Red Raspberry Leaf for Menstrual cycles

Red Raspberry Leaf for Menstrual cycles

Some of us have to deal with uncomfortable symptoms during our menstrual cycles. These can be mild or so bad that they hinder our lives.

People with these symptoms, usually look for relief from them. There are quite a few things on the market that may help and red raspberry leaf is one of them.

For this post, information about the leaves and how they may provide relieve will be presented.

Icky hormonal symptoms

Our menstrual cycles come with hormonal fluctuations. Depending on one’s body, the reaction to these fluctuations may be quite poor. These bad reactions are what causes the pesky symptoms that plague a lot of people each cycle.

The symptoms are most commonly experienced in the luteal phase (PMS/PMDD) of our cycle and during our periods. They can also show up a couple of days before ovulation, the day of ovulation and for a couple of days after our periods end.

The symptoms that people may experience include the following:

  • GI issues (loose stools, gassiness, constipation, nausea etc.).
  • Acne
  • Body aches and pains.
  • A sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose and sneezing (lesser known symptoms!).
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Abdominal and pelvic cramps.
  • Ovarian pain during ovulation.
  • Mood issues.
  • Fatigue and/or insomnia.
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness.
  • Cravings and increased hunger.
  • Heavy bleeding during periods.
  • Spotting in between periods.

There are other possible symptoms than what is on this list but those are the most common ones. Some people deal with the same ones each month at the same intensity or there may be some variations.

About red raspberry leaves

Raspberries are one of many types of berries and they are one of the most popular among them. As loved as they are, not very many people know that the leaves from the raspberry plant possibly have a slew of benefits.

If you have a raspberry plant and are interested in using the leaves, you must harvest them before the plant blooms. They are then to be dried until they can be crumbled easily. It is best to wait to crumble them until right when you are ready to use them though.

Most people who use red raspberry leaves, make tea with them. This can be done by steeping one tablespoon of the crumbled leaves in one cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. The smell of this tea is said to be very pleasant with a fruity, black tea flavor to it. People also say it is slightly sweet on it’s own.

You can also get red raspberry leaves in prepared tea bags, liquid drops, capsules and K-Cups.

There are numerous nutrients in these leaves. They include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. It may also have some other antioxidant properties as well.

How it may help during menstrual cycles

Red raspberry leaves have been used as traditional medicine since around the mid 1700s. There has been a combination of anecdotal and some scientific evidence that it actually helps.

The hormonal symptoms it may help with include the following:

  • Menstrual cramps
  • Heavy periods
  • Spotting in between periods
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Breast pain
  • Fatigue

It has been said that these leaves may be helpful due to the nutrient and antioxidant content. Most notable is the vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium that they contain. These are nutrients that have been shown to help with hormonal symptoms by balancing things out.

To see if red raspberry leaves help with one’s menstrual cycle, drinking the tea or taking capsules are options. If one chooses to drink the tea- no more than three cups a day is recommended. If one chooses to take capsules instead of tea- up to 900 mg per day is recommended.

Red raspberry leaves can be taken every single day to prevent symptoms, during the luteal phase of one’s cycle or whenever it is needed.

Other possible benefits

There are some other things that red raspberry leaves could possibly help with. They are as follows:

  • Morning sickness.
  • Inducing labor- Very, very little evidence for this so don’t count on it.
  • Respiratory viruses and all that comes with them.
  • GI viruses and all that comes with them.
  • Non-hormonal headaches and migraines.
  • Non-hormonal diarrhea.
  • Relief of skin conditions such as eczema and rashes.
  • Increase of insulin sensitivity.

It is important to note that there also may be some estrogenic effects so anyone who is sensitive to that hormone should be careful.

My use of red raspberry leaves

I found out about using red raspberry leaves for menstrual cycle symptoms years ago. At first, I tried to drink three cups of the tea a day but I got kind of sick of that. I then switched to taking capsules of it daily.

As I recall, doing this really helped reduce my symptoms. I didn’t experience much in the way of nausea as I usually did and my menstrual cramps were all but non-existent.

I remember being very excited that I found something that helped me. After a while, I completely stopped buying them though. This was because I kept forgetting to put them in my Amazon cart and then I eventually kind of forgot about them.

