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

Lengthens a short luteal phase: Studies have shown Vitex to be effective 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 dietary changes, Vitex may help acne.

Most hormone-related issues that disappear once pregnancy begins and then return after breastfeeding ends can be supported by the use of Vitex.

Click here to shop for Fertilica™ Vitex

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 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 an 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, including 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 may 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 some) 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 contraceptives (birth control), due to limited research, Vitex should not be used in conjunction with prescription medications that contain hormones 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 has 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 concentrations 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, the placenta takes over progesterone production, so Vitex most likely won’t be needed.

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. I find that it works best when used all month long and taken as one dose in the morning on an empty stomach.

Click here to shop for Fertilica™ Vitex

References

  • Hobbs, Christopher, L.Ac. (2003). Vitex, The Women’s Herb. Summertown, Tennessee: Healthy Living Publications.
  • Romm, Aviva. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis Missouri: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. pp. 333-36. St. Louis, Missouri: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier
  • Gardner, Z., & McGuffin, M. (Eds.). (2013). American Herbal Products Association’s botanical safety handbook (2nd ed., pp. 930-931). Vitex agnus-castus L. Boca Raton, Florida: American Herbal Products Association, CRC Press.

Hethir Rodriguez - Certified Herbalist, Nutritionist, Birth Doula

Hethir Rodriguez is the Founder of Natural Fertility Info.com. She is a Certified Herbalist, has a bachelors in Nutrition Sciences and is a trained Birth Doula and Massage Therapist. As a Natural Fertility Specialist, Hethir is dedicated to helping to provide a source for high quality, research based information and support for those on their journey to parenthood.

Comments

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[-] 1,260 Comments
  1. Hi,
    I have problems swallowing capsules. Is it OK to open the capsules and pour their content into my smoothies?
    Thank you!

  2. I am 45 plus and TTC I am currently taking Pregnacare Concievenfor 6 weeks and its been 6 weeks since I stopped takig the pil and have had a full menstral cycle, which was okay. Can Vitex be taken alongside pregnacare and which one would be best to take at this pont.

  3. Hi there. I have just started taking Premular (each tablet contains extract equivalent to 180mg dry vitex agnus-castus druit). When you stated here that the usual dosage for vitex is 900-1000mg in capsule form, am I not taking enough then of vitex when taking the Premular tablets? Thanks

  4. do we need to discontinue vitex first day of period or do we continue taking it for the whole month?

    • Dear Sofia,

      We feel it is best to take Vitex all consistently all cycle long without taking a break. We have had women use it based on their cycle, but haven’t seen a difference between using it that way and all month long (which is easier for most women). We suggest a minimum of 3 months use, but often longer for Vitex.

  5. Hello:

    I am curious when to start Vitex. Can you start taking it mid cycle before ovulation?

    Also, if you become pregnant, should you stop taking it?

    • Dear GB,

      In general, we fell it is best to begin taking Vitex at the beginning of the cycle, but it can be started at any time. If you actively ttc this cycle, it may be best to wait to see if you are pregnant. If taking Vitex and one conceives, it is an herb to wean off over a week’s time in early pregnancy.

  6. Have been trying to conceive for years, I have regular 28-day cycles and regular ovulation, and all medical tests have shown results of perfect reproductive health for both my husband and me. There is currently no explanation for the infertility we are experiencing. I’m skeptical that Vitex could help, could Vitex mess with my already regular cycles.

  7. Will Vitex interfere with other ayurvedic herbs I am currently taking? The herbs has chaste tree berry in it too, and others such as ginger rhizome, shatavari, licorice, celery root, clam shell, etc.

    • Dear AM,

      While it won’t interfere, there may not be need for more Vitex/Chastetree berry. May I ask why you want to take more? If the herbs you are currently taking were suggested by a practitioner, please consult him/her about the combination and taking more Vitex.

  8. Hi,I’m 18 y/o I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS and only have irregular cycles and polycystic ovaries.My blood work came back ‘within normal range’ but I soon figured out that my ratio of FSH and LH were not 1:1 like other women even though they are still average(from my memory my FSH was at around a 5 and my LH was at around a 16).My testosterone, androgens etc were normal but my Dr never checked my oestrogen or progesterone. Would it be fine in my case to take Vitex for irregular menses or is wild yam cream a better option? I’m looking for a long term solution and I have heard that the effects of vital wears off. Also if it did start working would I need to use it on certain times of my cycle?

