Chasteberry dosage for menstrual cycle?

thorndncrSeptember 1, 2007

In doing some research into herbs to regulate menstrual cycles, chasteberry (vitex, monk's pepper) has come up. According to the articles I've seen, it seems to impact hormone levels, particularly progesterone. As low progesterone is associated with certain irregularities and heavy and/or long-term bleeding, I suspect that the effects of vitex might be helpful to my particular problems. Birth control pills, which I recently stopped after several years, did correct both bloodflow and irregularity, so the adjustment of hormones attributed to chasteberry is appealing. Just to clarify: although chasteberry is associated with increased fertility, presumably through regulation, I am seeking only to normalize highly irregular cycles.

(Apologies if anyone finds remarks about bleeding to be too graphic -- then again, "menstrual" WAS in the subject line.) :)

There is enough information out there that vitex seems worth trying; however, I am curious to know more about proper doses. Most of the more scientific articles I've come across have indicated that 20-40mg daily is an appropriate dosage, while the commercially distributed supplements seem to have upwards of 400mg. Teas also exist, but I have not found anything to show the amount present in a prepared cup. Is anyone familiar with this herb and its appropriate application?

Many thanks for any advice!

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As long as you're aware that Vitex IS very toxic (look up Vitus agnes), and be very careful whose version you use. I imagine some of the ones you see out there may be full of filler ingredients of various kinds, which could explain why they seem to be larger doses (vs the amount of the Vitex alone that you want) but people also probably take them for other reasons that call for more. This is the trouble with these kind of meds - people first 'diagnose' themselves (take a totally unscientific guess), then find wildly differing answers as to what to take for their problems, and wonder why it's so hard to find how much of which supplement to take (in what form) for what they have decided is wrong with them! After all, you can't call a regular doctor to ask about them, or a pharmacist, and anyone else you might find somewhere who took the substance sometime for who knows what reason, may not remember correctly how much they took, or be aware whether or not it was the supp. that in fact made them feel better (given that a huge percentage of ills do improve on their own regardless of what you do or not), etc. And what was the right amount for one friend, may be all wrong for another, but who will decide that (knowing nothing of either's true all round medical state)?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 5:23AM
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I don't remember what doses my wife used (it was a few years ago). One thing I do remember is that it takes a few months/cycles to reach full effect. There is a link to an monograph below that mentions anywhere from 30 mg to 600 mg of the berry has been used in various studies.

Gee, Lucy, I didn't know that Vitex is "Very Toxic." Neither did the Physician's Desk Reference. (

The doctors in the German Commission E also seem to think it is pretty safe.

One study from an MD reported the following:

"Potentially toxic compounds in vitex: None known"
"Acute toxicity: Side effects are rare"

Oh, wait, this must be what you are talking about - I found a study where the leaf extract (herbalists use the seed) of Vitex negundo (a completely different species) is very toxic - if you are a mosquito larvae!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Vitex Monograph

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 9:32AM
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Hmmm - I was repeating what I'd heard a long time ago, and should know better! I have no excuse :-) unless it's that I was possibly thinking of a S. American plant that has really poisonous berries, often used in making 'folk' jewellery, which if chewed can kill, and for some reason mixed them up in my mind.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 9:42PM
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This thread is positively ancient but I wanted to add my own experience with this so others interested in trying Vitex can have a more varied view of the whole thing. I started taking Vitex on the recommendation of my naturopathic doctor.

The reason it was prescribed was to combat symptoms of PMS which have been getting worse for me as I age.

I purchased the product from her as she sells a purportedly high quality line of supplements only available to practitioners. The brand is Medi Herb and is 500 mg Vitex agnus-costus. I was "prescribed" 2 tablets daily in the morning. I started taking it in October, 2009 as prescribed. I didn't expect much to change during the first 2 months because it evidently takes time for the supplement to show results. Four months in I still didn't notice a difference. Bloating, cramping and headaches, not to mention plenty of crankiness still about the same level. About 5 months in, I started noticing that my skin has become very dry, I have a patch of ecxema on my eyelid, my throat is really dry, but slowly over the weeks my heart rate has been increasing right up until today where it's high enough to scare me. As I think about it, when I wake up in the morning, my heart rate seems normal, then I go take 2 vitex and by noon, my heart is pounding. By evening, it's slowed down some, the longer I have taken the vitex, the higher my heart rate climbs.

