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.