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Vitex not for PMS.

Botanical name: 

Magnesium citrate, B6 and Zinc are better than Vitex in PMS.

So OK, we've all been taught that vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) helps the progesterone part of the cycle.

However, vitex really isn't all that good an idea. Paul Bergner has been diving into the science of it, and posted on the herblist:

Henriette wrote:
> Paul Bergner has looked into this: "Magnesium citrate 600 mg, B6 (in a complex of 25-50 per B vitamin) and Zn (40 mg/day) for 6-12 weeks may help." - if you want to butt in here, Paul, please do.

Vitex probably affects the hormones by stimulating dopamine in the hypothalamus. This in turn suppresses prolactin and favors progesterone. That's the best we know from science, though there may be more to come. So the question is why is somebody dopamine deficient in the first place. The following are all required for dopamine manufacture:

Magnesium, B-6, Zinc, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, and iron. In our clinic we have repeatedly corrected hormonal imbalances with such a fundamental dietary and supplement program, within 2 cycles, and this also helped with addictions, which may also be related to low dopamine.

And, BTW, chocolate and orange juice are also dopaminergic, so by all means include that in your program. A 1-ounce dose of dark chocolate affects dopamine.

Taking vitex so solve the problem makes as much sense as taking caffeine to cure fatigue. It will worsen the underlying problem while masking it.

I had a student with bleeding around ovulation who had followed an herbalists advice to take vitex for the problem. She ended up within two cycles bleeding for 28 days straight. Many other cases reported of vitex disrupting the cycle and making matters worse or at least making them strange and unusual.

Favoring progesterone, vitex can also lead to the common side effect of progesterone -- depression. I had two cases of women with premenstrual depression who took vitex and the depression worsened severely enough for one of them to seriously contemplate suicide and the other to go on antidepressant drugs. Neither related it to the vitex, but on removal in the case of the suicidal woman, the suicidal ideation went away. This is not a wise woman herb.

Gotta love this stuff. Thanks Paul!

Hmmm, addictions. Wonder if that's why Vitex has been so good for the "gimme (whatever), gotta have it now!" shakes? Drop doses as needed work wonders; of course, for addicts who are trying to drop their habit I've also included loads of supplements, including the ones Paul outlined above, so while they took the Vitex for the immediate symptom they also helped the cause of that symptom - the deeper deficiency.



I have been taking Vitex, 225 mg, .4% agnusides in capsule form for about 6 months. I began to take it because I had a problem with constant spotting and no definable period. I believe my condition was caused by the combined effects of depo provera (synthetic progesterone injectable birth control), an SSRI I had been on for post partum depression and stress. Before the spotting, I had been without a period since the birth of my daughter 2 years earlier. I breastfed her for 18 months. I have been off the depo for 2 years and weaned off the antidepressant 6 months ago.

First, let me say that I would highly reccomend a natural approach to depression instead of the SSRI. I am glad I did something when I needed to, it was better for my children and my family to have me present and functioning. I now use a combination of 5-htp and sam-e, along with B vitamins.

That being said, this vitex product has completely turned my menstrual woes around. I believe the stress and disrepair my body had undergone with the pharmaceuticals could only respond to this highly effective herb. Consider that there may be a place for this herb as a very powerful healer for severely stressed pituitary function.

I totally agree with you about the Depo Provera. I believe your rpoblems may be caused by the depo injection alone, as I had the same problem. I took a total of 2 depo injections, which lasted 6 months, this was when I was 18. I took it because my doctor recommened it because I worked shift work at the time ,and often forgot to take my pill at the same time each day. When I was taking depo I didn't have a period. For 2 doses that should last 6 months, I must say 4 years later I still was not having a cycle. After 12 months, another doctor, put my on the pill to try and kick start my cycles again, and it worked, as long as I was taking the pill, for after 12 months of taking the pill and wanting to have children with my husband I stopped. A year or two later, still nothing. I wen to a nautropath who put me onto vitex. Two drops two times a day, and it was back! 8 months of regular cycles and I became pregnant. I I personally think that Vitex is excellent for women who have a history of cycles messed up by birth control, especially if they are having difficulty getting pregnant! Stuff tastes like crap thought! LOL!

ok, so if the real cause of high prolactin and progersterone deficiency is low dopamine....what is the cause of low dopamine? Lets get to the source!

I have been told to use bromocryptine to lower prolactin (I don't use pharmicuticals)
I have been told to take progesterone cream to increase progesterone, armour thyroid to raise thyroid levels and I was told to take vitex for all of it!

Basically it sounds to me that no one knows what is going on...I have progesterone levels of: .07 estrogen of: .75 and prolactin is at: 33

It sounds to me that you are on to something with the dopamine theory. what would cause dopamine deficiency? How can it be treated? and could a low dopmaine account for all the other things?

any kind of answer woudl be appreciated!!!

Thank you!

Like Paul says: "The following are all required for dopamine manufacture: Magnesium, B-6, Zinc, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, and iron."

A western lifestyle with lots of stress (depletes nutrients) and overt or covert syndrome x (hyperinsulinemia depletes nutrients) will lead to lots of hormonal trouble. Hyperinsulinemia (syndrome x) is the cause of most diagnosed low thyroids.

Read the hyperinsulinemia posts on this blog and change your lifestyle: add missing nutrients, ditch the simple carbs, and exercise.

