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Ever since the times of antiquity, women have benefited from the use of the herb vitex. As its name implies, vitex has instilled vitality in women throughout history.

The Moon Rules Vitex

Vitex is ruled by the Moon, which governs the sign Cancer. The Moon represents archetypal feminine qualities, including fertility, the unconscious and our emotional nature as well as things that provide us with nurturance.

In medical astrology, the Moon represents our psychosomatic health—the effects that our emotions can have on our physical bodies. It is also related to the ebb and flow in the levels of fluids (such as water and blood) that circulate in our bodies. As Cancer governs the stomach, breasts and womb, the Moon is also associated with these parts of the body.

Vitex, Also Known as Chaste Berry

Since ancient times, vitex has also been referred to as chaste tree berry. It earned this moniker as it was an herb traditionally believed to inspire chastity and quench the desire for Moon-related procreation. In festivals honoring the Greek goddess Demeter, young maidens adorned themselves with chaste tree berry blossoms as a symbol of their restraint from sexual activity. Incidentally, modern research has not supported the assertion that vitex actually reduces libido.

Cycles of Women and the Moon

Vitex is the premiere herb for women’s health. As the Moon can be thought of as a stellar reflection of significant female attributes, it is not surprising that Moon-ruled vitex plays such an important role in women’s health.

Women are symbolically linked to the Moon, since both experience unique differentiated forms throughout their cycles of existence while still being recognized for their core identity. The cyclical nature of women is apparent not only in their menstrual cycles, but also in their life’s journey as they traverse from puberty through the post-menopause.

Vitex and Women’s Health

Vitex supports women’s health through its ability to balance women’s hormones, notably progesterone and prolactin. It is through its beneficial effects on hormonal levels that vitex has been noted to be of benefit for such female health concerns as premenstrual syndrome, menstrual irregularity and menopause.

Vitex may play an important role in easing premenstrual syndrome (PMS), the all-too-common condition characterized by a stellium of symptoms that affect the bodies, minds and spirits of women. Vitex may benefit PMS as it helps to increase levels of progesterone and prolactin, hormones that are noted to be at reduced levels in women who experience PMS symptoms. Clinical studies have suggested that vitex can relieve related symptoms including breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue and the retention of Moon-ruled fluids.

Vitex has also been shown to beneficially affect menstrual cycle irregularities, which are often caused by a condition known as luteal phase defect that is characterized by a reduced amount of circulating progesterone. Vitex stimulates a cascade of biochemical reactions that result in increased progesterone synthesis. Consequently, it has been shown to help correct irregularities in the menstrual cycle, including lack of menstruation, menstrual cycles that occur too frequently and excessive bleeding during menstruation.

Menopausal symptoms may also be relieved by vitex. The symptoms experienced during this life stage are associated with the fluctuation of female hormones, including decreased levels of progesterone. Many nutritionally-oriented healthcare practitioners recommend vitex to women passing through menopause for the relief of associated symptoms such as hot flashes.

How to Use Vitex

Vitex is available in a variety of forms including tinctures, capsules and tea made from the dried fruits of the plant. While dosage regimens vary for individuals, a standard daily recommendation is 40 milligrams of the dried herb in capsule form, or 40 drops of the herbal liquid extract.  If you prefer, you can prepare a tea by infusing one teaspoon of ripe vitex berries in a cup of boiling water. It should be remembered that vitex works slowly and is not a short-term health treatment.

Since vitex modifies women’s hormonal balance, women considering using this herb should take certain precautions. Women who are sensitive to estrogen may need to avoid using vitex. Vitex is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Women who are using hormone replacement therapy should only use vitex with the supervision of a healthcare professional.

It is important to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you are thinking of using vitex or other dietary supplements to treat any health condition. Additionally, you should tell your healthcare provider about all of the dietary supplements that you are taking so that s/he can evaluate any potential drug-supplement interactions.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Gailing, MS, CN, is a Certified Nutritionist, astrologer and freelance natural health writer. She holds her Masters Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, where she currently serves as adjunct faculty. Stephanie has been involved in the natural products industry for more than ten years, with experiences ranging from operating her own natural products retail store to serving as a marketing consultant for dietary supplement companies.

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For more information about Stephanie Gailing, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Stephanie Gailing:

  • Herbal Astrology: Cayenne   4/3/2003
  • Herbal Astrology: Valerian   11/6/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Bilberry   10/16/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Chamomile   8/7/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Licorice   7/24/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Horse Chestnut   7/10/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Feverfew   6/5/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Hawthorn   5/22/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Milk Thistle   5/8/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: St. John's Wort   4/10/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Garlic   3/20/2000

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