Herbal Treatment For Hormonal Imbalance
The chaste berry (vitex agnus-castus) has been a part of the herbal pharmacopoeia for centuries. The ancient Greek physicians used chaste berry to suppress the libido, aid healing in external wounds, treat complaints of the spleen, and as an aid to childbirth. Taking a tip from the Greeks, the English employed chaste berry to suppress libido and so did the Catholic Church, who placed the herb into the pockets of new monks, to help them keep their vows of chastity. The very name of the herb invokes the idea that it aids in remaining chaste, though no scientific proof exists to support the idea that the herb suppresses libido.
In addition to good general health, the key to conception is ovulation and regulating the menstrual cycle. Vitex (chaste berry) has long been used with excellent results for relieving all sorts of gynecological issues caused by hormonal imbalance. Early American doctors used the herb to help stimulate the production of breast milk in new mothers and as a means of hastening or bringing on menstruation. Today, Vitex is still deemed useful for a variety of female complaints, for instance, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and the absence of menstruation (amenorrhea).
A great many conditions relating to menstruation problems are due to the insufficient production of progesterone during the luteal phase of a woman's cycle. This is called a luteal phase defect or corpus luteum insufficiency and is defined by very low levels of progesterone 3 weeks into a woman's cycle. This, in turn, can cause ovarian cysts to form. Some women who suffer from PCOS are found to have too much prolactin. Vitex can be useful in both cases: in luteal phase defect, and in PCOS.
When there is no menstruation due to a lack of ovulation, this suggests that the body is producing enough FSH to stimulate the ovaries and the ovaries may develop egg follicles, but not enough progesterone is produced to cause the eggs to be released. Vitex affects the hypothalamus and pituitary glands by increasing the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and by helping to inhibit the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This causes progesterone levels to rise, changing the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.