For the past year or two, I have started to keep around red raspberry leaf teabags. I have begun to use it sporadically again- a couple days before my period begins when I have nausea. It takes the discomfort away pretty quickly which is great. I also drink some the first day of my period as it diminishes any cramps I may get.

I am planning to buy the capsules and start taking them everyday instead of just a few days a month. I am not going to get my hopes up but it would be nice to have even less symptoms than I have now (Claritin hasn’t been a complete cure)!

I will also keep the tea around to help with sore throats, coughs and possible immune system benefits.

These leaves could help you!

So, I typed all of this to say that this may be an option for people if they are struggling with their menstrual cycles and have not yet tried these leaves. It sure has helped me a lot and I am glad I found out about it.

Have any of you tried red raspberry leaves? If so, did they help you at all?

Thanks for reading!

Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links on my site might be affiliate. This means I may make a commission on any clicks and purchases people make.

Medical disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and I am not telling you what to do in regards to your health. Consult your doctor for an evaluation before taking any herb or supplement.

#periodcrampsrelief #redraspberryleaf #traditionalmedicine #hormonalimbalance #pms #pmddtreatment #menstrualcup #tea #chamomiletea

Zinc: What It Can Do for Hormones

Zinc: What It Can Do for Hormones

Many women/non-binary people with hormonal conditions are willing to try a lot of things to reduce or eliminate the accompanying symptoms of them. While there are medical interventions that exist, some are still interested in going the supplement route.

Zinc is one of the supplements that is said to possibly help with hormonal conditions and we are going talk all about it in this post!

Introduction to Zinc

Zinc is one of 118 chemical elements with an atomic number of 30. It is essential for living things due to the roles it has in keeping organisms healthy. In humans it is responsible for regulation and helping with the proper functioning of various systems.

The human body stores it in various places (i.e. organs and cells) but it is not found naturally in us. To obtain zinc, we need to either get it from food and/or take a supplement.

This mineral is used for industrial, supplemental and topical (ointments and creams) related purposes.

In terms of supplements, zinc comes in different types. These include gummies, liquids, lozenges, capsules and tablets. Some of them have the zinc combined with other minerals/vitamins or it is by itself.

There are several forms of zinc which include acetate, gluconate, picolinate, orotate, sulfate and citrate. These forms differ when it comes to absorbability, price and what it could specifically do for our health.

In terms of food, zinc is found in a variety of things. The foods with the highest amount of it include beef, pork, oysters, tofu, chicken, cashews, oatmeal and mushrooms.

Zinc and hormonal conditions

Zinc supplementation has shown to have some positive effects when it comes hormonal issues that plague many women/non-binary people. This is said to possibly be because of zinc’s ability to regulate hormones.

. The following are the hormonal related issues that supplementing with zinc may help with:

  • Fertility- Studies suggest that zinc may help shorten the time that it takes to get pregnant.
  • Metabolic syndrome in people with PCOS- A sufficient amount of zinc is essential for insulin regulation and for having a proper response to it. It also reduces glucose and triglyceride levels. Getting all of this under control reduces the risk for things like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Painful menstrual cramps- This problem is also called, dysmenorrhea. It is very common and can get in the way of having a quality life. Studies show that zinc has anti-inflammatory actions that may prevent and treat the painful cramps.
  • PMS- For some women, the levels of zinc get lower in the luteal phase (after ovulation and the two weeks before your period starts). Getting one’s zinc levels up during this time may reduce the brain sluggishness, mood swings and bad sleep.
  • Acne-The anti-inflammatory action that zinc has may help with the acne that can come with hormonal issues.
  • Excess hair- Many people with PCOS have too much androgens which then causes excess hair to form in unwanted areas (i.e. upper lip and chin). Zinc is shown to have anti-androgen effects so it may help reduce the amount of hair that is grown.

The above reasons are why quite a few professionals (the ones that are okay with supplements) that specialize in women’s/non-binary health recommend zinc supplementation for hormonal issues.

Magnesium and calcium are two other supplements that are touted as being great for hormones. Luckily, you can find products that contain all three things in one! An example of a combination product is this one by Solaray.

