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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[-] 449 Comments
  1. My cycles have become a lot shorter (21-24 days) and we are having difficulty getting pregnant with Baby #3. I’m currently trying to wean off of Cymbalta but I am taking Trazadone for Fibromyalgia. Can I take Vitex while I’m still on Cymbalta? And I plan to continue with the Trazadone.

    • Dear Katie,

      It is only under the guidance of your healthcare provider that we can suggest combining herbs with prescription medications. It may be worth talking to him about a potential side effect of either medication being shortened menstrual cycle. I do not know as I am not a pharmacist, but it may be helpful to know as you continue to try to conceive.

      All my best!

  2. Good day,
    I have been taking an herbal blend capsule with vitex for close to 2 years it is meant to be taken long term. I did have significant improvements in my condition , my too long, too heavy menstruations have not been helped, and I was recently diagnosed with uterine fibroid cists. The formula I take has me ingesting a total of 320mg vitex daily. In your article a dose of 900-1000mg is recommended. Is there any reason why I couldn’t supplement with an extra dose of pure Vitex to have a higher daily dose? Even short term? Because I don’t seem to be making progress any more. I am doing more to help my health but this matters!
    Thank you,
    Jenny

    • Dear Jenny,

      The general suggested dose offered in this article is based on the clinical use of Vitex by our site’s founder. Adding Vitex to meet this general suggested dose could be considered, but it may be best to speak with the healthcare practitioner who suggested trying the herbal blend you mentioned.

      This being said, excessive bleeding during menstruation and long periods (in terms of length of menstruation) are two symptoms of uterine fibroids. Consider learning how to support the body in maintaining a healthy environment within the uterus by promoting hormonal balance and supporting the body’s natural ability to reduce occurrences of occasional growths via the articles The Best Natural Remedies for Uterine Fibroids… and 3 Things Women with Uterine Fibroids Should Be Doing Daily.

      I hope this is helpful!

  3. How do we purchase your product?

  4. Hi! Thanks a lot for your website, so helpful!
    Could you pls tell me if it’s possible to take vitex while already engaged in a IVF process?
    Also, I’d like to add maca, L-arginine and red raspberry leaf to enhance the chance of IVF success. What would you think to take all of that??
    Thanks a lot!!

    • Dear Lou,

      Fertilica Vitex, Maca and L-Arginine are not herbs/supplements we can suggest starting during IVF. Red Raspberry Leaf could be considered in the second trimester and beyond, but take time to learn more and if this herb if right for you in the article Fertility Herbal Tonic: Red Raspberry Leaf.

      Red Rapsberry leaf has been shown extremely safe to consume throughout pregnancy to prepare for labor and birth.

      Best wishes!

  5. I just started taking Angnus Castus Al, but am a bit confused about the different names am seeing online. Please i really need an answer to this, my question is, is Angnus Castus Al same thing with vitex? and are they for same purpose? Trying to conceive for over a year now. I actually want to know the right one to take. Many thanks.

    • Dear Gusty,

      It is my understanding the Agnus Castus AL is a German formulation, a name that this formulation has been given, of Vitex Agnus Castus, or Chastetree berry. Vitex agnus castus and Chastetree berry are the same thing. Consider reaching out to the makers of the product you purchased to ask as well.

  6. How do I get vitex online, is there an online shop where I can get vitex.

  7. I have a problem of missing my period for almost six months and I can’t conceive. I have tried to have a baby for 8 years. Please help me.

    • Hello Chele!

      I am sorry you are experiencing this issue while trying to conceive. There can be a variety of reasons menstruation takes a leave of absence, from hormonal imbalance to fertility health issues and chronic stress, even age. While Fertilica Vitex is known to support a variety of menstrual cycle irregularities, consider also learning natural ways to support the return of menstruation via the article Absent Period – How to Get your Period Back.

  8. Can you use Vitex and Maca root, If im already taking “prenatal Vitamin for Pregnancy and breastfeeding”, “iodine & folic Acid Supplement” and Vitamin C, on a daily basis?
    I’m 35, obese with PCOS and very high testosterone levels.
    Thank you.

  9. During and after menstruation can vitex safe to be take or only after the menstruation period.
    Thanks,
    Marcy

    • Hello!

      Fertilica Vitex general suggested use of that is be taken all cycle long with out a break for a minimum of 3 months, but as many as 6 months to a year.

  10. Please I am really enjoying your fertility literature but I will be much more happier if I could get access to your books.Thank you so much.

    • Dear Wisdom,

      I am thankful you are enjoying the information we share here on our website. Natural Fertility Info.com is the primary resource for the information we provide. The majority of information on our website is not printed in a physical book. There are however a few print fertility health resources available from the NaturalFertilityShop.com.

  11. Hello dear Elizabeth! I started to drink Vitex? Only this month of July 2, can this Vitex help me to have a baby because we’re trying to make a baby for more than 6 months, but no luck at all. My partner is 61 and I’m 34. Is it possible we can have baby? How long can I use this Vitex?
    Love, Heide

    • Dear Heide,

      As shared in this article Vitex often needs to be taken long term to experience its full benefit. In general, we suggest following our programs for a minimum of three months time, but some women/couples will need to longer. It is different for every couple dependent on diet, health history, stress levels, existing health conditions or imbalances, how well they stick to the program, and how severe the fertility issue is.

