I'm not sure whether this helps with my hormonal cystic acne but it made a world of difference to my horrendous mood swings. Evening Primrose never worked for me but this stuff does. I take either 500mg or 1000mg daily, throughout my cycle and have a break for a month every now and then as it's recommended to do this. It's also known as Chasteberry or Agnus Castus.
I started taking Vitex for my PMS in the hope that it would be beneficial. But oh how wrong was I! This stuff should be made a controlled substance, that's how bad it is. It made me gain weight like crazy, gave me tons of zits and made me depressed and miserable. I have never been an advocate for herbal medicine and this was the final straw that made me decide to never ever try 'natural' and 'alternative' medicine again.
I am shocked that this disgusting stuff is legal!
Wowa I didn't even know there are reviews here.
On short- I hate this thing because it gave me the most terrible deep cysts I ever had in my life! On my neck and on my chin. I will never touch it again! Ever.
Can't believe I never wrote a review for this one.
I've read so many reviews about how this worked wonders for so many people, but NOTHING has ever broken me out as quickly and as badly as Vitex. I understand now that it's probably because my hormonal imbalance was the kind that'd get exacerbated by Vitex (high progesterone, low estrogen), but still. I guess, on the plus side, it made it VERY clear to me that I do not have a progesterone deficiency.
Some background: I fucked up, took Plan B a few months ago, and started experiencing cystic breakouts that basically entirely covered my chin and jaw. I knew they were a result of my hormones being out of whack, so I looked it up on the Internet and Vitex came up as something people use to "balance their hormones," supposedly. I now know that it doesn't "balance hormones" so much as it just increases progesterone over estrogen, which is probably good for most people (not me) since most people are estrogen dominant, which causes PMS symptoms/acne before a period, etc. So if those are your symptoms, go for it! I found out later though that my Plan B pill was just a mega-dose of progesterone, and I was actually really low in estrogen (dry skin, no sex drive, fatigue, excessive sleepiness, etc.)
So, when I took Vitex (not even the recommended 3 pills on the bottle, just 2) I was extremely freaked out what it did to me. Within TWO HOURS of my taking them, I started getting extremely hungry, like I hadn't eaten in days and days. I literally couldn't stop stuffing my face, and my stomach would be growling EVEN when I could tell that my stomach was full--it didn't make any sense. I then got excessively sleepy, like jet-lag, can't-keep-my-eyes-open-for-one-more-second sleepy, and basically passed out on the train and missed my stop by thirty minutes. When I woke up my muscles felt really weak, my mouth was really dry like I'd just finished running a marathon, and my face was really oily. I could already feel new, deep cystic spots growing on my chin, but I had to go to class so I pressed on. As I was walking though, I noticed my chest hurt like HELL, like I was having a heart attack or something, it was just very tight, and I could feel my heart beating really fast, and I was out of breath just from walking normally. I couldn't take deep breaths (felt like my lungs shrunk drastically) and I noticed it hurt to swallow, like my throat was swollen. Got scared, decided to go home, and started getting really depressed and irritable later at night. I do have a history of insomnia and depression, but this was really just something else; I haven't felt suicidal like that in YEARS. In total I had SEVEN new cysts pop up on my forehead and all along my jawline, as well as two on my back and one on my chest.
It was crazy, the absolute worst experience I've had with a supplement in my entire life. I guess I just thought because of its claims that it works "gently," and that it takes a while to work, that it couldn't hurt THAT much. I later looked it up and even talked to my doctor about it (because the depression/breathlessness didn't go away for a few days), and he referred me to a gynecologist who told me that those were all pregnancy/excess progesterone symptoms. They happen when you're pregnant because of the progesterone your body creates, but not to this extent. She advised me to throw the bottle away, and put me on estrogen-based birth control pills, which so far seems to be controlling my breakouts. Be careful what you believe on the Internet. In my experience, Vitex doesn't "regulate hormones" and it doesn't "make only as much hormones as your body needs."
Supplements are scary, guys. Especially if they're not right for you. Treat them like you would a lion at a zoo.
EDIT: Forgot to add, for like a week after I took those 2 (TWO!!!) pills, I still had the tight chest, heart palpitations, and swollen throat. Also, I broke out in more cystic pimples for three days after I took it. I don't know what the hell it did to my hormones, but I'm so glad I didn't take this thing for multiple days.