The dosage for zinc should be no more than 50 mg per day to avoid negative side effects. These uncomfortable effects include GI issues, chest pain, fatigue and headaches.

Other things zinc can do for our health

There are quite a few other things that zinc is said to possibly do for us. They are as follows:

  • Increase the strength of our immune systems.
  • Improve the frequency and severity of acne.
  • Improve age related vision loss.
  • Reduce signs of ADHD if taken with prescription medication.
  • Shorten lengths of colds.
  • Improve low moods.
  • Improve brain fog and memory issues.
  • Improve smell and taste ability.
  • Heal bed sores and diaper rash when applied in cream form.
  • Help with male fertility issues.
  • Help improve metabolic syndrome markers.

As with any supplement, the benefits of zinc are not definitive. However, there is a lot of good evidence for them.

Our favorite supplements

My husband and I both take zinc. I had stopped for a while but ever since I did more research on it- I have started taking it again. This is partly because I noticed that my cramps got worse when I stopped taking it (I use a health journal everyday!.

If you have a sensitive stomach, the lozenges I use are a great option. You can find them here.

My husband does not have a sensitive stomach by any sense of the word. Because of this, he is able to take a larger dosed pill from Nature’s Bounty that may be hard on some people’s stomach. You can find the product here.

Zinc may be the thing to try

If you are struggling with hormonal problems, you could give zinc a try. It may not cure you but it could end up helping you a little bit.

Are any of you taking zinc? If so, what do you feel it is doing for you?

Thanks for reading!

Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links on my blog may be affiliate links. This means I will get a commission on any clicks and purchases you make.

Health disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any kind of a medical professional. I am not telling you what to do and nothing I say is a substitute for professional medical advice. You should consult with your doctor before making changes that could affect your health.

#zincsupplement #immunesystem #hormonalproblems #pms #pmddtreatment #pcos #health #women #nonbinary

Body Acne Is Back: Plan of Attack

Body Acne Is Back: Plan of Attack

My body acne looks similar to face acne.

I realize how tacky the title of this post sounds and I apologize. It is an accurate summary of what I will be talking about though.

I had body acne before but it went away. Well, now it is back! This means that I have to have a plan for how I am going to get rid of it.

This post will go into what I am going to do and maybe it will help others that are dealing with body acne as well.

About body acne

A lot of people think that acne only happens on the face. They are really wrong! Acne can happen anywhere skin is (which is everywhere).

Common places for body acne include the chest (chestne), shoulders and back (bacne). People also complain (and laugh sometimes) about butt acne.

The main causes of zit formation anywhere are clogged pores, excess dead skin cells and bacteria. When it comes to what can cause these aforementioned causes of zit formation, you are looking at the following:

  • Hormones: These pesky things seem to cause a lot of bad things to happen when they are out of wack and/or shifting. You tend to see this being the cause in women with PCOS who have a high amount of androgens or react poorly to the amount they have.
  • Being a teenager: Walking the halls of a high school- you will see that this is true. Don’t actually do that though.
  • Medications and steroids: This includes things like birth control, Lithium, testosterone, cold medicine, Adderall and thyroid medications.
  • Mental health conditions (stress, anxiety and depression)- Our mental health can affect our physical health. This means that it can cause acne.
  • Genes-There may be some genes that cause people to struggle with acne.
  • Skincare products: Some products like soaps and oils can irritate some people’s skin which in turn can cause acne.

When it comes to body acne, there can be some other causes that are more specific to that type. They are as follows:

  • Sweat left on the skin for too long: If you work out hard and sweat a lot, not showering afterwards can lead to acne.
  • Laundry detergent issues: Our skin may not like some laundry detergent and thus acne may form.
  • Body care products: Our skin may not like some body washes we use which may cause acne to form.
  • Not washing bedding enough: Having dirty bedding may cause acne to form on your body.

Having body acne can be detrimental to one’s mental health just as acne on the face can be. Some may feel like they do not look very good in certain outfits and try to cover up. This also may make them shy away from certain situations (like going to the beach).

