PMS, Meet Vitex
Vitex Berries are also known as chasteberry, monk’s pepper or its formal species name, vitex agnus-castus; has been traditionally used in the Mediterranean area since ancient times. The plants’ extract, in powdered or tincture form, has been used traditionally to treat infertility in women, reproductive disorders and on the opposite end of the spectrum, by celibate monks to reduce their libido. In fact, Vitex Berries seem to have numerous attributes such as antimutagenic (prevention of Mutagen-DNA reaction.), antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiepileptic and several other characteristics that may have potential to treat various other conditions (Farzaei, Niroumand, & Heydarpour, 2018). Remarkably, Vitex Berries have proven successful in treating symptoms of PMS, menopause and heavy menstrual periods in women (2019).
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome is a condition that arises for some women in the latter phase of the menstrual cycle when the body is readying itself to shed the uterine lining as a menstrual period. PMS can be a challenging time for women who suffer from it, and can include painful cramping, tender breasts, fluid retention, bowel habit changes, mood swings and emotional upset, depression and food cravings. Sound familiar? These symptoms can be helped with using pain relievers, antidepressants, and regular exercise supported by a healthy diet. As referenced, Vitex Berries have established efficacy to help with this condition as well. These Berries seem to reduce prolactin levels (Rafieian-Kopaei & Movahedi, 2017) that are believed to contribute to some of these symptoms such as the emotional agitations, constipation and breast tenderness associated with PMS (Farzaei, Niroumand, & Heydarpour, 2018). Notably throughout recent years, the effects of Vitex Berries have become more prevalent and mainstream (2020) & (2016).
The Vitex Berry is complimentary to hormones. Progesterone is a main female sex hormone next to estrogen. Women traditionally maintain low levels of progesterone that seem to fluctuate causing acne breakouts. The properties of the Vitex Berry are elegantly complex, essentially the Vitex Berry regulates progesterone levels; if levels are low, Vitex will encourage production, if levels are high, Vitex remains dormant.
Heavy Menstrual Periods
Heavy periods or menorrhagia can be caused by childbirth, IUD contraception, fibroids, hormonal issues and other etiologies (Medscape. 2020). Vitex Berries, as was previously stated, have effects on prolactin levels that affect the breasts, but also help to rebalance the levels of estrogen and progesterone which have shown some level of usefulness. Evidence shoes that Vitex Berry consumption can help regulate menstrual bleeding and attenuate heavy bleeding after several months of use (Farzaei, Niroumand, & Heydarpour, 2018) & (2019); further developments and declarations continue to manifest definitively qualifying Vitex Berries this purpose (2020) & (2016).
Menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life in which hormone levels drop and the period of fertility ceases. It is characterized by vaginal atrophy and reduction of lubrication, hot flashes, mood swings, menstrual irregularities (perimenopause), loss of sleep and an increased risk for some chronic diseases. Various studies advocate that Vitex Berries aid in alleviating mood swings, hot flashes, bone mineralization and sleep loss (Farzaei, Niroumand, & Heydarpour, 2018). Detailed research and enhanced education continues in developing these benefits (2016).
Chasteberry, the fruit of the chaste tree or Vitex agnus castus, has long been used as a treatment for a range of reproductive problems, including premenstrual symptoms or PMS.
Healthy hormone levels are necessary for a woman’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Vitex Berries have long been used to support hormone production and balance. This amazing berry contains iridoids, flavonoids, progestins and essential oils, a combination that can help control menstrual cycles and ease menstrual pain, certain endocrine problems and some recent studies have indicated the vitex berry as a key addition to any acne reduction regime; a truly natural supplement for women which promotes a healthy mind and body throughout the menstrual cycle and during the transition into menopause.
Chaste Tree (Chasteberry). (2020). Retrieved from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=ChasteTree
Chasteberry. (2016, September). Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/chasteberry
Farzaei, M., Niroumand, M., & Heydarpour, F. (2018). Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of Vitex agnus-castus L.: A review. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 12(23), 103. doi: 10.4103/phrev.phrev_22_17
Indication-specific dosing for (chasteberry), frequency-based adverse effects, comprehensive interactions, contraindications, pregnancy & lactation schedules, and cost information. (2019, September 28). Retrieved from https://reference.medscape.com/drug/agnolyt-agnus-castus-chasteberry-344510#5
Menorrhagia. (2020, March 22). Retrieved from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/255540-overview#a9
Premenstrual Syndrome Medication: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, Pituitary-ovarian axis suppressants, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), COX-2 Inhibitors, Diuretics, Antidepressants, Antianxiety agents, Nutritional supplements, Contraceptive, Oral. (2019, November 10). Retrieved from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/953696-medication#9
Rafieian-Kopaei, M., & Movahedi, M. (2017, January 25). Systematic Review of Premenstrual, Postmenstrual and Infertility Disorders of Vitex Agnus Castus. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308513/