Both extensive clinical studies, as well as over two thousand years of use in folk medicine, have proven the effectiveness of this remedy. It works by stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland, which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body.
In a normal menstrual cycle estrogen is higher before ovulation and progesterone is higher after. Many women don't realize that an imbalance of these hormones can lead to the entire range of symptoms associated with PMS and menopause! Vitex usually has the effect of enhancing progesterone and decreasing estrogen levels.
Vitex itself has none of the hormonal building blocks that many of the medicinal plants used for the reproductive system contain. Instead, this herb nourishes and supports the endocrine system to find its own balance. David Hoffman, a well-known herbalist, says "Vitex will always enable what is appropriate to occur."
Almost all of symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle can be treated with this plant. It is the single best herb for treating the many possible symptoms of PMS: cramps, flooding, headaches, depression, water retention, constipation, acne, breast tenderness, and irritability. It can help normalize irregular or scanty periods.
It is especially helpful for women who are coming off the birth control pill. For many women, cycles remain irregular for up to two years after stopping the pill. Vitex can greatly shorten that time and helps ease the body into regaining its own natural rhythm.
It is a wonderful tonic to enhance the chances of conception through its ability to regulate ovulation and if taken through the first trimester, vitex will reduce the chances of miscarriage. After the birth, it helps a new mother to produce plenty of milk.
Vitex also offers many benefits to women who are menopausal. It helps to relieve many of the uncomfortable symptoms of this transition time, including hot flashes, irregular cycles, depression, and flooding. Vitex is also an indispensable remedy for women with uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, or endometriosis. All of these conditions proliferate under the influence of estrogen and shrink under the influence of progesterone.