I have been unsuccessful at getting pregnant. I have had several tests but nothing seems to be wrong with me. My husband and I think that it is because we have had a couple of very stressful years. Wanting a baby has only added to the stress. My cycle fluctuates and since this makes it difficult to determine when to have intercourse I started on Vitex 400 mg twice a day (a GNC herbal supplement) this past month. I usually do get very irritable and have the classic symptoms of PMS. I was quite bloated (the usual) but I was not as depressed and irritable. However, my period changed. It usually lasts five days (two of intense, heavy and painful bleeding, one moderate and two mild days of spotting). This month I had about a day and a half of moderate bleeding, not painful at all, and a day of spotting. I am concerned about this and am unsure if I should continue with vitex. If anybody has any thoughts to share on this change in my period, it would be very helpful. From what I read at the beginning I am not the only one who has had strange things like this happen.

My nautropath told me once, that vitex is to be taken for the two weeks of your cycle starting with the first day of your period to the approximate day of ovulation. You should not be using it constantly without this gap, otherwise it will effect your cycles. This herb effects progesterone levels, as well as other things, and is appropriate only for the luteal phase of your period. ( the first two weeks). I don't recommend anyone take herbal medicines for specific disorders without consulting a qualified herbalist or naturopath. Because of the FDA, herbal medicines must be labeled as dietary supplements with a safe dosage limit clearly marked. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are supplements, Vitex is a very strong herbal medicine. When you have actual health issues and you start using medicines, you need to know correct dosages etc. It's like having an infection and taking a handle of antibiotics and hoping it works, there are specific doses for specific disorders. I fully recommend you talk to a professional, especially if your normal cycles have changed to abnormal. Vitex may be very beneficial to you and with an adjusted dose, your side effects should go away. Vitex in tincture form is also a better way to take it.

The first phase of the cycle is the follicular phase. The second phase is the luteal phase. You've got it all wrosng.

i have been taking vitex for almost a month now and am due to start my first period on vitex on the i have for the past 6+ months before taking vitex. it's the 7th and i'm bloated, have had a nearly recurring headache for three weeks now, cramping more than normal for a first day of the cycle type of pain...only 6 days from the cycle start date, and my sex drive over the past month has nearly disappeared, which is NOT good for me or my partner. i am throwing the vitex away!!

I have been reading this blog on Vitex and I have been considering starting it myself so I wanted an opinion from you please. I have the oposite problem I run a zero prolactin and therefore like a .03 on projesterone. I have been tested for a pituatary tumor and thyroid to no avail. With out birthcontrol or perscription stimulation I suffer from amenorrhea (lack of menstral cycles). I have not taken any meds (other than my anti-depressants) and have not menstrated sence June 6. The only hope that fertility specialists are giving me is to have IVF (in vetro fertilization)if I wish to conceive and continue to take birtch control pills to regulate my cycle inbetween. I have taken a break from professional help for the last few years and am looking for other means. Please keep in mind that the doctors say this issue is agitated from my obesity as I am about 90lbs overweight.

my wife has been taken vitex for a week, i seen this website, she going to ditch the vitex, and take magnesium citrate, but should she still take chromium? and saw plamento? she has pcos and had a failed ivf in may, and got her thing, in june only.thank you

If she has PCOS you (and she) should read the syndrome x posts of this blog.

I'm really confused. Every website I have looked at has said that Vitex is this magical herb that cures PMS and will allow your hormones to level themselves out according to whats best for your body- and yet I find myself feeling as if though something is wrong. I asked someone about this and they said that it can seem like the herb is having adverse effects but really its the leveling out of the hormones that your body has to adjust to. I've been taking it for several months now, my sex drive has disappeared, I'm constantly moody, I've become bizzarely paranoid, and my cycle which has been regular enough to base a calendar off of has changed. I think Im going to stop. I am just so confused as to how its possible so many sites say nothing can happen, when yours seems to say really awful things can happen. Judging from my own body I do feel as if though what you are writing is true, it just freaks me out that so many other people push this herb. I had a really bad experience recently with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) recently and again, looking online you're lead to believe that there is absolutely no chance of an adverse reaction. I felt like Vitex did help me in the first month, but maybe it wasn't even the Vitex kicking in yet- I also changed my diet and was exercising more. So many things effect our bodies, and like you said, if we just start taking something blindly we might not even realize the damage its doing beneath the surface untill it gets to a point where we can't pinpoint it anymore.

The effect of Vitex is dose dependent. Taking too little or too much can have adverse effects. Vitex is also not recommended for those with normal regular periods. Despite this, there are many studies supporting its use for pms in women with normal cycles.

You should review clinical studies on vitex and supplements with vitex as a major compound. Vitex has been studied in Europe extensively. Look for studies of Agnolyt (vitex trade name). You might want to start with this link.

I'd also suggest you read literature on FertilityBlend, which uses vitex as a component.

You can also read plenty of customer reviews of vitex on, the GNC website, and many other websites that sell supplements. Again, everyone is different. Dosage is important. You also need to consider the underlying causes of your PMS to gauge whether vitex is the appropriate approach for you.

I'm not a doctor, so you cannot depend on my advice. These are mere suggestions for you to consider.

Good luck!

Vitex raises the progesterone which you couldn't produce because you were low on essential minerals ... by raiding your reserves of said minerals. Once those reserves are gone, you crash. Badly.

In addition, too much progesterone in itself will cause depression.