Luckily, the treatment options that exist for face acne are pretty much the same for body acne as well. Here are some of them:

  • Benzoyl peroxide: Comes in creams, gels, patches, face washes and body washes by various brands.
  • Salicylic acid: Comes in creams, gels, body washes, patches and chemical peels.
  • Glycolic acid: Comes in chemical peels, body washes, face washes, lotions and serums.
  • Niacinamide: Comes in creams, gels, lotions and serums.
  • Retinol: Comes in creams, gels and lotions.
  • Tretinoin: Comes in creams and gels.
  • Mandelic acid: Comes in chemical peels, face washes, body washes, serums and toners.
  • Adapalene (Differin): Comes in gel form.
  • Antibiotics: These include clindamycin, doxycycline and erythromycin.
  • Accutane
  • Blue light therapy: Some spas offer this service or you can buy a blue light therapy wand/lamp on various sites.

My body acne situation

I have struggled with acne for a very long time but before it was only on my face. In recent years I have had pimples show up on my body as well. I have gotten them virtually everywhere except for my calves!

I went through a five month phase a while back where I was struggling with back acne a lot. It all seemed to clear up on its own which was great. Unfortunately, I am dealing with a lot of bacne again as well as chestne and shoulder acne.

I have different types of acne lesions on my body. They are as follows:

  • Back- Whiteheads, papules and cysts.
  • Shoulders- Papules and whiteheads.
  • Chest- Papules

Ugh!

This time I do not want to wait for it to clear up on its own because who knows if that will even happen. That means I have to have a plan in place with products I am going to use.

There have been some products I have used on my body acne areas before but they really didn’t work. Here is what I have used:

  • CeraVe salicylic acid body wash
  • Alpha Skin Care glycolic acid lotion
  • Kojic acid soap
  • Makeup Artist’s Choice 5 Acid Body Peel
  • Sulfur soap- Only very sporadically, to be honest.
  • 30% glycolic acid peel

I believe that my body acne is due to my PCOS diagnosis. My hormonal levels have been in the normal range when they were tested but it is clear that my body is sensitive to the levels I do have.

My plan of attack

In addition to my acne, I also struggle with hyperpigmentation after the lesions heal. These dark marks are even harder to make go away so I will just be focusing on getting rid of the lesions right now.

My plan is pretty simple. It involves using a sulfur soap everyday on my areas with acne followed up by a fragrance free lotion. I will also be trying out the Mighty Patch on some of my lesions. If those aren’t working after several weeks, I will start using PanOxyl benzoyl peroxide body wash.

In conclusion

Body acne sucks! It is good that the treatments for our faces can also be for our bodies too though.

I really hope that my plan works and I am excited to get started. Look out for an update in a few weeks time if you are interested!

Do you struggle with body acne? If so, what are using to clear it up?

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: Some of the links on my blog might be affiliate. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase- I get some of the money.

#acne #skincare #skinproblems #tretinoin #beauty #pcos #pcosawareness #hormonalproblems #pms #pmddtreatment

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

How cute is this?!

If you are like me, caffeine is a daily part of your life in some way or another. You may not be able to imagine a life totally without it.

If you are like me, you also may have women’s/non-binary’s health related issues. Could caffeine be making these issues even worse or actually causing them? Those are two questions I was interested in having answered.

So to answer them, I did some research and decided to put up a post about what I learned!

A little bit about caffeine

Caffeine is actually considered a drug but it is accepted and used by many in various forms. It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

It was first isolated in 1819 from mocha (coffee) beans. From there, the usage of caffeine really exploded (it had been gaining popularity since the 1600s). Coffee beans aren’t the only things that it is found in as things like tea, cocoa, Yerba Mate (plant), guarana (plant) and more have it too.

Some things that don’t have caffeine naturally in them, have the extraction added to them. This is the case for energy drinks, energy patches, pre-workout mixes, supplement/vitamin blends. There are also caffeine pills that just have it as the active ingredient.

