Vitex (Vitex agnus castus or Chastetree berry) works by supporting the pituitary gland, which is responsible for many actions, one in particular being communicating with the ovaries about when to secrete hormones (hormones such as progesterone). Vitex does this without containing any hormones itself. This is why fertility herbs are so great; because you’re not actually consuming condensed hormones, you’re consuming something that helps to support a system of the body so that system is healthy and functioning as it should be.
Studies have shown that Vitex can have an effect on many fertility health issues. In Germany, Vitex is prescribed and used by practitioners of all healing traditions, including medical doctors. It’s an herb that has been traditionally used for thousands of years as well. We hold traditional uses just as important as medical and scientific studies; each are of great value. Here is what the studies have shown:
- Vitex has an effect on FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). Fertility doctors will test your FSH level if you’ve been on your fertility journey for some time or are dealing with a fertility health issue. If FSH is high, that can sometimes indicate poor egg health or poor response to fertility treatments. Vitex can have an effect on lowering FSH and increasing progesterone.
- Vitex has been shown to lengthen a short luteal phase. The time between ovulation and the end of your cycle is called the luteal phase. Practitioners feel that a healthy luteal phase needs to be at least 12 days or longer. If the luteal phase is too short, progesterone levels may not be adequate to sustain a pregnancy, or healthy implantation of a fertilized egg. The good news is that this is something that is fairly easy to fix. Vitex can help to lengthen that second phase, the luteal phase, of the cycle.
- Vitex can help to increase progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone necessary to build the uterine lining and for the lining to stay in the uterus long enough for healthy implantation to occur; for the embryo to implant, to begin to grow, and for pregnancy to begin. Progesterone is the “pregnancy hormone” – “pro” meaning in favor of, “gesterone” – meaning gestation or the process of being nourished in the womb from conception through birth. Progesterone is incredibly important for conception and maintaining a pregnancy.
It may also be hard for some people who have low progesterone to maintain pregnancy; that is one of the causes of miscarriage. If you’ve had more than one or two miscarriages, progesterone levels may be something to get tested. In one study* of 45 women, 86% of participants progesterone levels increased when taking Vitex.
- Vitex may help to prevent miscarriages. There are many reasons one might miscarry. Women who have had a miscarriage as result of low progesterone may want to consider Vitex as one part of their pregnancy preparation plan.
- Vitex can help the body overcome PMS and absent periods. Vitex helps to balance the hormonal levels/hormonal ratios (through its actions on the HPA Axis, the hormonal feedback loop within the body) which are often out of balance, causing PMS and absent periods. Vitex has been found to support most cases of irregular menses.
- Vitex may help with hormonal acne. Vitex may work for acne due to hormonal imbalance or PCOS, as well as for young adults going through puberty.
There are many things that Vitex can be used for. It is not just used for infertility, but Vitex really is a fertility powerhouse!
How to Use Vitex
Vitex is best taken in one dose, first thing in the morning with water. If you’re taking capsules, you need to be taking about a 900-1000 mg a day. Vitex is also available as a liquid extract. If you choose this option, take 2-3 dropperfuls (or follow the suggested use of the manufacturer of the product you purchase).
Factors for Effectiveness
Clinical research has shown that you can start to see results in about 10 days. Vitex, however, takes some time to be effective. The amount of time it takes to see results in part depends on the severity of hormonal imbalance or fertility issues you might have. Diet is also very important for Vitex to work properly. Making changes to your diet will impact how well Vitex work for you.
In general, it is best to take an herb or to stay on your natural fertility program for at least 3 months, especially if your goal is to influence hormonal balance.
If you would like to know if Vitex may be right for you, in addition to other natural ways to support your fertility, we are happy to offer guidance through a Fertility Consultation. Through this experience, you receive a 3-6-month natural fertility program designed especially for you.
Resources mentioned in the video:
Fertilica Vitex Capsules
Fertilica Vitex Liquid Extract
Natural Fertility Consultation
Natural Fertility Shop.com
*The study is shared in the guide, Vitex… Fertility Super Herb?