Vitex… Fertility Super Herb?

Vitex… Fertility Super Herb?

Article Overview

Vitex is a beautiful shrub native to Greece and Italy whose berries have been used in herbal medicine for centuries. It is considered one of the most popular herbs in Europe and other Western nations for the support of gynecological imbalances.

Modern clinical research and traditional use of vitex have shown its amazing ability to help balance fertility hormones. Since vitex does not contain hormones it has a supportive, gentle and non direct action on the body. Vitex is one of the most useful fertility herbs available to us.

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 luteinising hormone (LH), which in turn increases progesterone.

Lengthens a short luteal phase: Studies have shown vitex to be affective 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 diet changes vitex may help acne.

Vitex can help basically any issues that one experiences that disappear once pregnancy begins and returns after breastfeeding ends.

How to Use Vitex

For optimal results vitex should be taken long-term. Clinical research shows that vitex may start working within 10 days, but full benefits may not be experienced until 6 months or longer. For PMS results are normally seen by the second menstrual cycle. But for lasting changes it may need to be taken for up to a year or more depending on how long the imbalance has been present.

Vitex is making fundamental changes in the delicate chemical chemistry of the body, this is why it takes some time to have an effect. Since vitex is a harmonizing and nourishing herb, it works  behind the scenes to restore balance in a gentle way. Unlike a refined synthetic drug which forces the body to change, vitex works to nourish and support the system bringing about long term balance.

Vitex use & Dosage
Vitex is generally suggested to be taken once a day in the morning on an empty stomach (half an hour before breakfast). If vitex is being used as part of a herbal blend containing other herbs, use as directed on the bottle. Vitex should be used all month long without a break.

  • Capsules: 900-1,000mg a day
  • Tincture: 60-90 drops a day

Which is the best vitex to take?
Vitex comes in many forms, loose herbs, capsules, tea, tincture and powder. We find that capsules and tincture offer the most consistent results since it is easier to control the dosage. Many of the compounds needed from vitex are easily extracted in alcohol (tincture) versus water (tea). Vitex is very strong tasting, almost bitter, so I would not suggest making a tea unless you blend other herbs with it, that is one reason capsules are so convenient.

Does Vitex Work for Everyone?

Vitex generally works for most adult women in their childbearing years (from age 18-perimenopause), but there are some cases where it may have no effect.

Women who have less than ideal lifestyle habits will probably not experience the full effects of vitex. For those who have low energy reserves, weak immune systems, eat mostly processed foods, have been on antibiotics or steroids for a while – changes in diet and lifestyle are necessary prior to beginning the use of vitex. Without making these changes in addition to using vitex, you may not experience results.

Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. Perimenopause typically begins at the age of 40. As perimenopause progresses toward menopause, it is normal for menstrual cycles to become irregular and for hormone levels to fluctuate. As ovarian reserve diminishes and egg health declines, FSH levels may rise. For some women vitex may be helpful in maintaining regular cycles and lowering higher FSH levels, but vitex cannot reverse the aging process. It may or man not be effective for women in perimenopause, each woman is different. Vitex cannot bring back the menstrual cycle in women who have gone through menopause.

Safety & Side Effects

Vitex has been used for over 2,000 years with no significant side-effects reported. Some minor and infrequent side-effects (1-2% of users may experience) have been nausea, gastrointestinal upset, skin reactions, and headache. Women with a history of depression taking vitex for menstrual irregularity may experience an exacerbation of depressive symptoms.

Even though it has been shown to have no interference with oral contraceptive vitex should not be used in conjunction with prescribed progesterone containing medication such as birth control pills in case it may interfere with their activity.

Some women do 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 is completely normal.

Safety ratings

  • German Commission E has approved the use of vitex for menstrual cycle irregularities, premenstrual disturbances, and mastodynia.
  • The Botanical Safety Handbook had categorized vitex as a class 1 herb. Class 1 herbs are herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately.

Vitex use During Pregnancy

It is believed that vitex’s ability to increase progesterone levels has explained the positive results seen by herbalists and midwives who used it to help prevent recurrent miscarriages in women. No studies on humans have been done yet supporting this, only traditional use. There have been reproductive toxicology studies with female rats where they were given up to 80 times the concentrated used clinically in humans, showing no difference in offspring compared with the rats given none.

German research shows vitex can be taken safely through the end of the third month of pregnancy and may help prevent miscarriage. Vitex is still considered safe to take after the third month, but it is thought that it may stimulate lactation too early, so for this reason it is suggested to not continue after the third month of pregnancy. Also, during the third month of pregnancy is the time 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.

