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Vitex: The Women’s Herb

vitex-agnus.pngVitex Agnus-Castus, also known as chaste berry, is the fruit of chaste tree. The plant is native to the Mediterranean Region and widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical areas. Contrary to what the name implies, the plant is actually a shrub which features blue and violet flowers.

Vitex Agnus-Castus extracts has been used for over two thousand years in folk medicine for a variety of medicinal purposes. Today, it is known as “the women’s herb” and used to help menstrual cycle irregularities, premenstrual symptoms (PMS), and menopause.

In a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen level is higher before ovulation and progesterone level is higher after. The imbalance of these hormones can lead to a wide range of symptoms associated with PMS and menopause. Vitex works by stimulating the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the body to increase meno-ease.pngthe progesterone level while decreasing the estrogen level.

Both men and women begin to produce less progesterone as they age; it is this progesterone deficiency that causes many menopausal symptoms and produces a number of health issues in both genders. For women in particular, the body will become more estrogen-dominant, causing hot flashes, irregular cycles, depression, mood swings, and flooding. Medical conditions such as uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, and endometriosis also proliferates under the estrogen-dominance and shrinks under the influence of progesterone.

In addition, almost all of symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle can be treated with this plant. It is the single best herb for treating many PMS symptoms such as cramps, headaches, water retention, constipation, acne, breast tenderness, and irritability. It is especially helpful for women who are coming off the birth control pill. For many women, the menstrual cycle remains irregular for up to two years after stopping the pill. Vitex can help regulate the balance of estrogen and progesterone level and ease the body into regaining its own natural rhythm.

In the thousands of years that it has been in use, Vitex has proven itself to be a safe and effective remedy for women of all ages.