Vitex, scientifically known as Vitex agnus-castes and colloquially known as chaste tree is an important contributing factor to herbal medicine. It is of particularly used in problems related to female health and well being. Native to the Mediterranean region and growing in Central Asia, the shrub has purplish blue flowers and long leaves, its dark purple berries are particularly useful in crafting medicines for women’s health. The extracts from fruits and seeds can be orally consumed in the form of medicine to provide medicinal supplements for premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or as a solution for ‘lumpy’ and saggy breasts or other similar symptoms.
How is Vitex used?
Ithas many names but is colloquially referred to as the chaste tree, linked as it is to women’s anatomy and biological processes. The name is derived from the belief that the plant could suppress libido, something that was considered necessary knowledge in ancient medicine in the post-partum period, or even in the final weeks of pregnancy. While different parts of the plant may have medicinal properties, only the extracts from the fruits have been used in popular herbal medical remedies.
Vitex is generally used for women’s health issues, and is to be consumed through the mouth and ingested to be effective. The medicinal properties of Vitex is essentially centred on how the plant can affect the production and function of the endocrine system in women. The extracts of vitex increase the productivity of LSH in women’s bodies and also facilitates the secretion of progesterone. The secretion of prolactin, secreted after pregnancy during breast-feeding is also affected by the intake of Vitex. By altering the endocrinal system, it can bring about desirable results in the body.
Is Vitex Safe to be Used by New Moms?
For a long time there had been doubts about whether or not new mothers could safely use Vitex. The role of Vitex in women actively trying to conceive was acknowledged and intake of Vitex during pregnancy was encouraged. But the benefits or negative effects of taking Vitex in the post-partum period was not known. However, as of current medical research, women can safely use Vitex in the post-partum phase of their lives, with no Vitex side effects to be worried about. Here are 5 reasons why new mothers should include taking Vitex in their daily routine:
Influences prolactin secretion:
A few medical research endeavours undertaken recently have suggested that the intake of Vitex can be associated with the positive secretion of prolactin in women. Most women today face issues with regard to breast feeding their child in the post-partum phase. Taking Vitex through the crucial phase can help in the production of milk by influencing the release of prolactin.
Soothes menstrual cramps:
As most new mothers may tell you, the menstrual cycle that had remained suspended through the period of pregnancy, resumes with a vengeance in the post pregnancy period. The cramps can be intolerable, and particularly hectic in the period of initial motherhood. Taking Vitex through the week well before it can help get through the cramps and soothe them enough to be tolerable.
Treatment of premenstrual syndrome:
When the menstrual cycle resumes in the post pregnancy period, the PMS symptoms like depression, anxiety and muscle cramps may come back as well. PMS can be draining at the best of times, and in the initial days of motherhood when women are already susceptible to post-partum depression, the symptoms achieve their full force. Taking Vitex throughout the period can help prepare for this time, and somewhat dilute the symptoms.
Heals aching joints:
In the period after pregnancy, a woman’s body is drained of all energy and needs to be rebuilt as it was. But this process can be particularly difficult, what with the initial days of motherhood taking its toll on the body. Headaches and aching joints are symptoms faced by almost all women during this phase. With the additional work, it is often impossible for women to include daily exercise in the regime. In such a scenario, dietary supplements are the only way out. Taking vitex can be an interesting way of making sure that the fitness of the body remains intact and no joint pains or other issues can bring you down.
Alleviate menopausal syndrome:
In a more sustained intake, taking Vitex as a part of one’s daily nutrient supplements can push menopause and make sure that it happens later rather than sooner. Regular menstrual cycles are a characteristic of a healthy lifestyle and system and menopause can bring it’s own set of complications. While menopause is ultimately inevitable, Vitex can help stall it until it absolutely has to happen.
General benefits of taking Vitex:
If you are planning to take Vitex on a regular basis and are wondering about the general benefits of the medicinal plant, the following points will be of use to you:
- In case of premenstrual syndrome
- In case of menopause
- Treating acne
- Infrequent migraine attacks
- Heavy menstrual cramps
- In case of infertility
- Fibrocystic breast condition
- Treatment of aching joints
Side effects and safety concerns about taking Vitex
Here are a few key points to remember while intaking Vitex on a regular basis-
- While medical research has ruled in favour of taking Vitex during pregnancy and while nursing, many women have also shown to be adversely affected by it. Make sure you consult your doctor before taking Vitex pregnancy and make sure that none of the Vitex side effects may cause you harm.
- There is a lack in the number of medical research that supports the use of vitex during nursing. It is imperative that you remain alert while taking Vitex so that you can detect any adverse symptoms that may be affecting you or your baby.
- Herbal medicine can often react with other forms of medicine. If you are undergoing some other form of treatment, check with professionals to make sure that the two would not react to create some harmful concoction within your body.
There are many herbal remedies such as Vitex which you may use in the post-partum phase. Make sure you use one that suits your body and benefits you in your post-pregnancy period.