The important lesson to take away from this one is, don't remove your symptoms unless you know their cause - and, once you know the cause (missing nutrients), address that (= take your magnesium, chromium, zinc, B6, E, fish oil etc.).

Or, if you have to take the magic herb which will remove all your ouchies, also take the nutrients which the magic herb depletes.

As to why nobody talks about vitex bringing on depression etc., that's because not very many people dive into the physiology of herbs - and while some (like Paul Bergner) do, not very many people have the time to stay on top of things.
Paul Bergner is of course exceptional, but who knows that, if you don't count us practising herbalists? (... we take pains to follow what he's doing, because it's very often very relevant to what we do.)

So you'll continue to see books and articles which will gush on about the way vitex works for PMS ... for decades to come.

Very interesting about Vitex agnus castus. who is Paul Bergner? He seems to be offering very sound advice! Am considering trying the other remedy for pms (nutrients), my concern is overloading my system with too many supplements (strain on the liver etc?). I know it is best to get them in the diet, though it can be difficult to get enough. What is the best solution?
many thanks,

Dunno, why not ask a nutritionist close to you?

This is very confusing. I have been given Vitex to help with mild pms. The instructions I got from my naturopathic physician was to take the tincture twice a day starting 14 days after my first day of menstruation and then I am to stop when I begin to menstruate.

After taking this tincture for a third cycle, I have begun to feel depressed, almost like an acute pms, but I feel like this on days when I am not premenstrual. For example, today I am almost in tears, can hardly leave the house, as though I'm having the worst pms of my life. However, my period is not due for more than two weeks. So this is not pms. I'm starting to worry that the vitex is making me depressed.

After reading all the comments i just had to write one of my own! I have been trying to concieve for over a year and after charting found i had a short Luteal phase which meant i could never sustain a pregnancy! I heard about vitex and thought i would try it!
Well the 1st cycle it made matters worse i had an even shorter Luteal Phase and a very very painful period but i stuck with it as was told it could take up to 3 months for it to be beneficial! As i was charting i could see each month becoming better and low and behold on the 4th month of taking Vitex i am pregnant!!! So i have nothing bad to say about it and i would take it again!

Again: vitex masks your mineral deficiencies. DO THOSE. You'll absolutely HAVE to add the missing nutrients if you do vitex, or you'll crash (badly) later.

I've been taking Vitex 500mg capsule daily for 6 months. Was just ending a year taking seasonale to only get my period 4x a year (that backfired on me). The reason I began not wanting my period was due to irregular, heavy, cramping, and raging pms.
So far, Vitex has been a wonder herb for me. My periods are right on time lasting 3-4 days and not annoyingly heavy, the cramping used to begin a week before - now they only occur the first 2 days of bleeding, and the pms is not too noticable to myself and my family.
This is the only herb I take along with a multivitamin.
I understand that people need different things bacause our bodies are not all the same.
What symptoms do I need to look for in a "crash?" And what is an alternative to Vitex? Currently I'm on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" idea. Looking for more information just in case. btw, this is the only site I've found saying Vitex isn't so wonderful.

Update: Stopped taking Vitex. Last month I had the worst cramping ever - was catching myself holding my breath from the pain. And the fatigue and the headaches. Depression too. I think a crash?
Thanks for the information, Henriette.

That'd qualify as a crash, yes. Now please start doing the missing nutrients ...

All these years - I'm 40 now and FINALLY having my period isn't so lifestopping for me. I've been taking the recommended nutrients for 6 months. The cramping is still there, but nowhere near the way it was, the flow isn't as heavy, my cravings for sweets has seriously diminished, and the rage is gone. I am still a bit more impatient, but it's tolerable.
Thank you Henriette for passing on your knowledge to cyberspace.

I read somewhere, not all that long ago, that whenever you hear "cramps" you should think "magnesium". Sounds sound to me, provided you do the Bs, too, and fish oil, and ...

I just started taking vitex because i read that it can help me get pregnant . My husband and i have been trying fot almost a year.I have heard so many good things about Vitex.. now after reading this i am unsure. Should i stop taking it??

It depends, are you taking vitex as a supplement i.e. OTC? Or are you under the care of a alnertative health professional?

There are many different reasons for not being able to get pregnant, mine was because i wasn't ovulating, in fact my cycles had completely stopped for about 4 years. I wen to a naturopath, who put me on vitex, a measured dose, and locally made by the clinic, and within the first month of taking it, I start getting regular periods, after a few more months I was pregnant, when less then a year earlier, I was told that i would never have children, and I owe it to excellent care from my alternative health practitioner and vitex.

I didn't recommend anyone taking vitex without consulting a naturopath or qualified herbalist.

Good Luck

I am soooo happy that I found your site! I have been trying to getting pregnant and found a recipe on the internet that I have been faithful to for the last five months. I have been taking vitex for the first part of my cycle and natural progesterone cream for the second part. I cannot BELIEVE how tired and depressed it has made me, but whenever I searched the net for answers, it seemed like nobody else had these symptoms! I have stuck with it because I thought I was bieng too sensitive! I know that I have a short leuteal phase. Would it be safe to ditch the vitex and just supplement with pg cream after ovulation? Are there any side effects when you stop taking vitex abruptly? I don't want to mess up my cyle this month and waste another chance at getting pregnant...........

It's smarter to ditch the vitex and do the missing nutrients already.
The progesterone cream isn't all that much better than vitex - it's a bandaid, it won't address deeper causes.

