I use Vitex as a supreme hormonal tonic for women. 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.
This plant may be taken in tea form, although I prefer
the tincture (alcohol extract). The dosage of is usually 30-50 drops,
three times per day. Like all herbs, Vitex works best when combined
with a lifestyle that includes pure water, whole food, gentle exercise,
and plenty of self-love. Although you won't find it in the wild, Vitex
is easy to grow in our bioregion. Just remember to leave it plenty of
space, since it can get up to seventeen feet tall!
Vitex is a slow-acting herb. I usually recommend allowing
three full cycles for the plant to really work its magic, and many women
take it for up to several years. In the thousands of years that it has
been in use, there are no reports of even the mildest side effects.
Vitex is a safe, gentle, and effective remedy, with something to offer
women in every cycle of life.
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