Can Vitex and Maca Root Be Taken Together?
Herbs, herbal extracts, and plants play a significant part in our (family) life, as a choice for medical treatment for all sorts of health problems, including a cough, flu, low libido, ear infection and so on. We rely on herbs 99% not just because they come from mother nature, but also because they are effective, they tend to be safer than medicines (no artificial colors, additives or E…fillers), and we rarely experience any side effects.
When it comes to the premenstrual syndrome or PMS symptoms, and handling irregular menstrual cycles, I also turn to herbs. Both Vitex and maca are two quite often recommended natural remedies, primarily by herbalists, as a safe, well tolerated and effective remedies for treating PMS and for a range of female reproductive conditions. Also, numerous clinical studies document its benefits. I use both to help me cope mainly with PMS.
While some use Vitex only for PMS reasons (like me), others use it for infertility and other female troubles. The same is with maca. Some are using maca to balance hormones and others for infertility or to boost sex drive.
What is Vitex & How Does Vitex Agnus-Castus Work?
Vitex agnus-castus or chaste berry is a shrub that is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia, and it goes back to the 4th century B.C., and even Hippocrates mentions this plant. Since that time, millions of people were consuming this plant, especially in Europe. The bush has long leaves, blue-violet flowers, and dark purple berries. The fruit and seed are used to make medicine. The fruits of the chaste tree contain a mixture of flavonoids and iridoids.
Recorded effects of Vitex In Patients with Female Problems
Menstrual Cycle Irregularities
In a non-interventional, observational study in 2015, a total of 211 patients with menstrual cycle irregularities and menstrual bleeding were taking Vitex Ze 400 extract.
Results: Symptoms such as polymenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, and amenorrhea were improved where 92% of patients were satisfied or very satisfied, and 80% of the patients shared their interest to continue treatment with VAC (Vitex agnus castus) extract. Also, 23% of the patients got pregnant, even though they had an unfulfilled desire to have children (Journal für Gynäkologische Endokrinologie (2015); 9(2):10-15).
In a different randomized, controlled trial, 100 infertile cases with polycystic ovaries were divided into two groups. One group was taking clomiphen citrate 50mg from the second day of menses two tablets per day for five days together with Vitex two tables per day from the first day of menstruation for 14 days. Group two received only clomiphen citrate 59 mg from the second day of menstruation two tablets per day for five days.
Results: The pregnancy rate was 50% in group 1 and 30% in group two. Elsayed, J IVF Reprod Med Genet 2013, 1:2
P.S. Clomiphene Citrate: It causes the pituitary gland to release hormones needed to stimulate ovulation.
Amenorrhoea, Luteal Insufficiency & Idiopathic Infertility
In a 1998 study, three groups of women were taking 30 drops of Vitex over a period of 3 months. Forsch Komplementärmed 1998;5:272-278. Results:
Group 1. 38 women with secondary amenorrhoea experienced spontaneous menstruation or pregnancy. Seven women conceived.
Group 2. 31 women with luteal insufficiency experienced pregnancy or improved concentration of luteal hormones. Four women conceived.
Group 3. women with idiopathic infertility experienced pregnancy or improved concentration of luteal hormones. Four women conceived.
In an open, uncontrolled study, 48 patients with ovarian insufficiency were taking once daily 40 drops of pharmaceutical Vitex in the morning over three cycles (Therapiewoche 1988; 38: 2992-3001).
Results: In 25 patients normalization of the serum progesterone was noticed after three months of Vitex treatment, and in 7 patients a trend towards normalization was observed. The pregnancy rate was 15 % (7 out of 45 patients). During this study, 15 women conceived.
Pregnancy or Spontaneous Menstruation in Women
In a 2012 study, it was investigated the therapeutic effect of Vitex agnus castus on women who had the PMS, in comparison with placebo. From 134 patients, 128 women suffered from PMS. During six days, before menses for six consecutive cycles, 66 women received 40 drops of Vitex agnus extract, and 66 women received placebo. (source).
Results: Vitex agnus showed to be effective and well-tolerated treatment for the relief of symptoms of mild and moderate PMS
P.S. Ze 440 is an extract from the fruits of the plant Vitex agnus-castus, L. (VAC) or chaste tree.
Japanese and Chinese Women
When a study was performed on Japanese women with PMS, aged 18-44 years, the patients received 20 mg of Vitex extract, once daily for three menstrual cycles (source).
Results: Vitex extract improved PMS symptoms in Japanese patients, with no substantial adverse events.
Chinese patients also tolerated well the plant during a study when they received Vitex (40mg herbal drug), and it was considered to be safe and effective drug of the treatment for Chinese women with the moderate to severe PMS (source).
