Vitex is one of those ancient herbs that earn its reputation for possessing a rather folkloric past, stories of which could make for a fascinating night beside a campfire. Once upon a time, Vitex was a staple part of Roman Medicine, and was administered largely and specifically to women in the empire. Vitex was considered to exhibit properties that worked effectively to curb sexual desires. So when roman women found their men abroad for a variety of reasons, with war being the most common culprit, they covered their couches with Vitex’s aromatic leaves to serve this very purpose. Thanks to the practice, Vitex was aptly titled the ‘Chaste Berry Tree’.
Now, how much of the above story rings true, is up for debate. However, the fact that Vitex is an exceptionally beneficial ally for women, especially of reproductive age, is undeniable. Throughout its use in history, Vitex has displayed a wide variety of proclivities with regards to tackling issues exclusive to women who’ve reached maturity. Traditionally, Vitex was widely used in European medicine as a remedy to control and regulate the female reproductive system. It helped manage conditions like Dysmenorrhea, and amenorrhea, find respite from menopausal problems, regulate monthly periods and ease the birth process.
Ayurveda specifically prescribes and recommends remedies with Vitex as a key ingredient to tackle a wide variety of health conditions, most of which pertain to complications women may face during periods. In this article, we will be looking at all of the various health conditions Vitex helps tackle and let you in on how you too can incorporate Vitex or Nirgundi in your daily lives. So without much further ado, let’s get started.
Health Benefits of Vitex
We’ve already mentioned how Vitex possesses a long history of essentially being a folk remedy for a wide range of female conditions. Apart from being primarily known as a libido suppressor, Vitex was also found to influence hormone levels in a number of ways.
Fortunately, most of Vitex’s health benefits are now backed by concrete scientific studies. We will be looking at some of these benefits below.
1 – Premenstrual Syndrome
If recent studies are to be believed, than despite some limitations, Vitex can in fact be beneficial for the management of premenstrual syndrome. In a study published by Advances in Therapy in 2014, it was discovered that taking Vitex at least once daily for three consecutive menstrual cycles helped alleviate the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome in Women. The study involved 60 women, aged between 18 and 44 years old.
Symptoms like bloating, irritation, skin issues, and headaches were all bought under control with the above prescribed remedial procedure. Although, more long scale trials need to be conducted on this specific issue, the results however are undoubtedly promising.
2 – Infertility
In a study published by Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2006, a group of 96 women, who had struggled with conceiving, were studied for a period of 6 to 36 months. 90 % of these women were given a Vitex containing supplement, whereas the rest were given placebo.
At the end of the study, 26% percent of the women who were given the Vitex containing supplement had become pregnant, thus showing incredible promise in increasing fertility in women. The supplement administered was a blend of Vitex, green tea, L-arginine, minerals and vitamins.
3 – Decreases Breast Tenderness.
Most women experience sore breasts during their period. As breast tenderness is usually a direct result of increased prolactin levels in the body, Vitex by regulating the production of prolactin, helps decrease the tenderness of breasts and provide comfort in such situations.
4 – Dealing with Migraines
Migraines are a typical occurrence for many women right around their periods. As such, Vitex can be the best herb to take in order to find relief from this debilitating headache. In a study conducted by Italian researchers, it was found that women, who took 40mg of Vitex daily, experienced fewer migraine attacks than women who didn’t have Vitex at all.
5 – Help Alleviate Symptoms of Hyperprolactinemia
Too much prolactin production in the body can lead to a condition known as hyperprolactinemia. The condition can be identified with symptoms like irregular periods, breast leakage, vaginal dryness and issues with pregnancy.
Although we highly advise seeking an expert Ayurvedic practitioners help, Vitex can be administered on your doctor’s approval to regulate prolactin levels, and thus help alleviate the symptoms associated with hyperprolactinemia.
6 – Coping with PMS Symptoms
The experience of being on periods can vary among different women. Some may experience mild discomfort, while others will find it excruciatingly difficult to function with PMS. Fortunately, Vitex has long been prescribed by Ayurveda to help women find respite in situations where PMS symptoms become unfathomable. Vitex can help with symptoms like Headache, back pain, anger, cramps and moodiness if taken regularly.
Side Effects of Vitex
Over consumption of Vitex can trigger a number of side effects, which can be both serious and mild in nature. Common side effects like hair fall, dry mouth, itching, skin rash, nausea, rapid heartbeat and bleeding between menstrual periods can all be a direct side-effect of taking Vitex.
As Vitex influences hormone levels in the body, it should be avoided by individuals that are afflicted by conditions like Parkinson’s or Schizophrenia. We strongly recommend consulting an Ayurvedic Practitioner before incorporating Vitex in your daily life.
The Bottom Line
Vitex today is mostly available in capsule form across health markets around the globe. One should consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner before taking the decision to make Vitex a crucial part of your daily life. However, Vitex has indeed provided respite to countless ailing women in a number of discomforting situations.
From migraines, to infertility, Vitex can help tackle a variety of health conditions plaguing women of reproductive age today. Although there are still large scale clinical trials to give a concrete credibility to its many abilities, the initial studies and Ayurveda’s own literature documenting Vitex’s several nurturing benefits heralds a promising future for this precious herb.
Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.