  32. So,

    When we get a positive pregnancy test we should stop:
    Evening Primrose Oil
    Royal Jelly
    Vitex
    and maybe Maca?
    ANY specific herbs to avoid?

    I JUST bought all of them and after 2 weeks got a positive test! Want to know what to use, and what to stop, and what to do!

    • Hi A-nother Mother,

      Maca has shown no side effects during pregnancy with thousands of people consuming it daily. There have been no deaths reported or babies born with any side effects.

      Is it safe to take vitex during pregnancy?
      Aviva Romm states in her wonderful book Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health…

      In placebo controlled studies for teratogenicity and mutagenicity were conducted in rats, and even with the animals ere administered 74 times the dosage typically consumed by humans, no toxicity nor aberations in fetal development were seen. In addition the Botanical Safety Handbook provided no contraindications to use during pregnancy.

      Yet in contrast another study was done in 2005 that showed when mice were injected in the abdomen with human level doses of vitex extract there were negative effects to the mice embryos.

      While Vitex can be used to help a miscarriage that is acute, it is best to use at least 3 months prior to conception and another progesterone therapy such as progesterone cream to maintain stable progesterone levels once pregnancy has occurred. Working with a health practitioner once you are pregnant to help you keep your progesterone levels up is the wisest option at that point.

      Royal Jelly should not be consumed during pregnancy if there is any history of bee allergy in your family or the fathers family.

      Evening Primrose Oil should be stopped.

      Most herbs are not recommended for pregnancy and the list is so long I cannot put it all here.

      Congratulations on your positive test results!

      Dalene

  33. hi Hethir
    i’m 37 yeras old trying to get a 2nd child for 5yrs now. In august i did a fertility cleanse and i had a period with very few clots and no cramps for the 1st time in my life. after the clease i started taking primrose up to day 14 i was also taking maca & royal jelly which i’ still taking but i havent had a period since aug 29th and i’ve checked but preg test is -ve. should i be taking something else?

    • Hi Barbara,

      Have you always had irregular periods or is this the first time? I recommend reading our Absent Periods page. This page is full of information on the best natural remedies for irregular or absent periods.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  34. I am just about to start the Fertility Cleanse and wanted to know if it is OK to take the supplement FertilAid with it?
    Thanks

    • Hi Emma,

      We do not recommend taking any other herbs for fertility like FertilAid during the cleanse. After the cleanse is over other herbs for fertility may be begun.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  35. Is it safe to use castor oi packs while on birth control? I am on birth control now about 2 weeks until I have a laprascopy done. Don’t know if it will help bit want to try it.Thanks.

    • Hi Diane,

      Castor Oil packs are safe to use while on birth control, discontinue using them before having the laprascopy done and wait a couple weeks afterward before beginning them again.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  36. Hi there,

    I was taking Maca and royal jelly with bee pollen for just one month before I got pregnant at the end of August this year. My husband was also taking Maca. I definitely think it contributed to us getting pregnant as we’d been trying for 4 months before with no success. I continued to take Maca every day whilst pregnant but cut down my dose to 500mg a day and then after a few weeks, to 500mg every other day to ‘wean’ myself off.
    I unfortunately miscarried at 8 weeks and although we’re both very upset, we’re keen to start trying again as soon as my body’s recovered. We’re taking Maca again in preparation but I’m undecided whether to continue it again once I’m pregnant. I’ve read many things that says it’s safe to take Maca and it can even be beneficial to the pregnancy. But, there are also those that say you should stop taking it as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. I’m so confused!! Please can you advise what I should do?

    Many thanks,

    Caroline

    • Hi Caroline,

      I am sorry to hear of your miscarriage, but it is nice to hear you have a positive attitude and are already looking toward the future. While it may be safe to continue Maca into pregnancy with the approval of your doctor or midwife if you feel you have low progesterone that may be contributing to miscarriage it may be best to use natural progesterone cream under the guidance of your doctor instead. If you have a history of miscarriage it would be best to know if you are low in progesterone. You doctor can test your levels and recommend a dosage of progesterone that would be specific for your needs. If you wish to continue to use maca in preparation for pregnancy it may be best to talk to your doctor about switching over to supplementing progesterone with a natural cream once pregnant.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  37. What about chiropractic care and alternative medicine techniques? There is some evidence that chiro adjustments can increase fertility. What do you think?