Benefits of Maca and Vitex
– Promotes and maintain a healthy menstrual cycle
– Support hormonal balance in the body without containing any hormones itself
– Encourages a normal luteal phase
– Promotes regular ovulation
– Supports the body’s natural progesterone levels
– Decreases occasional PMS symptoms
– Promote hormone balance (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), without affecting blood hormone levels
– Supports the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland and the reproductive organs
– Supports proper hormonal balance in both men and women
– Improves libido and sex drive in both men and women
– Treats infertility and sterility
– Decreases menopause symptoms… among other benefits
How Does Vitex and Maca Work?
Vitex agnus-castus does not supply hormones, rather directly acts on the hypothalamus and pituitary (HP) glands. This way it affects many hormones that are involved in women’s reproductive cycle. Also, the dopaminergic compounds present in Vitex agnus castus are clinically the essential compounds which improve premenstrual and other menstrual syndromes (source).
Vitex is considered safe, it can be taken for months if required, and most people do not experience any side effects. Uncommon side effects include stomach cramp, itching, nausea, headache, rash, acne, trouble sleeping. Also, it is considered not safe to take Vitex by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as Vitex might interfere with hormones.
When it comes to maca, besides being great endocrine system balancer, it also works on hypothalamus (sex-hormone center of the brain) and the four alkaloids found in the maca root, are acting on the hypothalamus-pituitary gland. Maca also has adaptogenic properties, meaning it has the ability to balance the body’s nervous system, glandular-hormonal system, and cardiovascular system.
My Experience with Vitex and Maca
Since a teenage girl, my periods were never the same. Sometimes I do not have any symptoms whatsoever, but sometimes I’ll go through all possible uncomfortable sensations from breast tenderness, headaches, abdominal and back pain to mood swings (these are the worst), depression and leg pains, below the knees. So, as soon as I sense any PMS signs, I turn to either Vitex or maca, or both. The results are always positive, meaning, reduced symptoms to its minimum, or diminished PMS symptoms. In my opinion, I get these PMS symptoms usually due to hormonal imbalance or increased stress. When that happens, I add to my herbal mix also Vitex, just for a few months and until I get back in balance. Going off and on Vitex worked for me quite well and I never experienced any side effects.
I have been also using maca for a long time. Never had any side effects. The main reason I use maca is to balance hormones and because it is nutritionally reach food. I have no other medical conditions, and I am not taking any meds. Maca is staple food, not a supplement and I use it as such, as an addition to my diet, like Peruvian people would do. When it comes to Vitex and Maca, I do not think they counteract each other, instead compliment. And both Maca and Vitex are beneficial for a range of women reproductive conditions.
Should You Take maca and Vitex Together?
Vitex works by stimulating the pituitary gland to increase the production of luteinizing hormone helping stimulate ovulation and the production of progesterone. Maca supports progesterone production without having a hormonal effect on the body, and it is considered to be more of a fertility food than a supplement and can be added to any diet. Should you take maca and Vitex mix? If you tried neither of these two plants, I would almost suggest you first test each plant individually (try maca for three months then Vitex for three months) and in small quantities. After that, it will be easier to decide which of these two plants works best for your body. Start slow, observe and wait.
Where to Buy Vitex and Maca and What is the Dosage?
If you have browsed our Maca Guru pages you’ll know that we love buying our products on Amazon.com. One reason is because we often travel (overseas) and as a result it is not always practical to take with us our favorite protein and vitamin powders. Also, not every country has exact products we need. This is why we opt to buy most of our health food products from Amazon, regardless in what country we end up.
Vitex is available in powdered extracts, standardized extracts, and tinctures. Look for Chasteberry (Vitex) in various formulas for women, as a tincture or capsules. Here you can check our recommended Vitex products.
When it comes to dosage, the dose-effect relationship for the treatment of PMS was studied. Here,162 female patients with PMS (18-45) consumed different doses of Ze 440 (8, 20 and 30 mg) over three menstrual cycles. During the study time, the following symptoms were observed, irritability, mood alteration anger, headache, bloating and breast fullness. After the three menstrual cycles, VAC extract Ze 440 was effective in relieving symptoms of PMS when applied in a dose of 20 mg, which is an ideal daily dose suggested by researches (source).
So, if your have PMS, 20mg of Ze 440 extract is an ideal dosage. Just make sure you follow the recommended dosage found on the package you buy.
Maca is also available in different forms, and when it comes to what type of maca to purchase, we prefer in a powder form. But as not everyone will like maca taste, capsules and tablets are also a good option. You can see all our recommended maca products here: Maca products tried and tested.