(please forgive my flawed english) Within 3-4 months I had every single possible (hard to find out about!) adverse effect one could get by taking this crap. This weekend (after already having ditched vitex for 3 days) I thought I had to die - dizziness, fatigue, headache, edema, unable to move. Sorry, but I really GOT SICK. Thank god I finally found out about the reason for all my troubles (also can't wear my contact lenses any longer, my muscles are totally stiff and hurt so I quit exercising, I got acne and so on....!). But YEAH - my amenorrhoea stopped, big deal!

I have had secondary amenorrhea my entire life. It always seemed like a blessing having one or two periods a year up until my husband and I decided to have a baby. Then it wasn't so great. We were lucky in that his insurance through his work covered infertility, so I conceived my son via IUI in 2007. Fast forward a year and we have a glorious little boy, my husband has a new job that has crappy insurance, and we want another baby. So I do some online research and come across all of this data about how Vitex is a wonder drug and how it will regulate my cycles. So I start taking it. Within days of taking it I had my first severe crash. I cried for a whole day straight and thought my life was was worthless. This depression persisted and worsened over the following weeks. On week 2 after beginning Vitex, I began to have intrusive thoughts about harming my baby. I was convinced I was going crazy until I did online research and came to the conclusion I must have postpartum depression coupled with postpartum OCD. The week after that I got my period, only three months after I cycled last, which is unheard of for me. So this whole time I'm thinking Vitex is working and making me cycle, but that I'm dealing with the separate issue of PPD and PPOCD. Finally, the depression reached a point where I felt I needed to talk to a doctor. My doctor prescribed Lexapro and told me that it causes heart defects and that I MUST NOT try to conceive while on this medication. So I felt even MORE depressed because now I was being told to put my life plans on hold to treat this condition. And for some reason during this crash it occurred to me that my depression had started not long after I began the Vitex. So I did some targeted online research about Vitex and depression and lo and behold came across this page and many other pages with testimonials of women who had gone berserk while taking Vitex. So I know what my course of action will be. The Lexapro is going in the trash WITH THE VITEX! Hopefully things will improve soon. I will go into debt to get fertility treatments out of pocket if I need to. NOTHING is worth the hell I have been through the past two months.

It's cheaper to do the missing nutrients ... READ the blog article, and all the comments, read up on syndrome x and the supplements needed for that (also found on this blog), and do magnesium, the Bs, D, C, multivitamins, fish oil, and flavonoid-rich fruit.

Honest. MUCH easier and cheaper than fertility treatments, and you'll feel wonderful to boot.

Continue popping all of those pills throughout your pregnancy (the baby will pull off your dietary vitamins and minerals, you NEED extra), and throughout your breastfeeding (the baby will still pull your vitamins and minerals (except D) through the breastmilk ...). If you don't, you'll get the pregnancy blues, and/or post-partum depression ...

Vitex has helped me. It's about a week before my period and I got severly depressed today, also think I have other issues like adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalances. I took two 400mg vitex pills today and almost immediately the depression and complete exhaustion lifted, it was like a matter of minutes, it didn't take long. My cramps have been heavy and Very painful, stabbing pains near my anus. They are soo bad that at times I sit curled up and can't move because the pain is soo severe. I usually take Vitex in the later phase of my menstrual cycle because that's when progesterone is suppose to be highest, and it does help with my mood. Nothing except Ibuprofen helps with the cramps though, and if I miss a dose I'll regret it for the next couple of hours. I've tried and am still taking fish oil, I continue to take it for it's added benefits outside of period cramps. I also take a multi vitamin with b and c, and have tried minrerals and nothing seems to help.

Know that if you continue to ONLY take vitex, and NOT the missing nutrients, you'll get your problems back with a vengeance, a month or three down the line.

As to your trying minerals and taking multivitamin, you 1) have to take large enough doses, and 2) do them all at the same time - not Bs this week, minerals next.

Can you elaborate on the "missing nutrients" that we're all missing - how much, in what combination, how often?

I could care less about getting pregnant; I just want to stop bleeding during my luteal phase and have a normal period again. It starts about 14 days after my last period; lasts for 4 - 5. Then I get an 8-day period with flooding.
Me, I lactate abnormally, have heavy metal poisoning, chronic infections, bowel/absorption problems...
I've likely got thyroid and liver influences as well.
The period issues I've been having this year arose directly after I had a chelation challenge test to detect the presence of heavy metal poisoning. The bowel/absorption problems soon followed.
I'd also lost a certain amount of weight prior to the appearance of luteal phase bleeding.

The local naturpaths/homeopaths have done little for me over the years except take my money.
Extreme diet changes - exclusion diets, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fasting - haven't helped either.

Go for the full set of syndrome x nutrients, as outlined here.

OK, this article and comments are very interesting. I, too, had fallen under the Vitex spell until i JUST NOTICED what has been happening now that i am 49. when i was younger, the vitex did not have ill effects. i took it on and off over the years, as espoused by many women's herbal books. however, now, i am noticing that it causes bleeding - doesn't stop/regulate it. whatever is changing in my peri-menopausal body, the vitex is not helping anything. one thing it IS good for is starting your period if it seems stalled. however, once you start, STOP the godforsaken Vitex! you'll bleed forever. So here's the good part: i took it last month to start the stalled period, had a MONTH LONG period which just stopped a couple days ago (probably so long because I continued the Vitex). Since I had not made the connection yet, I just took some THIS MORNING thinking, oh, let me take my blessed Vitex. BAM! Period is back just 3 hours after taking it. I'm ditching the Vitex. Going to get MagCitrate, B6 (in a complex B), Zinc, and some C. I'm tired of walking around bleeding! Thank you for the wise words!

