Chaste Tree Bears Fruit for PMS Relief
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Side effects were few and minor, with only one woman stopping the drug (because of pregnancy). But although the herbal product appears to be generally safe, it is still a drug, albeit a "natural" one, Eagon cautions.
"One of the biggest things that people get into with herbals is that they think they're harmless. They're not harmless; these are very potent drugs," she tells WebMD.
"Vitex is quite potent," she says. "In fact, we've shown that Vitex probably enhances the action of one's own hormones. So if a woman has some estrogen on her own and she takes Vitex, it may actually enhance the [effects of natural estrogen], more than just herbs plus the extract."
Therefore, any woman tempted to try Vitex or other herbs should consult her physician, especially if she is taking hormones in birth control pills or is trying to become pregnant. And if she does opt to try Vitex, she should give it some time to work, Eagon says, just as with other drugs prescribed for PMS.
"Generally speaking, one needs to take them a month to see any kind 'oh yes, I feel better' effect," she says.