UPDATE: My heart palpitations/throat swelling wouldn't go away and even got worse for a few days, so I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism induced by progesterone dominance. Doctor said it's gonna take me at least two months of medication to be treated. Please guys, be careful.
My periods have been awful since I went off hormonal b/c about 3 years ago, but my last one took the gold in the F**k This S**t Olympics. PMS symptoms that are like having the stomach flu? I can deal with that; I'm a *champ* at that (thank you IBS). Migraines? Pfft. Been having those since I was a teenager. Exhaustion so bad I sleep for 20 hours a day and then wake up the next to do it all over again? To an insomniac like me that's like a damn vacation.
What I can't deal with is the sudden onslaught of cramps that feel like somebody is twirling my internal organs around a fork like so much spaghetti. One minute I was sitting there painting my nails feeling pretty spiffy, and the next I was in so much pain crawling (literally - crawling) to my bed felt as impossible as crawling to the moon. I've had bad menstrual cramps before, but nothing that descended on me with the speed and intensity that those ones did, because it happened just that fast. I spent the next 4 hours sweating and shivering from the pain, and lying as still as possible so as not to make it worse.
They didn't go away completely (I've never had that kind of luck - obviously), and I spent most of the next three days in bed because I was fine if I wasn't moving, but if I was? No. Just no. And I had pretty much decided to go back on b/c until I read an article about the Nuvaring - the only hormonal b/c that's never given me awful side effects in addition to keeping me barren - in Vanity Fair that changed my mind (and made me count my blessings because I used it for a decade w/o issue).
So with that no longer an option I started researching other methods for regulating my hormones and stumbled upon Vitex. And to make an already long story a little shorter, I started taking it a week ago today. The first thing I noticed - and I noticed it by the second/third day taking the supplement -, was that my skin was clearing pretty dramatically. Not that I knew this at the time because my periods have been erratic the last few years, but normally the week before my period my skin breaks out something awful. This week? Two spots, one of which is because I've had a runny nose and constantly blowing it *always* gives me a zit right at the base of my septum.
But because of my lack of pre-period acne and literally having no other PMS symptoms (no weird food cravings, and ZERO pre-period depression, though I was still easily annoyed, in retrospect) I was shocked as s**t this evening when I was getting ready to take the dog for a walk and felt a little twingy ache that turned into full-blown, pretty-sure-death-would-be-better cramps inside of 5 minutes. I was even more shocked when I could finally hobble from my bed to my desk to check my calender and found that it's 4 weeks to the day since my last period; I've been going anywhere from 4-7 weeks (or longer) between them the last few years.
So it didn't do anything for the cramps, which is why I started taking it in the first place, BUT I've only been taking it a week and it says right on the bottle it can take several months of consistent use to be fully effective. Considering how great I felt all last week, I'm willing to give it that chance. For the time being I'm going to start taking a Red Raspberry Leaf supplement as well since it's supposed to be dynamite for dealing with cramps.
And I'll admit, the lack of acne is a very, VERY nice bonus ;)
**For the record I'm taking Nature's Way Vitex - 400mg, 3x daily, and will continue to do so for the next 8-12 weeks before dropping down to 400mg, 1x daily, as per the instructions on the bottle**
Update 7/2014 - Still taking 400mg of Vitex a day, and still loving it. My skin is still clear, my periods have been clock-work regular for months (honestly, in regards to this it's like being on hormonal b/c again - period arrives right on time, lasts 5 days of which the first few days are the heaviest and then tapers off steadily into nothing - sorry if that's TMI). My PMS symptoms are well regulated and minimal - I get the occasional food craving, but I'm not desperately trying to consume every peanut butter cup w/in a three state radius anymore.
As for the cramps, they were still pretty awful until I started taking a Calcium-Magnesium supplement 3 or 4 months ago (21st Century Healthcare Cal-Mag-Zinc+D if anyone's curious). Like the Vitex it's one of those things that take consistent use over time to get the full benefit from, but it's helped me tremendously. I still get cramps, but they're not the sudden, crippling onslaught they once were; usually I just pop a single extra-strength Tylenol and I'm good to go.
I highly recommend going ORGANIC when consuming any herbs.
The actual Chaste Berries, also called Vitex, are wonderful and are available through companies like Mountain Rose Herbs.
You can buy the berries for about 8 bucks a pound.
Crush the berries and make a beautiful, healing tea.
Alternatively, you can also purchase organic Vitex powder for only about 9 bucks a pound.