Glad you found this blog entry. Luck!

I agree with the writer above. Thank god I found her comment. I am post menopause. Began taking this Vitex 250 mg on July 18 2010 to assist in dissolving some fibroids or estrogen related spotting. By this month of October, the third month, it's effects are to CAUSE BLEEDING and a period that won't stop. Whatever it is doing, I have to stop taking it immediatley. I have had a period for 8 days and had to go out and get pads. Cramps and a bad headache as if I am twenty years old. Beware. The writer's comment you'' bleed forever is a bit disturbing but true in my case.. I have stopped and will see what happens. Thanks for post! Also it has perhaps over restored my reproductive body. Please, I do not wish a period.:)

Hi, just thought i'd add my experience with Vitex. I was wondering why i've been feeling so low, so negative, so unhappy for the last week. I though it was the Scorpio full moon and Mercury going retrograde. ;) Seriously. I thought it could have had something to do with taking Vitex for the last week, but my initial internet search didn't find anything except 'could cause headaches'. Which is has also! Today I have sworn at my 2 year old twice, which I never do (she's a pretty good kid!) and I have the tiniest amount of patience. I have been feeling so miserable, like life is awful and nothings ever going to get better. Usually I'm in love with life! Vitex has made me feel like im going mad. Im sure it has amazing benefits in the right circumstances, but it's a very potent herb. It should be advised to use with caution!

One more thing! I have been eating a hell of alot of chocolate, which I don't normally crave! I read here that that increases dopamine... I have been also thinking I want to smoke pot or take something, anything to make me feel somehow 'better'. Crazy!! I'm normally very healthy and have an aversion to mind altering things.

i just started taking VITEX today after i heard so many good thing of it. I have irregular periods and me and DH want to concieve.. I most defenitly try them for a couple months and see how it goes.... This is the only site i have read so many negative things about it...

You're not going to step out of the frying pan then? Just putting a band-aid on top of your blisters? Good for you ...

O.k. I am 47 years old. Since December my REGULAR cycles have become a nightmare! My problem was after ovulation my breast tissue was so swollen, my nipples actually changed color (like I am pregnant) - sorry so graphic, my water retention was horrible as well, upset stomach (very loose stools), ready to rip someone's head off, horribly tired, did not want to get outta bed in the morning. I would have these symptoms for at least 2 weeks post ovulation. Now I have been taking very good multivitamins (The Vitamin Shoppe), Fish Oil w/DHA, eat lots of fresh veggies, fruit, active for many, many months now (before my severe symptoms of PMS). Ok. here is the "exciting part". I get hold of Vitex (40 - 50 drops x3 - daily) for about 3 weeks. Started Vitex somewhere in my cycle - not sure. Was so excited to think some of my symptoms would be alleviated. Well, guess what? No more PMS because I am pretty sure I did not ovulate this month!@!!!!. Something that suppresses a natural bodily function cannot be good for us. I have stopped Vitex for nearly 2 weeks. Pretty sure I crashed around day 3! Personally, I would never touch another bottle of that stuff and am going to be very, very careful about any herbs that I take in the future as well. I am going all natural from no on and hopefully my cycle will return normally!

I have never heard anything bad about Vitex either, except on this site. I have only seen the statement of caution to stop using Vitex after you become pregnant. My friend with PCOS, who never had documented ovulation and failed years of fertility treatments, became pregnant after only using Vitex for 2 months. It does work for some ladies.

My experience with vitex is contrary to what most here are saying. I've had many successes with infertility, PMS, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, and more. I believe it may be a question of dose as I generally use 15-30 drops of tincture once per day, which is considerably less than the 500 mg several times per day suggested by some manufacturers. Of course I do the nutrients with most also so perhaps it's the combination? I love this herb and will continue to cure women's issues with it. I encourage those who want an opposing view to read up on this in Christopher Hobbs' book, "Vitex: The Women's Herb".

i was quite regular wrt monthly cycles and ovulation although my CM quality was not that great . I decided that while TTC , i should get on a good multivitamin that included vitex as this would hopefully help me increase the quality of the CM. I started taking fertilaid ( this contains prenatal vitamins plus vitex) and have been taking it now for 2 months, and while i have not suffered any depressions , i have to say that my ovulation has completely dissapeared altogether, and my usual regular cycles are all over the place, Now my periods are 23 days apart as opposed to 29 days and there is no ovulation happening, i know this because i have been using my clearblue monitor and checking my temperature to monitor for ovulation signs. I am tempted to get off vitex as i believe its the main reason for the irregularities! but a friend has advised that it is best to stick it through for another 3 months by which time the vitex would stabilise and these irregularities would hopefully stop! i am so confused on what i should do... do i continue taking vitex for another couple of months with the hope that things would stabilise eventually or do i just get off it now ( as i would like to conceive for a second child very soon in the next couple of months ideally) and just stick to a good old fashioned multivitamin. What should i do then to improve my CM quality?