Naturally, you have to consider if there have been any other changes in your life that might cause this but there aren't any. I work out 2 hours per day, am lucky enough not to have to work, and my days are my own. I don't have particularly stressful days. The only difference I can think of is this Vitex. The research I see on the net says that there are relatively few side effects but it depends where you look. A lot don't mention higher heart rate but some do and have more comprehensive lists of potential problems. I am a very active person who has been healthy up to this point. I exercise a lot and I eat pretty well too. My heart rate today at noon was 94 as I was trying to have a nap. I'm just saying - be careful and make sure if you take it that you ask for some advice from someone knowledgeable. I am sincerely freaked out about a 94 heart rate when I am supposedly so fit.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 7:01PM
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I recently purchased the chasteberry (vitex) Extract 0.05% agnusides and would like to know what would be the correct dosage?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:27PM
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My daughters age is 12 and her menses are not stopping from last 25 days Can anyone tell me will Vitex work and what dosage should be given ? Any other sugestion. Doctors advised to wait for more 4 weeks.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 9:40PM
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If the excessive cycle is caused from progesterone deficiency, then yes, vitex may help. If you're using an alcohol extract of 1:2 ratio, give her 1/4-1/2 teaspoon in the morning. Do this for 2 weeks. If it doesn't help with the next scheduled cycle, then it's not going to help. It's easy to do it as a process of elimination (no pun intended).

Also, I get a mental picture here of her being thin build. Does she also have constipation? This must be addressed, too. If she is, I'll post more later.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Vitex affects the levels of many hormones...specifically it lowers dopamine (a neurotransmiiter) and increases progesterone levels .... very low dopamine or very high progesterone levels can both result in depression.

Vitex is contraindicated for use by those who tend toward depression naturally.

Even though its an herb its a powerful one...not for casual use. Use it only if confident its right for you.
It can do wonders when matched to the right person.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:18PM
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P.S. The menstrual cycle is controlled in great part by the liver so optimizing liver function will often correct cycle irregularities. I regulated my cycles this way and it was more than a temporary fix, it actually resolved the problem for good. No problems since!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 7:58PM
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Hello. I have had pcos for over ten years now. I have been on multiple bc pills and the last bunch (desogen) gave me such horrible migraines. I can't handle them anymore. Thought about giving chasteberry a chance. Any advice on dosage for pcos issues.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:22PM
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kerrie, what do your blood labs say about your hormone levels? there seem to be two types of pcos presentations, one shows excess androgens (male hormones) and the other excess you know which type you are manifesting?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:45PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Kerrie- Let me just say I'm not an expert or anything, but have been dealing with pcos for a number of years now. I am experiencing some really depressing issues with it currently, so can understand your frustration.

I am a lurker on this forum, but haven't commented (note above about being an in-expert, lol). Really wanted to post to yours though since I have the same problems.

Last year I went off bc (yasmin) because of the same thing- experiencing a migraine after my period that would be so bad I would spend the day vomiting. I do rather regret going off of it, due to worsening symptoms from the sudden upset in hormones from stopping it. I resumed taking them again in Nov, but this time starting the new pack after having my period for only four days, instead of seven. I suspected (and was confirmed by a specialist I go to) that the migraines were a result of my estrogen tanking from the whole week off of it (period week). It's worked wonderfully- not even the whisper of a migraine since.

Have you thought of maybe going on a different low-androgen bcp? Were you wanting to go fully natural, or are you open to Western medicine too?

Many doctors now agree that pcos is the symptom of a greater cause, insulin resistance, which is essentially the beginnings of pre-diabetes. Have you had a glucose test done before? You might consider having a 1hr/fasting glucose test to see where you are at with that.

Even if the tests DO come back within the normal range one can still have insulin resistance- your just not bad off enough to have it show on the test. That was my case. I've since changed my diet (no sugar, hardly any grains and few starches) to help it from worsening. I'm also taking NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) which is supposed to help with insulin resistance/pcos symptoms.

It's the same with hormone tests. Even if your tests do come back "within the normal range" it still may not be right for you- this was also my case. To reduce the androgens I went on the drug Aldactone (generic Spironolactone). My total T dropped from 95 in Nov. to 10 in late Jan. For a natural alternative you might try saw palmetto (which I also take, lol), as it is an anti-androgen.

Ps. not positive, but I believe one may have BOTH high estrogen and androgen levels. My doctor said in Nov that my progesterone was a bit low and that my male hormones might be high for me (although in the "normal" range for most women.

I've always thought that "estrogen dominance" is in relation to the estrogen:progesterone ratio, where there is a decrease in progesterone, thus making your estrogen the dominant one in that relationship.

DIM (Diindolylmethane) is also good for general regulating of hormones. It's made from cruciferous vegetables, so is very safe. I've been taking it awhile too.

I've got several pages collected of natural alternatives for pcos that I have come across, but I will refrain from posting more since I've likely been overly longwinded yet again, LOL.

Again, I am not an expert. Just sharing some of my thoughts on it... ;-)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:07PM
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