  9. Hello I am 27 yrs about 115lbs old and been on depo for about 2 and half years and no period at all ..But stopped getting my shots as we are TTC.. Its been 6mnths since ive gotten my last shot. Recently I have had spotting lightly on an off for four days.. Do you think Vitex will help me get my periods back an possibly ovulate?

  10. I am 26 yrs old have been trying to get pregnant for two years now, I two miscarriages in 2013 being 8 wks and dec 2017 6wks. I heard about this pills thru a friend and was wondering if this will help? I know my numbers were supper low and they did not see anything in the ultrasound this time compared to the first time. Ive been taking them for a month and it did get my period back to normal after the last miscarriage I did not get my period for 3 months. Im sooo impatient with results but I HOPE this works. I have been taking 3 pills in the morning before breakfast is this okay or is there a way you recommend taking them? I plan to take 1 pill a day after 12 wks like the bottle says.

  11. Hello,
    because of stress I believe my cycle shortened the last 2 months.
    I would like to know, how exactly Vitex works as Progesterone is usually a hormone of the sencond half, after ovulation.
    We nee follile stimulating hormone in the first half, so I wonder, if it should be taken the whole cycle or after ovulation?
    Could taking it inhibit ovulation?
    I don´t know!
    Usually my cycle is regularly between 26-28 days ever since.
    Thanks for answering!
    🙂

    • Dear Ela,

      A 26-28 day cycle isn’t considered short for most, yet stress can impact one’s “normal”. So, I hope you’ve begun searching for ways to reduce stress and decompress.

      Vitex and progesterone are not the same thing. Vitex/Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) is known to have an action on the pituitary gland, which is responsible for progesterone production and plays an intricate role in hormonal balance, the menstrual cycle and ovulation. It does this for each woman slightly differently as each body needs balance and without containing hormones itself.

      Based on our research and us of Vitex with clients, we know it to be most effective when taken consistently all cycle long without taking a break for at minimum 3 months (often longer).

  12. My daughter was on birth control pill to regulate her periods, which never ended (one episode was non-stop for 2 months). Her 3rd month on the pill was finally a normal month. By the end of the 4th month, she is a weepy mess, sad, I would venture to say verging on depression and her acne was so much worse than ever before. My question is, if the only depression she has ever experienced is because of the pill, does the warning about not taking Vitex if you’ve had a history of depression apply? If the pill causes depression, will Vitex? She wasn’t depressed before the pill. Her never-ending period had her pretty upset at times, but not depressed. She’d rather go back to that.

    • Dear Tammie,

      I’m sorry to hear this, but you really need to let your daughter’s doctor know what she is experiencing. There are other forms of birth control, although please also know that this is not regulating her period in a healthy way. It’s tricking her body into action rather than correcting the imbalance at the source and nourishing the endocrine system in order to do that. Vitex does not cause depression, it only in some cases may exacerbate depressive symptoms. That said, we can not suggest combining Vitex with hormonal medication.

      What might be worth learning about is how to ensure you daughter is consuming enough iron and vitamins C and K, all known to help regulate menstrual blood flow. Diet is key and supplements can help – a whole food multivitamin, quality omega 3 and perhaps something like Slow Flow.

      I hope you are able to help your daughter find relief! Periods don’t have to be awful!

  13. I take 75mcg synthroid for hypothyroidism in the morning. I am 35 yrs old with very regular 29 day cycle. Aove article says take vitex in the morning empty stomach but I take synthroid in the morning. Is there any other time I can take vitex. I am trying to conceive baby#2 and want to balance my hormones. Is vitex going to intract with synthroid. Can I continue both vitex and synthroid at different times.

  14. I am in my mid forties and TTC. I have three children. I have been taking Vitex 1600mg for the past 8 weeks. I read in the comments that someone else was taking the same high dosage. Is this too high of a dosage? My capsules are 400 mg each. Should I go down to 1200mg? I know that you recommend 900 to 1000 mg daily. Since I am older I thought a higher dosage would be better. Any suggestions?

    • Dear Pinina,

      We do feel a daily dose or 900-1000mg is best. We would not suggest 1600mg daily unless your healthcare provider or herbalist suggested it.