I have had nothing but good experience with Vitex. It has helped my mood tremendously.
I think the idea behind herbs and herbal treatment is the same as with any other form of therapy or treatment- regardless of what format it is in. Antibiotics that make my strep go away like magic can kill the next girl. Simple massage therapy may make you feel great but gives me mad panic attacks. You get my drift. The idea is to educate yourself, take quality care of yourself, eat well, and work with someone you know and trust. In person and regularly. Then, find what works for you and honestly and openly discuss your experience without nastiness and name calling.

I have to write this because I think people deserve to know stories like these.

To improve my fertility I was put on a herbal mix by Famous Naturopath in Sydney Australia which included Vitex, even though I told naturopath that I had reacted badly with recurrent bleeding to vitex a year earlier. Anyway, while on this formula, for the first time in my life at the age of 38, I had a 55 day cycle and didn't ovulate until I finally went to an acupuncturist and ovulated the day after it on day 41! This is totallly unheard of for me - the longest cycle I have ever had was 30 days.

I had been on the formula with vitex for 6 weeks before this psycho cycle started and I had weird spotting straight after my period which freaked me out and I stopped the vitex immediately. I felt like I was in the twilight zone with anovulatory temps all over the place and my OPKs being positive with fast dark lines for over 10 days straight which is totally NOT normal and no one could explain anything to me. I was completely freaked out by it and so angry and sad - so much for all the "stay calm, don't stress" stuff - I was fine and calm before I took this stuff.

My next cycle was then 36 days with ovulation on day 21. I am now in my next cycle and hoping I will be getting more back to what I was before - an average cycle of 27 days. Needless to say I think Vitex is evil and I have wasted more than 3 months of my precious time and have been so stressed by it all that I want to kill Famous Naturopath.

Whatever you do, BEFORE you touch ANY herbs of any sort, get a full blood test done of all your levels of FSH, E2, LH etc so you know who YOU are before vitex and other things can mess you up. If you had a good experience with Vitex then you are lucky but it has royally wrecked by cycles and it's pretty devastating. I am now hoping that TCM and acupuncture can put me right.

Whatever you do, DO NOT self medicate with VITEX - from my experience it is a fast acting and hugely powerful herb that can set you months and months backwards rather than forwards if it doesn't like you.

Hello! Was just reading this blog and aside from dopamine... since Vitex is reputed to help raise progesterone levels... and if someone still gets PMS-D (premenstrual syndrome depression) or gets worse as in the above case... it could be due to a lack of estrogen and NOT progesterone! Which means if someone is taking Vitex then they are working at correcting the wrong hormone. Sure dopamine has its role in depression, but so do estrogen levels along with progesterone levels. In females they have a delicate balance and should never be separated.

You can read more about it in this article addressing vitex and suicidal depression...

It all comes back to this basic guideline... if one thing works for one person, then it is not going to work for someone else necessarily. If vitex is making your symptoms worse, then there's probably some other kind of hormone imbalance that you are missing. Always consider estrogen first if something that is supposed to help with progesterone seems to aggravate symptoms. That and there could always be an insufficient nutritional need. Taking a really good multivitamin like from NSI at or the GNC multi-vit are very good and I highly recommend them.

Fish oil (or Omega 3's that you can find in plant sources as well... NSI also sells this kind) is also very effective in helping with depression in some cases. Someone like me, I HATE eating fish! So the capsule works very well for me and I have seen an improvement in depression symptoms... but I also take Zoloft and I have to take Lamictal for anti-seizure (also good for bipolar, but I don't have that). I have been told it will be OK for me to pregnant as long as blood tests are done to make sure of the health of the baby. And I have been taking Vitex and it seems to be working well with me so far. In fact, it seems to have increased my energy level (which I usually don't have a lot of) and helps lift my mood as well!

I might be another fertility success with this, but if not oh well. But pls ppl! Always check your nutritional needs first with a good multi-vit which helps with hormones and everything else in the body. THEN take a look at the hormones. You may need to see an endocrinologist to determine what kind of hormonal imbalance you have and you can take it from there. Also remember, scientists still don't know all of the hormones that regulate the body. They know some of the main ones, but there are still so many to discover. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made! Hormones... the blessing and the curse! LOL

It is good to have these reports of side effects from taking a herb but unfortunately hard to make any real sense from it unless people report exactly what they were taking. A 15-drop per day dose of a 1:5 tincture (200 mg per ml, in this case 0.5 ml or 100 mg per day of actual herb) is a far cry from the 500 mg 3X per day dose I have seen recommended on many product labels. An in-vivo study showed anterior pituitary shut-down at high doses whereas a progesterone-toning effect at low doses. Read more here in an article by Kerry Bone: "According to a survey of professional herbalists conducted in the U.K. in 1997, the average dose of chaste tree used was approximately 500 mg/day DHE.17 Clinical trials in PMS and mastalgia have used DHE of approximately 120 to 240 mg/day. For LHP, similar doses have been shown to be effective. However, doses used to influence melatonin levels were much higher (600 mg to 2.4 g DHE per day). Such doses can be used to treat insomnia, especially sleep maintenance insomnia. In conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids, for which a significant estrogen antagonist effect is needed, doses of at least 2 g/day DHE may be required and typically are used by professional herbalists. The use of chaste tree in the treatment of PCOS is controversial and may depend on the hormonal profile of each individual patient. It will be most indicated in cases in which prolactin is elevated and dosage will be influenced by the level of prolactin."