    • Hi Jennifer,

      We recently had a woman write in about her success with chiropractic care leading to a successful pregnancy. Thanks for reading!

      Dalene

  38. Hi there, thanks this was very useful info- i have just done your cleanse and have mixed feelings about it- i had a lot of increased pain- ( mostly) – i have an endometrioma and had surgery to remove endo from my ovaries when i was 24, I am now 32 and cant get pregant. I felt the herbs ( womens best friend and the teas) were stimulating my ovaries- i had a very light dark grainy period ( this is usual), spotting for a week before my period ( this is usual!) a one day period and i dont know whether i did me any benefit or not. I am now just taking maca and feel i had LESS menopausal symptoms- (i get crawling legs, hot flushes in my feet – terrible – a lot worse in last two months) when i was on vitex- i am desperate to get rid of my endometriosis and feel maybe the only way is IVF now. I am also taking zymessence and your wholefood multi. Any ideas what i should do- my naturopath in australia wants me to take vitex and endofem ( made of dong quai, ladies mantle, paeonia and calendula)- she says it will stop the spotting- is she right should i take vitex and endofem during my period? I would love some advice. Many thanks, Kate Smith

    • Hi Kate,

      Women’s Best Friend may make your previous symptoms worse at first (pain from the endometriosis) and then it should level off. This is because it stimulates cleansing actions in the reproductive system. I think it is good that you are working one on one with a Naturopath. If you feel that Vitex contributes to the crawling sensation make this clear to your Naturopath, you have taken it for some time in the past and you feel it has not been effective. As for the Endofem, I cannot say if this is best for you, but your naturopath knows more about you than I do, she has a realationship with you and that blend of herbs may be very effective. She also knows your cycles and is making an informed decision based on your history, that is why she can say that it may be best for you to take these herbs during your menstrual cycle. She is also able to monitor your progress and can adjust remedies as needed. Have you and your ND ever discussed the possibility of the Maca being most effective because it nourishes your endocrine system? Have you ever had your thyroid and adrenals checked? Are you making sure you are taking care of them, supporting them with supplements? When they function and are supported your hormones become more balanced, this may also help with the crawling sensation. Remember that vitex has the potential to cause crawling skin sensation (formication), you may react to it or it may intensify the feelings for you. I am sorry if I can’t remember, but have you also seen a reproductive endocronologist?

      As always you can also contact us here for further questions.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  39. i have a question. I have been drinking a different fertility tea than what you sell for 2 months. I am 41 years old with a 13 and 11 year old from my first marriage. This tea has different herbs than yours. raspberry leaf,nettles leaf,red clover blossoms and leaf,alfalfa leaf, dandelion root and ginger root. The company was not very helpful. I have had 2 heavy periods in one month. I feel the tea is regulating me because of my age. Is it? Also , should i drink it while having my period? thanks

    • Hi Tracy,

      I cannot say if the tea is “regulating” your cycle or not. I can say that all of those herbs are tonifying to the female reproductive system and nourishing to your entire body. Nettles and Alfalfa, Red Raspberry are high in vitamins and minerals especially iron which is very nourishing and vital to healthy blood. These herbs are fine to drink during your period. If you feel you periods are too heavy in flow you may want to not use these herbs during menstruation.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  40. I haven’t started my fertility cleanse as yet,but I am trying to get pregnant so these tips will definitely prepare me for the days ahead. Now I know that it is best to cleanse before taking herbs and supplements.