Summary

Vitex is a fantastic herb for fertility, helping with a range of issues such as PMS, low progesterone, lack of ovulation, irregular menstrual cycles, lack of a menstrual cycle, acne and so much more. Vitex offers many benefits but requires patience and consistency of use. It should be used all month long and taken as one dose in the morning on an empty stomach.

References
1. Hobbs, Christopher. Vitex, The Women’s Herb, page 15, Vitex and Pregnancy. 2003
2. Romm, Aviva. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. 2010

Comments

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[-] 249 Comments
  1. I’m looking to lengthen my leutal phase. Right now i think it’s close to 11 or 12 days and I’m worried its too short. I’m on methyldopa for high blood pressure. Will vitex interact with the methyldopa?

    • Hello Nicole!

      We can not suggest Fertilica Vitex be taken with medications unless being guided in doing do by your healthcare provider. Most experts agree that a luteal phase much less than 12 days does not give the uterus sufficient time to establish a nourishing lining for a growing fetus. I am not certain there is cause for concern for you. It may be reassuring to read our article about naturally supporting luteal phase length.

      Take care!

  2. I’ve been taking the birth control pill for the past ten years and have recently stopped because we want to conceive. I have yet to have a period since stopping the pill. It’s only been about six weeks, is it too soon to start taking something like Vitex? Is there any harm in starting sooner rather than later?

    Thank you.

  3. Can I take vitex and maca at the same time?

  4. My husband and I have anti-sperm antibodies and hormonal imbalance. Can we use tribulus together with vitex?

  5. Hi. I’m thinking about starting Vitex with the start of my next menstrual cycle. If I don’t get pregnant the next cycle, then I will be starting Clomid (probably at the end of December). Can I take Vitex while taking Clomid? I will take 100 mg Clomid days 5-9, it’s an estrogen based drug, so I’m thinking it won’t interact. ??
    Thanks.

    • Hello Andrea!

      Herbs that have an action on hormonal system should not be combined with medications medication that do the same . They could affect how your medications are working. It is best to only use herbs in preparation beforehand and not mix the two.

      Best wishes!

  6. Will I be able to get Vitex in Trinidad and Tobago pharmacies?

  7. Hi am struggling to have normal menstruation cycles and I want to conceive.
    Someone suggested that I take evening primrose oil to regulate my periods. If I start taking vitex, should I stop the evening primrose oil, or can be taken at the same time, or simply one or the other. My menstruation is not normal, sometimes complete and sometimes only traces and I feel bloated. I am slightly overweight 63 kg for 1m55.
    Please help me…
    Thank you!!!!

  8. Hello, I am a 21 year old married and TTC for one year. My husband and I are high school sweethearts and we’ve only been with each other. I’ve read some interesting things on Vitex during my research and was wondering if this could help me. I have an ovulation calendar but it is very difficult because my periods are irregular and come as early as the middle of the month and as late as the end of the month. Could vitex help me to regulate my period so I can track my ovulation and be able to conceive?

    Thank You!

    • Dear Amy,

      Fertilica Vitex has been shown to provide female hormone balance and encourage a normal luteal phase, promote regular ovulation and support the body’s natural progesterone level… all in support of helping the body know how to have a regular menstrual cycle.

      If your cycles are irregular, you may want to learn how to best observe your fertility signs more closely. Check out our Guide to Fertility Charting if you are not familiar with these observations.

      Best wishes!

  9. Hello, I have been taking vitex for 4 weeks and just started the fertility massage and maca so I could get my period, which has been very irregular since I stopped birth control pills in March. I just found out I have cysts on my ovaries and my doctor would like me to take progesterone pills for 10 days to induce a period (I haven’t had one since July). Is it OK to continue taking vitex and maca with the progesterone pills, or should I wait until the 10 days of pills are completed? Thank you. Your website is really helpful.

  10. Hi! Is Vitex safe for those who suffer from endometriosis & uterine fibroids? I found some articles through the internet that state that Vitex can’t be taken by who have endometriosis & uterine fibroids. Please help. My doctor just informed me that I have endometriosis & fibroids.

    • Dear Hunny,

      Fertilica Vitex is supportive of female hormone balance which is also the goal of our programs. Uterine fibroids and endometriosis are estrogen-sensitive, meaning that they respond to estrogen in the same way that the lining of your uterus does — growing in response to circulating estrogen. Excess estrogen in one of the main culprits in causing not only fibroid and endometriosis growth, but also hormonal imbalance.

      Consider learning about dietary and lifestyle ways, as well as natural therapies to support a healthy uterine environment and the body in managing this excess estrogen.

      Best wishes!

  11. Hi there,
    I am 33 years old and trying for my second baby. i have hypothyroid and PCOS. would taking vitex be helpful for conceiving and no adverse effect on my thyroid . please help.
    My cycles are very irregular.
    I used nothing for conceiving in my first pregnancy.
    I was not a thyroid patient during my first pregnancy.