Hi all,

I had fibroid which was discovered in July 2009 and I have been trying to TCC for a few months. However, all the doctors which I consulted told me I had to go for surgery. I read about Vitex and started to consume the supplement. I am not sure if Vitex can be consumed during menstruation but it gave me a shock! I had many huge bloodclots which gush out nonstop during that night and it looks like miscarriage to me. I stop using it as I thought it might be due to my menses. On my 10th day of menses, I start again (as my menses has stopped) and it came in chunks again.

I decided to ditch vitex and look for other solutions.. I was told if I had surgery, the earliest I can try to conceive is 6 months to 1 yr after the surgery. I wanted to have a child so if any one knows how to shrink the fibroid and increase fertility, please let me know. Thanks!

I started taking Vitex six months ago at the recommendation of my doctor due to a hormonal imbalance caused by LUFS (a follicular cyst formed at ovulation basically). My progesterone level was depressed and my LH was elevated as a result. I started on the Vitex and had a very late ovulation that cycle at CD26 instead of my usual CD16 (I've charted for the past 10 years and it's never been later than CD18 prior to this). I had the most intense cramping and pain at ovulation and a very heavy, clotted period that lasted for 9 days. The next cycle I also ovulated around CD25, but had very poor progesterone production. Each cycle has gotten worse and worse that way, despite continuing to ovulate at approximately CD25. However, my egg quality continued to decrease as well as my progesterone levels following ovulation. My luteal phase also went from 14 days like clockwork to 19-27 days due to the progesterone being too low to cause an adequate drop to start bleeding. I started having more and more pain with each cycle as well as absolutely no sex drive, which is compltely unusual for me (I'm an at least once a day kind of girl). I ended up seeing a different doctor for my fertility issues (currently trying to conceive) and explained all the problems I had been having. She told me to discontinue the Vitex immediately as it was having a very negative response in my body and worsening my original, minor problem. She also performed imaging studies on me and was able to determine that my uterus and ovaries were exhibiting a lot of inflammation, another bad sign. Anyway, I've been off the Vitex for two cycles now. My first cycle off I used progesterone cream after ovulation and had a much better level and a normal length luteal phase for me (15 days). Unfortunately my estrogen production is still low at the beginning of my cycle so my ovulation is not as timely as it has been, but my progesterone is improving and my sex drive is starting to return. My inflammation has also gone away. I am convinced that the Vitex was the worst possible thing I could have tried for my menstrual cycle!

And now, please try to do the missing nutrients. And report back, in another month or two. Thanks!

Just wanted to share our story. My sister and I are both pretty healthy and never with any syndrome x symptoms, but both with history of mild to moderate depression. We'd both had kids but then could not get pregnant again when she was in her late 30s and I in my early 40s (5 years ago). After two years of both of us unsuccessfully trying to conceive, I was told by a fertility MD that my hormones were not normal (not any clinical disorder, just aging), and that I was not a candidate for fertility services of any kind as a result. Neither my sister nor I ever took any prescription medication. My sister then researched Vitex and went on FertiliTea - a combo of raspberry leaf, green tea, mint leaf, and chasteberry (which is vitex). In two months she was pregnant. I immediately then went on the tea and also switched to that company's prenatal vitamin, which gave me slightly more vitex than my sister had been taking. Immediately after going on the tea and vitamin, I noticed very significant changes in cervical mucous, vaginal lubrication, and mood. My PMS, which had previously brought on extreme exhaustion and substantial depression, disappeared. My period itself was no different than it had previously been. I only had one period on it, though, because the next cycle I was pregnant, and then I immediately discontinued the FertiliTea products, as the company recommended. So while I understand that one's underlying imbalances must be thoroughly investigated and that Vitex is not a panacea for everything and everyone, the FertiliTea stuff, briefly though I was on it, was a game-changer for me, and for my sister too. Her son and my daughter were born three months apart, and they are flat-out miracles to us. I think there can be no doubt that there is an important place for this herb in some cases of infertility. For us, healthy but with hormones changing due to aging, it corrected what was wrong so that we were able to conceive. We may not have been taking as high a dose as some of the people on this site. We took it in a tea and as a component of a prenatal vitamin, and we took it for a limited amount of time. But it was SUCH a positive thing for us. I think it is a mistake to advise people that it is never a good idea to take it. For some, like us, it was the key.

As someone who suffers from adenomyosis and fibroids and extremely painful debilitating periods that are relatively unproductive, it sounds to me as if your body is actually trying to flush and cleanse itself. Old tissue needs to be released from the body (especially in cases like fribroids)!!

After doing what I considered to be fairly extensive research on Vitex, I decided to give it a try to see if it would help my irregular menstrual cycle. I took it in a tincture form for 3 months. Its effects on my body seemed very strong. While it did produce the desired effect of lengthening my menstrual cycle, I experienced severe depression while on it. I do have a history of occasional mild to moderate depression, however I noticed a particular worsening of it while on this herb. I also experienced severe obsessive thoughts. I believe that this is a strong herb, and while it may work well with many women, it may be dangerous for others. Please do your research and if you choose to try Vitex anyway, please take caution if you have a history of depression or anxiety. I had high hopes for it but unfortunately it wreaked havoc in my emotional life, which I am recovering from still after getting off of the herb about two months ago.

Do vitamin D in large doses, plus the supplement set outlined in the blog post above, in order to curb your depression.

