Vitex The Traditional Balancing Herb for Women
Thursday, September 23rd 2004
What about Vitex (Chaste Tree)?
Vitex provides reliable relief for symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other irregularities associated with the menstrual cycle. Numerous clinical studies also indicate its positive effects for infertility and the absence of menstruation. Vitex has a balancing effect on the hormones and is particularly helpful for increasing progesterone.
How Vitex works
Vitex does not supply a hormone substance but influences the production of luteinising hormone (LH), by stimulating the pituitary. LH is essential for the creation of the corpus luteum in the ovaries. The corpus luteum then produces progesterone. When enough progesterone is produced, it slows the pituitary influence and a balance is achieved. If LH is limited because of pituitary imbalance, estrogen continues to be the predominant female hormone during the second phase. This condition, known as "luteal phase defect" leads to symptoms of PMS including cramping, breast tenderness and mood swings. What appears to be an excess of estrogen is actually a lack of progesterone. Vitex brings balance to the system by affecting progesterone production and is best taken on a daily basis until the system is balanced.
An imbalance of progesterone during the second phase of the cycle can cause depression, lethargy, spontaneous abortion and other menstrual problems.
Two surveys on 1542 women aged 13 to 62 with a diagnoses of premenstrual syndrome were given Vitex for 5 months. Physicians rated the treatment as very good or good 92% of the time. Improvements were reported by 57% while another 33% had complete symptom relief. These results have been verified in other studies of PMS sufferers. Another benefit for women taking Vitex for PMS has been reduced cyclical breast pain, a result of the rise in progesterone levels.
A six month study of 15 patients given Vitex who were suffering from secondary amenorrhea (absence of periods) showed onset of cycle with menstruation in 10 of the patients. Hormone values showed increased values for progesterone and LH.
Vitex has also made a significant impact in the treatment of infertility - particularly those cases with established luteal phase defect and hyperprolactinemia. In one study 48 women diagnosed with infertility were given Vitex for three months. During the trial seven women became pregnant and in 25, progesterone levels were restored to normal.
Reproduced unabridged from the July - September 2004 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health:
The following products are all useful for hormonal balancing:
Black Cohosh Standardised
Ginseng 5 Exhaustion Relief
Herbal Y Extreme for Men
Meno-Life 24 Hour Menopause Support
Super B Daily Stress +
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Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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