    Thanks in advance
    Nancy

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Nancy,

      Vitex supports the endocrine system and in turn may also support thyroid and adrenal glands as well. However it may be more helpful to consider the information we have to share about How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs.

      With PCOS, it is important to focus changing diet and lifestyle, as well as supporting your 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.

      I hope this is helpful!

  12. HI! Please can you tell me if I can get this in Johannesburg, South Africa, at my pharmacy? I really would love to try this. I have a period twice a month with only a 2 day break. My husband and I are trying for a baby and we have tried everything. This is our last hope to have our first child.

    Thank You!

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hello!

      I am not certain if vitex is available in pharmacies in Johannesburg, but Fertilica Vitex can be purchased from The Natural Fertility Shop.

      Can you clarify if you bleed all but two days each menstrual cycle? If so, have you talked with your healthcare provider about this issue? Consider also referring to our Natural Guide for Menstrual Health for additional tips.

      Take care!

  13. Hi!
    My daughter is finding it difficult to conceive due to having polycystic ovaries, and appears to not ovulate, according to her doctor. She has had lots of blood tests and internal scans, but they do not seem to be doing anything. Would Vitex help her to get pregnant, even though she does not ovulate. She does have periods, but not regularly. She can bleed for over a week sometimes and be up to 3 months late on occasion. So before we buy any of these, I wanted to know if they could be of use.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Karin,

      Thank you for reaching out to us on your daughter’s behalf. How great that she has you to support her.

      While Fertilica Vitex has proven to be supportive of most irregularities of the menstrual cycle, consider first sharing with your daughter information about supporting her 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. You can learn more and how to do the above in the following article: http://natural-fertility-info.com/pcos-fertility-diet

      The goal of our programs is to support the body in re-learning balance and/or supporting balance when fertility issues are present. The great part about herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies is that they often work wonders in doing this given commitment to dietary and lifestyle change is made as well.

      Best wishes to her!

    • I have had wonderful results with the advice from this website, it is my go-to resource.
      My genea had previously advised that I have problems with my luteinising hormone (LH) due to the PCOS. In my humble novice opinion I definitely believe your daughter would benefit from using Vitex.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hello Sarah!

      Thank you for sharing your experience and kind words with us and our readers. We appreciate it!

  14. Hello!
    I am 47 years old and trying to conceive. My FSH levels are 12-14 and doc immediately started discussing embryo adoption. I am very healthy (work out, eat healthy and at my ideal weight) I felt his discussion was premature before visiting my other options.
    I am now going to an acupuncturist and she gave me Chinese herbs (been getting acupuncture for about four weeks now)
    I am just learning about Vitex. Would it be beneficial to take the Chinese herbs as well as the Vitex? IF so, How long should I take both products? Please advise.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Lisa,

      How wonderful that you sought out additional guidance. I hope you are enjoying acupuncture.

      It would be best for you to speak to your acupuncturist about taking Fertilica Vitex in addition to the Chinese herbs you are on. We feel that if you are currently working with a healthcare practitioner and they have you on a program, it is best to follow that program for the suggested amount of time before you change it or start a different program.

      Fertilica Vitex is an herb that takes time to be effective. In general we suggest taking it for a minimum of three months, but for many six months to a year.

      Have you had a chance to read about FSH Levels and Your Fertility? This article may be helpful as well.

      Best wishes to you!

  15. Hello! I have just stumbled across this website and it’s made my day, thank you for such informative articles!
    I have been charting for a few months and i’m pretty certain that I have a luteal phase defect, I appear to be ovulating on about day 13 of my cycle, but then I have a short luteal phase lasting around 10 days.
    My question is whether it’s ok to start on Vitex and Fertilica Natural Progesterone cream at the same time, or whether one should come before the other?
    Thanks again,
    Laurie

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Laurie,

      I am thankful the information we share is helping you. We are happy you found us!

      Fertilica Vitex general suggested use is to take it all cycle long without taking a break. Fertilica Natural Progesterone cream is to be used the two weeks before your period begins. Take some time to refer to our Progesterone Fertility Guide to learn more.

      Luteal Phase Defect: Natural Treatment Options may be another article to offer helpful guidance.

      Best wishes!

  16. What brand do you recommend? I was only able to find (Canada), Natural Factors, 80MG. With the suggested dosage I would need to pop a lot of pills.

