Have you noticed how dermatologists are quick to prescribe antibiotics to acne sufferers?  One of the problems with this method of treatment is that continuous use of antibiotics allows antibiotic resistant bacteria to develop.   Along with the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria, there’s also the expense, and lack of long term success that make antibiotic use unappealing.

You can see why more women are looking for alternative ways to treat acne.  We all want something that will work without compromising our health in the process.  Consumers aren’t the only ones who are looking for alternative treatments.  Researchers have also been studying medicinal plants.

They’ve discovered certain plants are great at countering the growth of bacteria and the inflammatory response that it brings.  Some older, preliminary German research suggests that taking Vitex daily is an effective remedy for treating premenstrual acne.   The researchers noted that giving women 40 drops of a concentrated liquid form daily produced good results.


Vitex affects the pituitary gland which in turn regulates the production of a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH). This in turn helps to balance out progesterone and estrogen, slightly raising progesterone.  This balancing act helps regulate the menstrual cycle and reduces hormonal acne breakouts.

Progesterone also serves a very important role in keeping testosterone in check.  It does this by restraining the enzyme 5α-reductase.  This is vital since 5α-reductase transforms testosterone into 5α-dihydrotestosterone (5αDHT).   High levels of the hormone 5αDHT have been linked to acne and are responsible for the rapid increase of oil producing sebocytes.


Vitex helps block prolactin secretion.  This is important for anyone who sufferers from PMS.  Bringing down elevated prolactin levels can ease breast tenderness, cramping, headache, and an irritable mood that develop when PMS strikes.  Need proof?  After conducting a double-blind trial, it was confirmed that Vitex reduces mildly elevated levels of prolactin before a woman’s period.

Studies have also found that taking Vitex once in the morning over several months stabilizes hormones.  When hormones normalize PMS symptoms are easier to tolerate.  So how much did they take to get their hormones to stabilize?  During the trials, women were given 20 mg daily of concentrated Vitex extract.  They took Vitex for three menstrual cycles and reported a significant decrease in PMS symptoms.

Two additional surveys examined 1,542 women who suffered from PMS.  They were instructed to take a German liquid extract of Vitex for as long as 16 years.  On average they each took 42 drops daily.  What were the results?  A whopping 92% of women reported that Vitex was either “very good,” “good,” or “satisfactory.”  That sounds pretty impressive to me.


The German Commission E recommends a daily intake of 30-40 mg of the dried herb-in capsules or in liquid form.  Some healthcare practitioners agree that 40 mg a day in liquid form is the recommended amount.  They also say that you can take the equivalent of that in a dried, powdered extract once daily in the morning.  Always take vitamins with a liquid such as water to avoid choking.   Take Vitex for at least four cycles to see how effective it is for you.


Possible side effects of taking Vitex include a minor upset stomach and a mild skin rash with itching.  You may want to consult with your doctor before taking Vitex.   It is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women or those taking oral contraceptives.  It also shouldn’t be used along with hormone therapy (estrogen, progesterone).


Vitex appears to be safe to take along with food, medicine, and other supplements.  However, it is possible that unknown interactions can exist.  Bear in mind that even the Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every single interaction that could possibly occur.   There are factors that can have an impact on how your body reacts to taking a supplement.


To be on the safe side, check the manufacturers’ package information about details regarding taking supplements with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol.  Last but not least, if you are currently taking any medication, consult with your doctor before taking a supplement.  He or she can discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement to your diet.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is provided as an information resource only.  It is not to be used or relied upon for any treatment or diagnostic purposes.  This information is not intended to be patient education.  It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.   This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition, such as if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a mental condition.  Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.


Join the Conversation

My favorite part of doing these posts is engaging in the conversation they start. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this:

Would you consider taking Vitex?


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