      It may help to consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist with whom you can share in detail about your diet, lifestyle, overall and fertility health history in order to receive the best natural fertility program for your specific fertility health needs. The best way we can serve you in this way is through a Fertility Consultation.

  12. Thank you! I already take Vitex 10 months and finally have period every month :) Before that I had 3-4 times a year. I read every article on this page about PCOS, it is very very helpful!!

  13. Hello dear Elizabeth! How long can I take Vitex? I have PCOS and want have a baby… I am 30 years old. Thanks.

  14. We are about to start taking Vitex pills in but many articles related to this topic saying „you should start taking Vitex pill in if you are ont the first day of your menstruation.

    What would you suggest? Would you take the pills even if you dont start to menstruate?
    My menstruation is a mess. The doctors identified POF in my case and after the second failed IVF program my menstruation dont have any sign to come.

    What would you do if you were in my case?

    • Dear Szilvia,

      General suggested use of Fertilica Vitex is 900-1000mg per day, taken first thing in the morning and all cycle long without taking a break, even during menstruation. We feel it can be started at anytime in the cycle and used long term.

      Take time to learn more about the causes of, more about and what might be done about POF in our article Understanding Premature Ovarian Failure as well.

      All my best!

  15. Have read up so much on this product. Where and how can I buy it in France? Scared of ordering online at Amazon because of the restrictions on importation of drugs, had a difficult experience when I bought a drug to be delivered to me in Italy some time back.

    Also to add, I have been ttc for 6yrs now…. And I noticed a trend,my menses tends to pause on day 3 ,no blood and resume late hours day 4 running light till day 6. I wonder what this means. Would really love to get this super drug vitex. Help!

  16. Hi! I just read your article. I ordered for vitex, but was informed that what they have is angus catus. My question is, is angus castus same thing with vitex? thanks

  17. At what earliest age can a person start taking Vitex? Can it be taken even though no outward signs of problems with fertility are present?

  18. I have problem of irregular menstruation and trying to have baby. Where can I get Vitex in South Africa?

  19. Hi! I am 39 years old and we are trying to have a baby for 2 years. I had a miscarriage in June 2014. From September 2014 my period became irregular. My FSH , AMH and progesterone level are very low. I have read about Vitex lowering higher FSH level and low progesterone. What do you recommend me to take? Thank you.

  20. Hi! I am 25 years old and I have not had a period since 3 years ago. I was really worried about since the last three years. I consulted a doctor in the first year he said that I am in perimenopause. than after one more year I changed a doctor then he said that I am in menopause, please I need a help and can you suggest something to me to get my periods back. thank you in advance

    • Dear Lilyana,

      I am sorry that you are going through this!

      An absent period, or irregular menstrual cycle may be contributed to by stress, dietary deficiencies, low body weight, hormonal imbalance, perimenopause or other underlying issues. Consider learning more in our article How To Get Your Period Back.

      It may be most helpful to work one on one with our fertility herbalist who can lay out for you an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs. This if offered through a Fertility Consultation.

  21. I want to thank you for this article, from the bottom of my heart. I’m 38, and my husband and I were trying to conceive our 2nd child for about a year – I still breastfeed our 2.5 yr old. I felt like nothing was wrong w/me other than just a little mix-up in my body due to lactation. After less than 2 months taking vitex, my switches seemed to just adjust, and I conceived successfully (I’d had 2 chemical pregnancies over the course of the year) – now we’re four months along (I continued taking vitex up til now, and reread your article – will stop now)! My first child is happy that I’m able to wean her gradually w/a goal of being all done by the time baby 2 arrives…anyway, thank you SO much!

    • Dear Moriah,

      Congratulations! We hope this finds you well and having a happy and healthy pregnancy.

      If interested, help others by sharing your success story. We know so many women and couples reply on the stories of others as they continue to try to maintain hope and conceive naturally.

      All my best to you!

    • Thanks for referring me to share my story – I’ve done just that! I’m only too happy to do so – if I could I’d go shout it from our windows – really the feeling of being able to conceive again and add to our little family just fills me with joy. Pregnancy, birth, motherhood, breastfeeding, the bonding that has taken place between me and my husband and the little person we’ve been so blessed to care for, has been an experience that has reunited me with myself in ways I never imagined possible. So – I’m just filled with happiness and only too happy to share it! :)

  22. HI! We are looking to ttc mid-July. Will taking Vitex help now since it can take 3-6 months to take effect? I’ve also read that it can make your periods irregular or cause spotting during cycle. Can you please clarify? Thank you.

    • Hello Nina!

      Fertilica Vitex is best allowed time to be effective and can be taken while trying to conceive. There are few cases of minor menstrual cycle shifts as a result of using Vitex. This does not happen for every woman, but for those is does, there is often a need for balance. Shifts are most often temporary and a positive sign that the body is responding to the actions of the herb.

      Best wishes as you begin ttc!

  23. Would you recommend Vitex for men also? Thanks!