I have been heading over to some forums lately to help spread the word about my site and discovered quite a bit of information and encouragement from women suggesting we take Vitex/chasteberry to heal or help with Endo. Naturally, I had to look into Vitex a little more.
Vitex has been widely known as a woman’s herb with claims to be able to overcome PMS, irregular periods, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and of course infertility. It can be used as a powder, tincture or tea. It is a small pepper-like fruit of a Mediterranean shrub.
How does it work?
It stimulates the luteinizing hormone production which inhibits the follicle stimulating hormone. This increases our progesterone and inherently reduces estrogen in the process. For those of you who are new to this site, many Endometriosis sufferers have estrogen dominance which is the cause of many of our problems. Reducing this high level would be a good tactic… to some of us.
Thing is, I continued with my research and discovered websites which indicated that Vitex does contain some estrogenic properties.
Now, I can see the benefits illustrated by many of these cases as it would offer some relief within a short-term trial. Initially we would stimulate overproduction of progesterone which would lower the estrogen and we would have less symptoms, pain, PMS etc. However, the problem comes in when we a)stop the course or b) continue for too long on the course.
Estrogen dominance is ultimately still just an indicator of an imbalance within our body. I don’t agree with playing with our hormones. Yes, some would disagree that Vitex is a completely natural product with no side effects, however we are still “playing God” with our body. We are allowing ourselves to determine which tap to turn on and which tap to turn off. We are stimulating a production of a particular hormone to reduce another hormone. This goes for progesterone creams, phytoestrogens and various other recommendations for Endometriosis. They are ultimately simply reducing a problem by its symptom, not by its cause.
Does anyone ever wonder why the estrogen dominance has occurred in the first place? It seems logical to me to find the real root of the problem and heal that than simply trying to reduce yet another symptom with a herb, drug or other treatment. By stimulating and healing the liver, we can ultimately allow the body to determine what it really needs and not try and control the side effects.
So no, I don’t feel we should be taking Vitex/chasteberry for Endometriosis. I think we are not delving deep enough into the real root of our problem and I don’t believe it would ultimately heal/cure endometriosis, which is after all our goal!