Caffeine content is generally reported in milligrams. The following is a list of the amounts of caffeine in various commonly consumed things-

  • Kola nuts: 10-50 mg per serving (2-3 nuts).
  • Coffee: 80-130 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Energy drinks: 80-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Soda: 30-58 mg per 12 ounces (Pepsi One has the highest amount).
  • Puerh tea: 60-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Black tea: 40-50 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Yerba Mate: 85 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Oolong tea: 35-75 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Green tea: 20-70 mg per 8 ounces.
  • White tea: 10-60 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Hot chocolate: 5-18 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Chocolate candy: 0-60 mg per serving.
  • Caffeine pills: 100-200 mg per pill.
  • Pre-workout mixes: 150-375 mg per serving.

These numbers are just estimates. There are different variables and factors that go into the actual amount of caffeine that something contains.

Positives and negatives of caffeine

Consuming caffeine can have good and bad effects. The effects that one gets depends on how much they takes of it and how their individual body responds to it.

Here are some of the pleasant as well as uncomfortable things one may experience when putting caffeine in their body:

Positive-

  • May wake you up to be less groggy in the morning.
  • May increase strength for weightlifting workouts.
  • Increase in cardiovascular performance: You may be able to go for longer and/or push harder during cardiovascular work.
  • Fat burning: It may increase your fat burning ability.
  • Increase in memory and alertness: It may help your memory and the ability to be alert for work tasks and learning.
  • May prevent diabetes.
  • May provide a mood boost.
  • May treat headaches and migraines.
  • May decrease the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • May stimulate growth, stop loss and thicken hair.

Negative-

  • Causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or reduce intake. These include GI issues, insomnia and headaches.
  • May make mental conditions worse.
  • May cause anxiety and nervousness.
  • May cause irregular heartbeats.
  • May have a laxative effect and/or cause urine frequency.
  • May change how fast your body breaks down medications.
  • May block the effects of medications.
  • May mess up blood sugar levels.
  • May cause dehydration in your body which in turn may give your skin an aged appearance.
  • May increase blood pressure.
  • May deplete necessary nutrients such as vitamin B6 and B12.

Even though there are benefits to caffeine, taking a lot of it only increases the chances of experiencing the bad effects. Experts say it is best to not take more than 400 mg per day.

Caffeine and hormones

There is some evidence that caffeine can interact with our hormones in negative ways. Here are two hormones that caffeine can effect:

Cortisol-

One of the hormones it may have an effect on is cortisol which is a stress hormone. Caffeine has shown to increase the hormone which then causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Having high blood sugar can lead one to experience things like nausea, increased hunger, headaches and brain fog.

Estrogen-

One thing that has been seen with caffeine is that it can actually last longer in the body when one is taking estrogen treatments or birth control. This is not a good thing as it may be messing up one’s sleep cycle.

Another thing is that it can change estrogen levels especially if too much is taken. The direction that the estrogen level goes in, seems to be dependent on ones race. In Asians and blacks, a rise in estrogen has been seen. This is in contrast to whites in which a decrease in estrogen has been seen.

Variations in estrogen level can lead to things like hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Putting it all together

As you can see, caffeine can have negative effects in regards to women’s/non-binary people’s health. It can:

  • Make anxiety and irritability that is experienced with PMS/PMDD, worse.
  • Mess with one’s sleep cycle which can worsen mood issues (among other things).
  • Raise blood sugar which in turn adds to and/or makes PMS/PMDD symptoms worse.
  • Cause a hormonal imbalance which in turn can cause worse PMS/PMDD, lower sex drive, irregular periods, worsening mental conditions, headaches/migraines, weight gain, hair loss, ovarian cysts, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog and heavy bleeding.
  • Deplete B6 which helps regulate hormones.
  • Deplete B12 which can cause things like mood swings, fatigue, brain fog and memory problems.

Not every woman/non-binary person will experience these things. If one is experiencing a lot of mental and physical discomfort during their cycles, it may be a good idea to look at how much caffeine is being consumed. Quitting or reducing it may be the answer to feeling better.

My caffeine consumption and hormonal issues

I am guilty of having a higher than recommended maximum dosage of caffeine. Each day, I take in around 450-480 mg of caffeine. Yikes right?

I used to get most of my caffeine in the form of coffee, special coffee drinks (caramel macchiato to be exact!) and tea. Now it is mainly just caffeine pills and tea. I typically take 200 mg from the pills in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and another 200 mg from the pills before working out in the evening.

