Many women rely on vitex or chaste tree for support during their monthly cycles and during the aging process. However, you might be surprised to learn that this herbal supplement may have a positive impact on fertility, as well. Some medical studies support using vitex chaste tree for fertility, due to its potential ability to balance hormones and regulate ovulation and menstrual cycles.
What is Chaste Tree?
The chaste tree is a shrub-like tree that grows in warm climates all over the world. During hot months the tree blooms, producing chaste tree berries — small, brown, bitter berries that look like peppercorns. These berries have several properties that may support balanced hormone levels, including flavonoids and alkaloids. Flavonoids are thought to support the body’s defense system and promote cardiovascular health. Similarly, alkaloids may promote a healthy immune response to environmental or seasonal challenges. Chaste tree berries are also rich in steroidal hormone precursors, which may help the pituitary gland regulate hormones released by stress, growth, and normal estrogenic activity.
Long before modern scientists started manufacturing chaste tree as a women’s herb, ancient Greeks and Romans used this herb as an anaphrodisiac to dull libido. Monks and nuns also relied on the berries to fulfill their vows of celibacy. While monks would chew on the bitter chaste tree berries and leaves, nuns would make a syrup out of the berries to use in drinks. It wasn’t until the 1950s that a German drug manufacturing company began to make a chaste tree berry extract — also called vitex — to provide support for women’s health.
Today, several studies have been conducted to confirm the science behind using vitex chaste tree for fertility.
Potential Benefits of Chaste Tree for Fertility
Vitex supports the pituitary gland, providing a regulating effect that may lead to balanced hormone levels. As part of the endocrine system, the pituitary gland produces hormones that are critical to several bodily functions, including those that are vital for fertility, such as ovulation and menstruation.
According to the University of Michigan, vitex may have a positive effect in cases where a woman has a luteal phase defect. That means the second half of the menstrual cycle is shortened. During this phase, the body produces a hormone called progesterone that causes the uterine lining to thicken and prepare for a possible pregnancy. In one trial, 48 women who were diagnosed with infertility used vitex chaste tree for fertility daily for three months. Seven women became pregnant during the trial, and 25 had normalized progesterone levels. Another study found that more women became pregnant while using a product whose main ingredient was vitex, in addition to other homeopathic preparations.
Other Potential Chaste Tree Benefits
A chaste tree supplement may also support fertility by promoting a healthy hormone balance and helping to support regular menstrual periods. In some cases, women suffer from hormonal imbalances that cause their period to stop altogether at a young age. This is different from menopause, and it makes conceiving highly difficult since the body isn’t ovulating. Taking vitex or chaste tree regularly may help regulate prolactin levels and promote a regular menstrual cycle.
Fertility can be a complicated issue, and not all fertility problems are caused by hormonal imbalances. However, in cases where women are having trouble conceiving due to producing too much or too little of a specific hormone, using vitex chaste tree for fertility may make a difference.
Before you start using a chaste tree supplement, be sure to talk to your doctor. Women who are pregnant, nursing, or hoping to become pregnant should ask for specific medical recommendations about using vitex and the recommended dosage.
When you’re ready to shop chaste berry products, take a look at our selection at Natural Healthy Concepts. We have a variety of products, including tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts that may suit your needs. We also have formulas specifically created to provide support during menopause and menstruation.
If you use vitex, we’d love to hear about your experience! Please share your story in the comments below.