  15. Have been trying to conceive for years, no luck. I have regular 28-day cycles and regular ovulation, and all medical tests have shown results of perfect reproductive health for both my husband and me. There is currently no explanation for the infertility we are experiencing. I’m skeptical that Vitex could help, but going to give it a try…

  16. I switched from the hormonal IUD to the Copper one in January of this year hoping it would help my acne and dry eyes, however, acne and dry eyes got worse. I started taking Vitex about 3 weeks ago and the acne has cleared already, but my dry eyes are still bothering me. I’m certain the dry eyes are hormone related.(no history or family eye problems) Do you think Vitex will eventually help my eyes if so? And how long should I stay on the Vitex?

    • Dear Jessie,

      I have not ever heard or read of Vitex use being related to dry eye. What I know is that it is a lack of tears (made of water, fatty oil and mucus) that cause dry eyes. Reasons one lacks tears could be due to thyroid health issues, vitamin A deficiency, some other medical conditions and use of medications like antihistamines, decongestants, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) including birth control, antidepressants, and medications taken orally for acne.

      Vitex can be taken long term. We suggest a minimum of three months, but as stated in this guide, it is known to be most effective and helping the body balance hormones if take 6 months or longer.

      Consider also a high-quality omega-3 supplement like FertilicaTM Cod Liver Oil, and do stay hydrated with water, herbal tea, or coconut water.

  17. I have been trying to detox from the birth control patch, Xulane, after I quickly gained 20lbs after taking it several months. It has been 90 days since I have had a period, since quitting it…I’m desperate to start losing this weight from the hormones, and to get my period back. Would Vitex be helpful for this?

  18. Am 34 years old .me and my husband almost 5 years trying have to baby,but not yet.and I have hermone imbalances & ovulation problem too. So can I take vitex capsules? How money days? Please give me suggestions… am now so stress full about this issues..

  19. Can I use Vitex to help with hot flushes from menopause?
    I am 55 years.
    Cheers Sharon

    • Dear Sharon,

      It may be worth a try, but we can not be certain it will help. Consider also learning about the homeopathic remedy Lachesis Mutus and the essential oil Clary Sage. It may help to cut back on the caffeine you consume, and processed foods. Try to keep your bedroom cool at night and wear layers of clothes… all of this you may already know.

      Consider also learning more about Seed Cycling. We are not affiliated, but Dr. Jolene Brighten offers a guide here…

      Take care!

  20. Hi, i just read this article regarding PCOS. I’ve been diagnose with PCOS when i was 27 years old. I have been on taking diane pills to cure and regulate my menstraul cycle.

    I am now 32 years old and i stopped on taking diane pills since i was 30. i still suffering the symtoms of PCOS and not concieving to be pregnant. I been 3 years married, and we are hoping to have a baby. How can i purchase the VITEX to cure my PCOS since i was leaving here in our country Philippines.

  21. Hi,
    I was wondered how long can I use Vitex and myoinostol? I have PCOS and dysmenorea and I quit pills in August 2017. I started to take vitex capsules 500mg in September and inositol in October. I restored ovulation in December 2017. I still take it, because my period is still irregular but last 3 months was getting shorter ( around 35 days). I´m not sure if it is right to continue using these suplements. Thanks for your answer!

    • Dear Veronika,

      This is outstanding to hear!

      Vitex and myo-inositl can be take long term. In general it is at around one year of use that we suggest weaning off of Vitex to see how the body maintains balance on its own (if you have repeatedly seen regularity).

  22. Hi,

    I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS when i was only 14 y/o. I have been on bc pill since 2014.

    I am now 24 and have stopped on taking bc pills since January 2018. I got my period in Februray, then that’s it. It’s been 65 dyas since my last period.

    I first started taking Vitex 14 April 2018 (Nature’s Way brand, 3 x 400mg capsules in a day). I took an ovulation test on 21st April (1 week after taking Vitex) and the ovu test came out to be strongly positive.

    When can i expect my period to come then? Is it ok to lower my dose to 2 or even 1 capsule a day once i get on my period?

    Im in a long distance relationship and my partner will be home in July-August. Been TTC since January. 🙂

    • Dear Sue,

      Vitex is best taken consistently over time. In general we suggest at minimum three months (often longer), while also following a PCOS Fertility Diet and making additional lifestyle changes.

      I can not know when your period will come as it takes the body time to both detoxify from long-term birth control use and return to balance with PCOS. It’s going to be best to stay consistent with your healthy whole food diet, daily exercise and supplement program, including Vitex.