Since upping my intake of caffeine, I believe that I have had worse PMS/PMDD symptoms. When I look back at my health tracking journals, I experienced a lot of severe symptoms up until starting Claritin. It was like I barely ever had a good day.

While things are better, I still have my bad days (bad moods and extreme GI distress) and I think that maybe reducing the amount of caffeine may help me. My plan is to try and get my intake down to 300 mg for a while and see how I do at that amount.

I know that there will be always be some discomfort I feel due to my hormones and life itself but if reducing caffeine can help me in any way- I am willing to take less.

It is your decision

It can be hard to break up with caffeine-either part of the way or all of the way. For some people though, it may be a good idea to be more mindful about how much is being consumed. In terms of women’s/nonbinary health issues, it may be making them worse or it could be the cause of them.

How much caffeine do you take in each day?

Thanks for reading!

#caffeine #caffeinemolecule #womenshealth #nonbinaryhealth #pms #pmddtreatment #hormones #coffee #tea

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

Be Careful With Supplements: Vitex (Chasteberry)

For the past six or so years, I have been continuously trying to figure out how to deal with hormonal issues. This has led me to read about many different supplements and medications that have helped other women who go through the same things as I do.

Vitex (a plant) is one of the things that some women swear by when it comes to dealing with their menstrual cycle issues. Upon learning about it, I decided to try it. Needless to say, my experience with it was not good.

In this post I will be talking all about vitex and specifically how it affected me.

Women’s hormonal discomforts

Many women and non-binary people experience varying levels of discomfort during their menstrual cycles. This can be due to their hormones being out of balance and/or because their bodies are sensitive to hormone shifts. Either way, it is very common.

Some of the things women deal with are as follows:

  • Physical PMS/PMDD symptoms: Acne, bloating, increased hunger, joint aches, headaches/migraines, lightheadedness, breast pain, insomnia and more.
  • Mental PMS symptoms: Sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability etc.
  • Mental PMDD symptoms (more extreme than PMS): Sadness, depression, anxiety, rage, mood swings etc.
  • PCOS: Acne, oily skin, hair loss/thinning, weight gain/difficulty losing, bloating, fertility issues and more.
  • Heavy periods.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Endometriosis flare ups- Abdominal pain, nausea, painful periods, pain during sex and more.
  • Infertility.
  • Menopause/perimenopause- Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, weight gain and more.

There are some other things women and non-binary people go through but these are the most frequently talked about things. Not all women have it bad or experience much of anything though.

Women who want to treat these issues usually end up taking/doing the following things:

  • Birth control: May balance hormones.
  • Diet and exercise: May help to balance hormones and is goes toward an all-around healthy life.
  • HRT: Replaces hormones during menopause.
  • Spironolactone: Blocks androgens and reduces blood pressure.
  • Pain relievers: Tylenol, Advil, Naproxen etc. for aches and pains.
  • Antidepressants: These may help the mood issues some women get during their cycles.
  • Acne products: These can include creams, antibiotics, gels etc.
  • Hair growth products: These can include serums, oils and shampoos/conditioners.
  • Fertility medication and IVF
  • Alternative/Traditional medicine: Some examples include herbal teas, plant extracts in capsules, vitamins etc.

These treatments effect each person differently so it is best to look into them as much as you can and consult with your doctor.

Vitex as a women’s health supplement

Vitex is the name of a plant that is used for women’s health purposes. It is also known as chasteberry and vitex agnus castus. This plant is native to the Mediterranean region which includes Italy, Greece, Spain, Tunisia, Syria, Monaco and Libya.

Vitex needs to be grown in hot and dry conditions with full sun. The tree can grow to be about 10 feet tall and looks great in one’s yard/garden. It is very pretty with violet flowers and berries. Just like most other plants, it contains flavonoids, essential oils and fatty oils.

In traditional medicine starting in the 14th century, the leaves were used for suppression of the libido in men and women. It was eventually found that the leaves and fruit possibly provide hormonal benefits for women. Since this finding, it has been marketed for this purpose.

Its use for women’s hormonal health is due to how it can alter hormone levels. Vitex has been shown in some studies to increase progesterone levels, regulate prolactin levels, increase estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels.