I wasn't sure how to comment so I just replied to this.
I heard from a friend of mine that Vitex works awesome for her.
and I, like her, have my period only twice a year, if that.
Every since she has been taking it she has had her period regularly.
After reading this I don't want to take it anymore but I am wondering what I can take that will help me.
I DO NOT want to go to the gynecologist, or any other doctor.

... take the supplement set as outlined in the blog post.

I started taking Vitex 500mg. nearly a year ago as at 43 and having come off the BCP previoulsy I had been having my periods 2-3 weeks apart, I thought the Vitex would regulate them. I became very tearful, depressed and thinking it was the perimenopause - I kept at the Vitex - thinking it would help - I did not realise at the time it could be actually what was causing my problems. My periods did lenghten to 5 weeks apart so I thought it was helping me. I became ill 4 months ago and my periods then stopped - I felt like I was stuck in ovulation - I had clear discharge, sore breasts, although the depression had lifted. Now I have had spotting for 4-5 weeks - which is stressing me out - now I have done research into Vitex I am cutting down the does and gradually stopping it & hopeing things will go back to normal again.

I have been using vitex for 20 years as a professional herbalist overseeing the needs of women and have had NOTHING but excellent results, using it as a tincture form which I generally make myself. I have used it with hundreds of women, in every area from PMS, (including myself) , menopause, and post-pill balancing, and also used vitex to help young men rebalance their hormones (within a larger context) after bouts of acne, cystic or otherwise.

Many of the posters seem to be taking capsulated vitex and their results could be from anything, including the natural unfolding of time, and taking who knows what in god knows what form, without supervision. Vitex is best left to the trained herbalist (and by this I do not mean scientist). Having said that I have NEVER, within the realm of my practice and clinical experience, observed or heard of vitex being associated with problems, worsening of symptoms, depression, or hormonal interruptions. People are either using it wrongly (ie: for too long a time, in the wrong dose, in the wrong form, or adulterated) or out of context.

Furthermore, we most certainly do not view Vitex solely within the context of a progesterone balancer - those of us with any training and experience of the holistic view know this is but one potential part of a larger picture. You say "favoring " progesterone, and the implication is that Vitex leads to the development of inappropriate levels of progesterone, but this is not how I and many others were trained NOR is it how we use it , nor does it reflect our worldview , or the action of vitex, properly administered.

We have NO IDEA what the larger picture is within these postings- thus they are not informative.

I don't much know who any of these people are, including Paul Bergner, as my life and clinical experience speaks for itself and will continue to. But I do know that in the rare instances I check into henriettes blog, I see misinformation and have taken to cautioning my students from bothering to read it, lest they absorb this misinformation.

Hormonal imbalances are corrected through far more than just a few "supplements" - generally we do so through body system rejuvenation which includes the liver, digestive, nervous and urinary system.


So you have no experience of side effects from Vitex. That doesn't invalidate the people who post their comments here who DO have side effects from it.
An experienced practitioner takes that on board and looks for signs of similar troubles in his / her clients ... that's a better response than rejecting any negative experience out of hand.

Your slamming of my blog is childish.

You can't be all that widely read a herbalist, if you don't know who Paul Bergner is ... look up "Medical Herbalism", _the_ journal for practitioners.

Finally, a ND stands for Doctor of Naturopathy. There are 4 years-long hands-on schools in the US and Canada who actually CAN hand out real ND diplomas, acknowledged in states who license real NDs.
I'd question anybody who wants to call themselves doctor without the rigorous schooling required ... and/or who hands out "ND" degrees to the gullible.

Are you suggesting that all women who suffer from these various symptoms & conditions have the same root cause? And should follow the same regiment?

At the same time, I'm confused about my own condition and would appreciate your input. I was diagnosed with low progesterone/estrogen dominance at 17. My doctor at the time prescribed synthetic hormones. While they helped for the first few years, they seemed to have exaggerated my symptoms over time. I'm currently at a crossroads in deciding where to turn next. I have been off of synthetic hormones (other than an occasional 5-day Provera prescription to kickstart my cycle) for over a year.

My symptoms include extremely irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, anxiety, mood swings, weight gain, recurrent miscarriage, ovarian cysts, night sweats, and fatigue. Our family is complete, so my concern solely revolves around my hormonal health and its long-range implications (particularly since female cancers run rampant on my mom's side).

What are your thoughts or recommendations?

From Shelley:

"I have been taking vitex for PMS that has gotten worse in the past year. I am 44 and thought this may help regulate symptoms.. I am so glad i read this blog, as This morning I started bleeding for the 2nd time this month. i thought I was going crazy or was just working my way through the symptoms. I have had severe heart palps, major mood swings, and now depression, constant sighing. If this isn't adverse effects I don't know what is. I have stopped as of today.

I'm 22 and I've been taking vitex for about 2 months now to regulate my periods because my husband and I are ttc. My periods before vitex were very irregular, and about 4 times per year. I have had my period now for 23 days! I'm now wondering if I should quit taking vitex... Or hope for it to begin to regulate me. Btw, I also take a prenatal vitamin and 400mg of vitamin e daily. Any suggestions?

Hi Paul,

I just wanted to share my experience with Vitex with you. After using Vitex for just 3 months, my cycle is now 28 days to the day after being irregular and around 30-35 days and my ovulation has gone from around day 20 to day 14. After ttc for 18 months, and having 2 early miscarriages, I am now pregnant. It has helped me and I would recommend it.