    Thanks

    sheron

  41. My acupuncturist suggested i use a natural progesterone cream, so i looked at all the ones at my healthfood store and ended up with an all natural cream with a pump that measures out the right amount I need to use each day. But then I noticed on the bottle it says that it is known in the state of CA to cause cancer. Should I be worried? Am I using the wrong type of progesterone? My ob/gyn also told me to stop using it, but she said it was because they did not believe in LTD. I don’t know what to do now. Keep using it or stop?

    • Hi Marianney,

      Progesterone Cream Label Cancer Warning
      Cancer Warning on Progesterone Cream Labels
      Q: I did go to the Environmental Working Group website you recommended to look at the ingredients in my progesterone cream and noticed that progesterone is listed as a possible carcinogen. What’s that about?

      A: Here’s a clear, accurate description of this labeling issue, as explained by the nonprofit group Women in Balance:

      “The state of California, under Proposition 65, requires warning labels on consumer products that contain ingredients “known to the state” as posing potential cancer risk. Women in Balance believes that placing a warning label on progesterone cream products is not warranted. We would like to educate consumers about how Proposition 65 came about.

      What is California Proposition 65?
      California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”), contains a list of over 800 chemicals identified as carcinogens. Prop 65 mandates that warnings be given to consumers of products that contain certain chemicals identified by the state of California as hazardous. Progesterone was added to this list in 1988 based on summaries from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Both of these programs only evaluated progesterone given to animals already predisposed to cancer. Progesterone was then given to these high risk animals in very high doses. Also, these animals were given known carcinogens in addition to the high doses of progesterone.

      The NTP’s Tenth Report on Carcinogens even acknowledges that “no adequate human studies of the relationship between exposure to progesterone and human cancer have been reported.” Progesterone is a naturally occurring hormone produced by all humans, unlike most of the chemicals listed in Prop 65, which are not naturally present in humans.”

      I’d like to add that most of the research originally cited by the NTP to justify adding progesterone to the list of carcinogens was largely based on synthetic progestins—apparently they didn’t realize that progesterone and progestins are very different. Progesterone cream companies that don’t add this label in California become vulnerable to lawsuits from a particularly nasty group of attorneys who are using Prop 65 to make millions of dollars. Meanwhile, there are 799 other chemicals out there, most of which probably do pose a risk of cancer.

      If you’d like to read about all the ways that progesterone prevents cancer, please read the book I co-authored with Dr. John Lee and Dr. David Zava, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Breast Cancer. Although it was published in 2002, Dr. Zava, myself and others have kept a close eye on progesterone-related research and studies since then, and new evidence comes out monthly supporting everything we put forth in the book. You’ll also find some articles specifically about progesterone and cancer in Vol 3 Issue 1 of the Health Watch.*

      *http://www.virginiahopkinstestkits.com/pgcreamlabelwarning.html

      I hope this helps you to understand more.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  42. thank you for the interesting article. I would like to make a point about two things. First, oftentimes because of the fluctuation in hormone levels during a females cycle we often think that it is important to take something for part of the cycle and stop and start up again at certain times. Though this may make sense due to hormone fluctuation it doesn’t really make sense when you think of how the hormones are produced and the biochemistry surrounding hormone production. The follicle for example houses the egg as it grows up before ovulation and then secretes progesterone after the egg is released. This structure needs the support of thyroid hormone to both mature and this thyroid hormone also contributes to making progesterone. So instead of looking at the end result, its important to take a few steps up the hormone chain to see what is happening so you understand what to support to help with the end result. Supporting the follicular development and its function throughout the cycle is very important with herbs and nutrients.
    Second point, be very cautious when using progesterone cream long term as this can build up in the tissues and cause significant hormone imbalance. It may also contribute to feedback inhibition of thyroid hormones. I have seen this clinically. This means that as you take progesterone cream, if taken long term, the body could slow down the production of hormones such as T3 because it begins to rely on progesterone from outside sources like the cream. Thyroid hormone FT4 and FT3 should be monitored through blood tests and progesterone should be monitored through saliva tests to make sure you aren’t causing an imbalance with your cream.