Health benefits of Vitex
Vitex is originally from the Mediterranean areas and Asia. The fruit of the Vitex plant sometimes called the chaste berry or monk’s pepper, is roughly the exact dimensions of a peppercorn. The fruits were taken from the chaste plant, and were probably employed to lower men’s sexuality in history. The fruit and other plant parts are frequently used as herbal remedies to cure various illnesses. This article highlights the advantages of Vitex for health and its risks and adverse effects.
Facts about Vitex
- Scientific name – Vitex agnus-castus.
- Other names – Other names include monk’s pepper, chaste tree, chaste berry, and lilac chaste tree.
- Belongs to the Lamiaceae family.
- Vitex agnus-castus Linn and Vitex negundo Linn are the species employed in medicine.
- The chaste tree is found on riverbanks and coastlines throughout the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, and Central Asia.
History of vitex
- Linnaeus named the genus Vitex in 1753 in Species Plantarum.
- Pliny the Elder called Vitex agnus-castus by the name “vitex.” It comes from the Latin verb vieo, which means to weave or tie up indicating its usage in basketry.
- The name chaste berry may have come from the plant’s historical association with purity. Throughout the Middle Ages, monks reportedly used it to suppress their sexual urges.
- In the past, preparations from chaste berries were used to treat several gynecological and skin issues.
- Chinese traditional medicine, Unani medicine, Ayurveda, Malay traditional medicine, European medicine, and ancient Greek medicine have all acknowledged and noted the benefits of using the vitex plant as a medicinal plant and herbal medicine in the past.
Today, Vitex is being marketed as a dietary supplement for several medical ailments. Different parts of the plant, primarily the fruits, leaves, and bark, were used for its medicinal qualities. They contain – progestins, flavonoids, iridoids, and essential oils.
They are now accessible in numerous forms
- Liquid extracts.
- Essential oil – not to be consumed.
Health benefits of Vitex
They function by lowering inflammation and restoring hormone balance. Several health advantages of Vitex could include the following:
Decreases PMS symptoms
- It could ease a few symptoms of PMS, like breast soreness, constipation, migraines, and mood swings like depression and irritability.
- One can take Vitex for depression during PMS because, unlike antidepressants, they don’t have to build up in the body before they are effective.
May increase fertility
- Infertility has many causes, including a problem with the menstrual cycle’s luteal phase. (The interval from ovulation until the start of the period)
- It might help improve fertility by regulating menstrual cycles and lowering prolactin hormone levels.
This supplement may boost progesterone synthesis, improving the likelihood of pregnancy in persons with luteal-phase disorders such as:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome. (PCOS)
- Thyroid problems.
- Another study revealed that the unique blend of active folate, maca, and Vitex controls the menstrual cycle, promotes ovulation, and enhances the chance of conception.
Decreases symptoms of menopause
- Vitex can additionally assist with alleviating menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes while also increasing mood.
- This might result from phytoestrogens, organic compounds that resemble estrogen (a hormone that the ovaries cease producing after menopause).
- The essential oil from the chaste tree, also known as Abraham’s balm, is extracted from the leaves and helps treat several menopausal symptoms.
Reduces the risk of insect bites
- Vitex agnus-castus may provide some defense against insects, including flies, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and head lice.
Other health benefits may include
- Decrease headaches and migraines.
- Helps with cough and sore throat.
- Antibacterial and antifungal effects.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Epilepsy prevention.
- Digestive problems.
- Increases lactation
- Bone repair.
Side effects of vitex
It appears well tolerated when administered in small doses for up to 3 months. However, a few adverse effects of vitex may include
- Menstrual bleeding
- Dry mouth.
- Erythematous rash. (10)
- Itchy skin
- Stomach upset
- Weight gain
- Pregnant women, women attempting to conceive, and nursing moms should not consume this product because there is insufficient conclusive research.
- Using Vitex can affect hormones and exacerbate conditions in people with hormone-sensitive conditions like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or cancer of the uterus, breast, or ovaries.
- Vitex supplements should not be taken by anyone receiving IVF therapy (in vitro fertilization), as they may reduce efficacy.
- Vitex should not be taken by those who have Parkinson’s disease since it may have adverse effects on the brain and therapy.
- Supplementing with Vitex is not recommended in people with schizophrenia or other psychotic diseases, as they appear to impact the brain chemical dopamine.
- People taking contraceptive pills or therapy to replace hormones should avoid taking Vitex supplements.
Vitex interactions with other medicines
Vitex may interact with some medications, including
- Birth control pills or hormonal contraceptives – can react with Vitex to lessen their effects and raise the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
- Estrogen supplements – taking Vitex agnus-castus supplement combined with estrogen pills post-menopause may lessen or exaggerate their effects.
- Antipsychotic drugs – Vitex may interact with antipsychotic medications such as chlorpromazine, haloperidol, or prochlorperazine. Their simultaneous use is prohibited.
- Dopamine agonists for Parkinson’s disease – chemicals in Vitex agnus-castus affect the brain comparable to some Parkinson’s disease medicines. Combining Vitex with these medicines may intensify their effects and side effects.
- Metoclopramide or bromocriptine – combining vitex agnus-castus with either of these medications may lessen their effects.
It is essential to take proper dosage and begin with the lowest dose possible while taking any vitamin, dietary supplement, or prescription. Before raising the dosage or introducing a new supplement into the routine, give yourself two days to see if the adjustment has positive or negative consequences. Consult a medical professional before consuming Vitex supplements. People should discuss any supplementary health practices they employ with a healthcare professional. Only then can you come to informed judgments together.