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Friday, February 09, 2018


Vitex - An Alternative Drug For Infertility

Guest Post By Aaren Humpherys

Treatments for infertility can sometimes cost a small fortune. For the average couple, the drugs from natural and herbal sources become a viable alternative. But even if you are on a budget, you must take the time to learn more about the herbal medicines you are interested in. Though they are cheap, they are often unregulated and have untested claims. If you are still on the market for an alternative, one of the herbal treatments gaining ground in the world of infertility is vitex.
Vitex is more formally known as vitex agnus castus. It has been around since the middle-ages, known as the chasteberry or chast tree. This name was due to the fact that it was believed to promote chastity
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by repressing libidos and is still known as chasteberry today. It mostly grows out of the Mediterranean and Central Asia. In Europe, it has been used as a drug to aid with the management of premenstrual stress syndrome or PMS.
The basic effects of chasteberry are on hormonal balance. It is believed to stimulate the release of luteinizing hormones or LH and inhibit the release of follicle stimulating hormones or FSH from the human pituitary glands. This leads to the rebalancing of the body's hormones, resulting in the increase of progesterone and a decrease of estrogen and prolactin in women. For women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or other hormonal related causes of infertility, this herb claims to have positive effects and has been reported to have led to eventual pregnancy in some women.
The herb can be taken through a brew or a tea. Just take a dried herb, place it in boiling water and let it stew for a few minutes and drink the resulting beverage. Feel free not to use the leaves because they aren't as effective as the body of the plant. They are also readily available as pills. The regular dose is about 1 to 2 tablets a day. A liquid extract from the plant can also be mixed in water to make a juice that can be taken 2 to 3 times a day.
Chasteberry is not recommended for pregnant women. The hormonal effects can impact the pregnant woman in negative ways. It is also warned that the chasteberry can cause some mild discomforts like dizziness, abdominal pains, and dry mouth. It is also not a quick acting drug and its full effects may not be felt until after about 3 to 6 months.


The downside of this plant is that there are no extensive studies and results yet published to prove all the claimed effects it has, especially concerning its role as a fertility supplement. Although its effects as a PMS management drug is documented and certified by the German Commission E Monographs, a guide that evaluates the safety and validity of the claims of drugs in Germany where chasteberry is licensed, its other claims are yet to be proven. Even its original role as a repressor of libido is unconfirmed.
Some clinical tests have been published though. A notable study available on the PubMed website which can be accessed through the National Center for Biotechnology Information or NCBI was done by the Department of Gynecology/Obstetrics of the Stanford University School of Medicine. In the study, a double blind test was conducted on the effects of a fertility blend that included chasteberry on women who were beset by infertility. Although the number of women tested was only 93, with 53 women testing the blend over 40 women testing with a placebo, the results were favorable for the fertility blend. 14 of the women taking the blend ended up pregnant, 26% of the total 53.
Chasteberry is readily available today as a drug supplement. However, it does not have an FDA approval. The FDA has a more lenient policy for supplements as these can be marketed without approval legally. The FDA does provide a great guide to using supplements and can easily be accessed through their website. A general policy the FDA promotes is to always consult a professional health worker before trying any supplement. So far, chasteberry has had a clean safety record but you should report any unwanted effects immediately.

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