  17. Thank you so much for the informative and well-researched article. I am over 40 and trying to conceive. I also have a submucosal fibroid. I am trying a few herbal preparations for the fibroid and also use this ‘female balance’ hormonal formula which has vitex in it. Your article says that vitex inhibits the FSH hormone. I am a bit confused. Is this a good thing when trying to conceive? Don’t we need both FSH and LH for ovulation to occur? Also do you think I should take additional vitex sold separately to boost its effects? Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Michele,

      Yes, FSH and LH are both necessary at healthy and balanced levels to regulate the menstrual cycle and in part produce ova, or eggs, in the ovaries. Consider learning more about FSH Levels and Your Fertility for a greater understanding of this need for balance.

      General suggested use of Fertilica Vitex is 900-1000mg per day through the entire cycle. Fertilica Vitex can be taken in addition to other supplements to meet this suggestion. Because I am not certain what is in the “female balance” formula you mentioned, take a look at the ingredients to see how much vitex you are taking in each dose and per day to help you decide about taking additional vitex.

  18. I am 41 years old. Had one failed IVF, and then naturally conceived within 6 months, but ended in ectopic pregnancy. My left tube was removed. Doctor said my egg health is not good, FSH levels are high. I have started taking Shatavari capsules a month ago. Can I add Vitex to it ? I also bought the self fertility massage video which has helped me. Plus advice. Am quite confused. Thank you.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Buffy,

      Fertilica Vitex can be taken with Shatavari.

      Consider learning more about FSH Levels and Your Fertility as you create the right program for your fertility health needs. We also offer guidance in creating natural fertility programs in the form of a Fertility Consultation. Through a Fertility Consultation, our fertility herbalist will evaluate your comprehensive intake form and then email you your program as a PDF including a live link to an audio recording all explaining the program she has created.

      She is there for you to remove the confusion. I hope you will consider!

  19. Hi great article! It just left me with a couple of questions. I started tracking my cycle with BBT and Kindara and found out i didn’t ovulate. About a year ago i had a hormone-test done and it turned out i had low progesterone and started using the natural progesterone cream. So i did have a temp shift but only because of the progesterone. I’m really scared about not ovulating and low progestero

    Can Vitex help me ovulating?
    And will it mess with my temperatures?
    I have really painful periods, does Vitex help with this issue too?

    I’m 27, never been on hormonal birthcontrol, trying to avoid pregnancy for another two years but i would like to be able to get pregnant when i’m ready.
    Pls Help

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Kootje,

      Fertilica Vitex has shown to have the ability to increase the secretion of luteinising hormone (LH), which in turn increases progesterone. It can be used in combination with natural progesterone cream to support low progesterone levels.

      Some women to experience cycle shifts which could include basal body temperature shifts, but we find primarily for the positive and benefit of hormone balance and a healthy menstrual cycle.

      Beyond simply taking an herb to support regular ovulation, consider also these 5 Simple Ways to Promote Regular Ovulation.

      I hope this is a helpful start.

  20. Hi can you take vitex along side IVF drugs?

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Nina,

      Fertilica Vitex should not be take with IVF drugs. Many physicians will suggest their patients avoid herb use altogether during an IVF cycle. Because Vitex does influence hormone levels, some researchers speculate it might interfere with IVF or fertility drug treatments.

      It would be best to have your physician determine whether combining fertility medications with fertility herbs is suitable.

      Best wishes!

  21. I have been suffering from PCOS for 17 years. I have taken many chemical tablets to regulate period such as Clomid, Cycloprognova in the past. I am not married and now I am taking Aldactone, folic acid and Cedovage. I want to ask if I buy chaste berry tablets, should I stop all these chemical tablets and will vitex natural tablets be enough? Is this suitable for females who are not married, but who suffer from PCOS? Or is it made to get a woman pregnant?

    Sorry for so many questions, but I am living in Egypt and this the first time hearing about chaste tree berry. Thanks :)

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hello Sbebo!

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      The goal of our programs is to support the body in re-learning balance and/or supporting balance when fertility issues are present. The great part about herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies is that they often work wonders in doing this, given commitment to making dietary and lifestyle change is made as well.

      I can not say that Fertilica Vitex, Chaste tree berry will be enough for your fertility health needs. It can be taken when needing to support hormone balance and menstrual cycle health even if a woman is not trying to conceive.

      There are supportive herbs and nutritional supplements to support your body in re-learning balance that also support the body in promoting healthy hormonal balance, a healthy uterine lining, regular ovulation, improved estrogen metabolism, reduce cravings for sweets and improve digestion. For optimal hormonal balance these nutrional supplements and natural therapies are best completed alongside a PCOS Fertility Diet and lifestyle changes.

      We can not suggest you stop taking the medications and supplements you are already on. So, if you read in the article I just shared about something you are interested in trying, please speak to your healthcare provider about combining it with that which you are already taking.

      I wish you well!