  23. hi Elizabeth
    how many drops of liquid extract in 200mg..? i was told that 200mg is a safe dose for Vitex
    thank you

    • Dear EliB,

      200mg is a low dose for Vitex. May I know who told you this? General suggested use is often 900-1000mg daily. 60 drops of FertilicaTM Vitex Liquid Extract is equivalent to roughly 1000mg of Vitex.

  24. Hi im Hazel, i would like to ask if it is safe to take royal jelly vitex and milk thistle at the same time?
    When do i start taking Vitex ? i havent had my period yet for the month of April.

    • Hello Hazel!

      Royal Jelly, Vitex and Milk Thistle can be taken together. This is fine!

      In the absence of pregnancy, Vitex can be started at any time. Suggested use is that is be taken all cycle long without taking a break.

  25. HI I am 40 years old. I have three children 16,12 and 1 years old. Between my 16 and 12 year olds I suffered 2 miscarriages. For my last two pregnancies I had to take progesterone supplements up till week 20 because of low progesterone levels and frequent spotting. I began vitex last month on the day after my period. Tomorrow would be period day but I got a positive pregnancy result this morning. Doctors wont see pregnant patients till 8 weeks. My question is should I continue vitex until I get to see the doctor? I really don’t want my levels to drop dramatically and cause a miscarriage.

    • Dear Danielle,

      Congratulations! I am wondering if they would want to see you sooner given your history of miscarriage and need for progesterone supplementation in your last pregnancy. If it were me, I would ask this and try to get in, or contact a midwife near you.

      With having a history of recurrent miscarriage, it is especially important to seek guidance for weaning off of herbs. That said, Vitex can be continued into early pregnancy. With past miscarriages, it has been shown that continuing Vitex until at least 2 weeks past the last weeks’ gestation of the previous miscarriage (if the previous miscarriage occurred at 8 weeks, continue the formula until at least 10 weeks).

      I hope you can find someone near you to work with and guide you.

      Again, Congratulations!

  26. I suffer from pcos haven’t had a period in 2 1/2 months and ttc. I was wondering how many mg of vitex should I take. Should I take it with ovasitol to increase my chances?

  27. Hi,
    Im 35 years old and been diagnosed with Adenomyosis. Me and my husband is been trying to have a baby for years now. I’ve been using Nature’s Answer Vitex (Agnus-Castus) Chastetree Berry Single Herb 40 mg capsules for weeks now. As what I have read, recommended daily dose is 900-1,000mg a day but this certain brand is only 40mg as per bottle indicates. I just want to ask how many capsule do I have to take? Please help.

  28. hi i am almost 33 and seem to not be getting pregnant, been trying for two years now i had one depo shot once in 2016 and gyno claims i have fribriods another said adyomayosis however those words are spelt. what i want to know is can i take vitrex and it will get me pregnant, i have regular periods but no luck, i am worried maybe i am barren. thanks for any feed back

    • Dear Anitte,

      While Vitex is work learning more about, it is not likely all you will need to consider in order to increase chances of conception. It would help to know whether you have uterine fibroids or adenomyosis. Either way, Improving Uterine Health for Fertility, Conception and Implantation is very important.

      It will also help to learn when you ovulate each cycle. With a regular cycle, ovulation should happen 12-14 days after the first day of the cycle, the first day of a period. Here is A Comprehensive Guide Explaining Ovulation Tracking Tools to help you learn more.

      I would not worry about being barren before age 33, rather focus on positive thinking, healing the uterus and learning when you ovulate each cycle so you can be actively trying to conceive just before and on that day.

      I hope this is helpful!

  29. Hi!
    I was diagnosed with hypo thyroid(hashi) and PCOS 4 years back. I am 28. I have been taking synthroid since 4 years. My TSH levels are always normal but recent anti bodies levels were 836. I went gluten and soy free since a year. My periods are irregular too. I have been wanting to try vitex but is it okay to combine synthroid with vitex? and if yes what would be the best time to take vitex? I have been following this site and its really helpful! Thanks!

  30. Hello,
    I am 41 years old and I’ve been trying to get pregnant for the past 4 years. I was recently diagnosis with fibroid with sometimes painful menstruation and since 2 months ago, I’ve been experiencing heavy bleeding. I have tried weight loss from 83kg to 65kg now, and I am also taking some herbal capsule like Raspberry Ketones, Milk thistle, Dandelion, and B-Complex. I want to add vitex starting tomorrow to the list. Is it okay to add vitex or should I stop the other ones and just continue with vitex and B-complex? Thank you

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