You can consume the powder in a smoothie or pack your own empty gelatin capsules for your desired dosage.
I'm sure there are other companies that sell organic Vitex/Chaste Berries and powder,
but this is the best price I've found and I genuinely trust this company.
It's truly wonderful to see women on this site looking to herbs for hormonal balance, instead of dangerous drugs, in order to heal themselves: I'm just concerned that the chemical pesticides in conventionally grown herbs will negate the positive and healing effects of this wonderful herb.
Happy Healing! :-)
Well i wanted to use vitex mainly because of pimples i get when i'm on my period ,.,i get little whiteheads on my cheeks most of the time but don't really get painful pimple just when i'm on my period i get like two or three pimple that get inflamed , i been lately having PMS i get those painful cramps and i just feel fatigue and i don't want to get up from bed so that was another reason i wanted to use vitex,.,.well i was reading reviews in another website about how Vitex makes you break out even more when you start to use it ,that depending on your hormonal levels vitex can make you acne better or worst! And even though i read the warnings i wanted to try it for my painful cramps,.,well i was using it for 12 days and i kept feeling cramps but i wasn't on my period , then i started to breakout on my jawline and the sides of my cheeks ,i got a cyst on the side on one cheek and 2 cyst on the other side of my cheek and also on my jaw ,.,UGH! i got so Mad because i really wanted this to completely get rid of my little whiteheads and when i breakout when i'm on my period , but it just made it worst ,i really don't have bad looking skin just that Vitex really broke me out bad i don't get cystic pimples at all on my cheeks or forehead so i completely stop using it ,.,i then started to drink this vitamin called Zinc Picolinate in the morning because it controls the hormone that is responsible for acne and oily skin and also if you have copper toxity you get PMS and Zinc lowers Copper so you don't get PMS i also drink this vitamin called Magnesium glycinate that's also good for the skin and for PMS ,,.good thing i researched this hopefully it helps ,.,but Overall don't use vitex if you don't know your hormonal levels, because messing with your horomones is not a good thing at all ,., now i have to deal with scarring on the side of my cheeks ugh that sucks -.-
Acne has plagued me for several years now. It was mild in my teens and then turned severe around age 20. After getting my acne under control I was fine for several months but then the deep cysts and pustules began to form again. I was bummed to have to find another way to fight the battle. The derm gave me retin-a and skinoren to use which yes helped significantly but I was still getting those troubling deep bumps.
Long story short---- I have been using Vitex for 3 months. Miracle worker? No but it, along with the occasional use of a topical, has helped me keep my acne under control.I have noticed that during my usual breakout period instead of getting large deep bumps I get a smaller surface one that goes away much faster. I believe this product is helping my body to control hormones in a way that benefits my face. I expect to see increased results as time goes by and I'm happy to have an alternative to taking the pill.
I say try it, you don't have much to lose. And I'm terrible at remembering to take the darn pill so I started putting it on my breakfast plate. Seeing it there after eating helps me not to forget.
I started taking Vitex mainly to help with my hormonal acne. However I have really irregular and heavy periods and bad flu-like PMS symptoms as well. I think I took Vitex for about 4-5 months and saw very little improvement in my acne but my periods got shorter and more regular. They were still heavy but they didn't last for weeks like they used to. I kept taking Vitex anyway since it didn't seem like it was hurting and about 9 months in I noticed I had way less acne and my period was finally once a month, which I've never had before. A little over a year of use and my acne became almost non-exsistant and my period is lighter, and almost always around the same time every month for about a week. I no longer noticed any flu-like feeling before my period but still got bad migraines. It's now been about a year and a half and I no longer break out unless I'm under a lot of stress. My period, which was once weeks at a time and sometimes only had a couple weeks in between, or other times skipped months, can now be predicted to the day, lasts only a couple days, and is very light. I can't believe my period is actually normal! It no longer disrupts my life and drains me of all my energy. I rarely get migraines and they not before my period, which makes me think they're from stress or other causes. So for me it was by no means a quick fix, but if you're willing to be patient it might really help you a lot. I'm so grateful to MUA for telling me about this product!
I tried this for my hormonal breakouts. I'd been taking 1 pill (400 mg) a day for about 3 weeks when I hit my usual breakout time of month, and holy cow, it was almost twice as bad as usual. I've read that people get different results from this product depending on their hormone levels, so apparently it tipped mine in the wrong direction.