A plant native to the Mediterranean, vitex has long been used as an herbal medicine. The plant is thought to affect female hormones and fertility, and is therefore sometimes used as a remedy for a variety of hormonal disorders. Numerous factors, including the condition for which the herb is used and the presence of any other disorders, may affect vitex dosage.
The leaves, flowers, and dried fruit of vitex may be processed and used for medicinal purposes. A supplement may also be taken in capsule or pill form. Sometimes liquid extracts are used. Taking vitex is thought to affect hormonal cycles in women. It may be used as a treatment for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and high prolactin levels. The substance may be taken as a remedy during menopause and to treat progesterone imbalances during the second half of the menstrual cycle.
The action of vitex on the female reproductive system and hormones is not well understood. It seems that the supplement can work to normalize blood levels of the hormone prolactin, when they are elevated. Taking vitex can increase progesterone levels in the body, thereby ameliorating any luteal phase defects that may occur during the menstrual cycle.
It is generally thought that vitex interacts with dopamine receptors in the brain, and this action affects prolactin production. People with Parkinson’s disease or bipolar disorder should not use vitex as it may cause a worsening of their symptoms and cause severe drug interactions. Those with hormone-dependent malignancies should also avoid the supplement.
There are no clear guidelines regarding a safe vitex dosage. The herb’s action on hormones is complex and poorly understood. Taking a low vitex dosage may increase blood prolactin levels, while a high dose often has the opposite effect.
Multiple factors may affect a sufficient vitex dosage, and these include the condition for which the drug may be taken and the existence of other disorders. For luteal phase defects, a low vitex dosage may be effective. The herb seems to decrease estrogen levels at low doses, promoting estrogen-progesterone balance. Health care professionals may recommend a starting vitex dosage of 35-40 mg for the restoration of hormonal balance. This would include PCOS, luteal phase defects, and uterine fibroids.
Clinical studies indicate that treatment of PMS usually requires a vitex dosage of up to 20 mg daily. Symptom improvement may be observed in a large number of patients. Side effects of the supplement can include nausea, rashes, and bleeding between menstrual periods.