Because of the effects on hormones, some studies and anecdotes claim that it treats the following ailments:

  • Breast pain/tenderness: This is something that commonly occurs around ovulation and shortly before one’s period starts.
  • Bloating: This is something that commonly occurs before one’s period starts and sometimes lasts throughout it. For some women it also occurs during ovulation day.
  • Mood issues: Women who experience PMS or PMDD tend have mood related problems. With PMDD, the mood problems are more severe.
  • Hot flashes: This is commonly seen in menopause but some women also experience it shortly before their periods.
  • Insomnia: This is something that happens shortly before one’s period starts and during menopause.
  • Acne: Some people are plagued with acne before their periods start or the whole month due to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Infertility: Some people have a hard time getting and/or staying pregnant. This can be due to not ovulating frequently and/or progesterone levels being off. Infertility is commonly seen in people with PCOS and endometriosis.
  • Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia): Some people have periods that include a lot of bleeding. This involves needing to change a pad/tampon every hour and passing large clots. These types of periods may even last longer than the usual range of days (2-7 days).
  • Headaches/migraines: These commonly occur shortly before one’s period and during menopause.

Even though the medical research done on vitex isn’t considered as providing the strongest evidence of efficacy, there were some positive results for these issues shown in them. Also, if you take a look at reviews and women’s health forums, you will see that many people have been happy with the supplementation of it.

Despite some people getting good results, there are also many people who have gotten bad results from it. Because of this, it has been found that vitex can cause the following undesirable effects:

  • Worsening headaches/migraines
  • Mood issues
  • Bad acne
  • GI issues
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia

As you can see, taking vitex may lead to uncomfortable side effects. It can potentially add new symptoms or make current ones worse.

Another thing to be aware of is that vitex can interact negatively with certain medication and conditions. Below are some precautions that comes with vitex supplementation:

  • May interact with birth control.
  • May interact with antipsychotics.
  • May interact with Parkinson’s medications.
  • Should not be taken if you have breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.
  • Women with PCOS and endometriosis should think twice about taking it.
  • Should not be taken if you are receiving fertility treatment.
  • Should not be taken by someone with Parkinson’s even if they are not on medication for it.

If one does decide they are going to take vitex, there are quite a few brands that sell it as a supplement. You can find it in capsules, liquid drops and teas. There are even some women’s health related supplement blends that contain it.

Dosages of up to 40 mg of the concentrated fruit extract and up to 1000 mg of the dried fruit are recommended. It is said that supplementing with vitex may take three months of consistent use to start working.

My experience with vitex

I had read about vitex helping some women on a reddit forum. It sounded like it was worth a shot at the time.

Instead of doing research into it, I decided to just buy some right away (not a good idea!). I went with capsules that contained 400 mg of the dried fruit in each one and planned on taking two of them a day as the label stated to do.

I was hoping for the vitex to help me with the bloating, acne, headaches and low moods that I get before my periods. Balancing my hormones with birth control was not something I have ever been excited about so I thought that this could possibly be a good alternative.

Unfortunately, vitex was not a good alternative for me. Yikes!

Every possible negative side effect that one could have from it- I experienced. This meant that the issues I was trying to fix got worse! The nausea, horrific rashes on my back, ice pick headaches etc. were unpleasant to say the least.

The silly thing is that I took vitex for a few weeks because I thought things would get better. Of course they never did so I have no one else to blame but myself for feeling miserable. I should have stopped taking it after a couple days.

Clearly, vitex was and is not for me. You live and you learn I guess. I am really glad that it works for other people though!

In conclusion

Vitex is a hormonal health supplement option for those that are into plant based treatments. There are some benefits that have been seen from it as well as some risks. As with everything, it is best to do some research on it before trying it.

It was disappointing that it didn’t work for me. Since then I have continued to search for ways to make my menstrual cycles go better. All I can do is keep reading and trying things out.

Have you tried taking vitex? If so, what was your experience with it?

If you are interested you can check out my other post about a women’s health supplement (evening primrose oil).

Thanks for reading!

#womenshealth #menstrualcycles #nonbinary #supplements #chasteberrysupplement #vitexsupplement #menstrualcup #periods #pms #pmdd #hormones