Vitex For Hair Growth: Yes & No

Vitex (chasteberry) is a traditional herb known for menstrual regulation. It’s tempting to turn to chasteberry if your hair loss is related to irregular periods, but it’s actually more important to figure out why your periods are irregular in the first place. Chasteberry, or vitex has been used for decades to treat a wide variety of menstrual irregularities and PMS symptoms. There are some situations where using vitex to treat irregular periods will further support hair growth and there and other situations where vitex could worsen hair loss.

Vitex for hair growth

Vitex for High Prolactin and Hair Loss

If your period is irregular because of high prolactin, then vitex can help regulate your period and support your hair growth! Prolactin is a pituitary hormone that promotes lactation during pregnancy and helps to regulate other hormones. High levels of prolactin is associated with hirsutism (extra-body hair), anovulatory cycles (where you might bleed, but don’t necessarily ovulate), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and low thyroid. Vitex helps regulate prolactin, which helps limit the role dihydrotestosterone in hair loss.

[Prolactin upregulates 5-alpha reductase. 5-alpha is necessary to transform testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) the type of testosterone that shrinks hair follicles (Briden, 195). Therefore, regulating prolactin, limits the harmful effects of DHT on hair growth.]

Discover the 5 Essential Habits for Hair Growth

Vitex Doesn’t Heal PCOS

If your irregular periods are related to PCOS, then using Vitex to treat your symptoms could worsen hair loss. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common diagnosis for women who display a cluster of androngenous symptoms, including hair loss, high luteinizing hormone, and irregular periods.

According to Dr. Lara Biden, Vitex is not recommended for women with PCOS, because the herb can further elevate luteinizing hormone (LH), which is often already elevated in women with PCOS. A surge in luteinizing hormone is necessary to cue your ovary to release an egg, but abnormally elevated LH can prevent ovulation and cause your ovaries to produce androgens (like testosterone), which would further contribute to hair loss.

Treating Testosterone Imbalances with Vitex

If your hair loss is not related to PCOS, but occurs along with insulin insensitivity, then vitex could play a positive role in your hair growth. This 2019 study found that Vitex improved insulin sensitivity, which reduced fasting insulin. Regulating insulin is a key part of balancing your hormones, including testosterone. Elevated insulin is related to elevated testosterone, and elevated testosterone contributes to hair loss.

The key point here: work to understand the underlying cause of your hair loss before choosing an herbal supplement! Once you have a strong understanding of the imbalance that’s driving hair loss, you can start to correct the imbalance with diet and stress management routines. (The influence of diet and stress management routines exceeds the influence of herbal supplements) Dialing in your diet and lifestyle routines will support hormone balance and internal harmony.

Love Your Body!

Hair loss is a challenge for every woman at any age. Healing your body and reversing hair loss is absolutely possible! If your hair loss is caused by hormonal imbalances, then the first step is to balance your lifestyle, look at your diet, exercise and stress management routines. Does your lifestyle support insulin balance, oxytocin production and cortisol metabolism? Herbs have a powerful effect on the body, but it’s the day-to-day action that keep our systems balanced.

This is your opportunity to focus on health. Reversing female hair loss is a journey of inner and outer transformation, physical healing, and self-love. Take a moment every day to appreciate yourself exactly as you are.

Learn about other supplements for female hair loss in this guide: Hair Growth Supplements

>>What is your favorite self-love affirmation? What are your favorite monthly, daily, or weekly self-care routines? Share your story in the comment section below!

References

  1. Briden, L. (2018). Period repair manual: natural treatment for better hormones and better periods. San Bernardino, CA: GreenPeak Publishing.

8 thoughts on “Vitex for Hair Growth: Yes & No”

  1. Hi Cassy,
    My name is Monica and I am currently suffering from Hormonal hair loss. It is making me self conscious about how I look and wish I could regain my thick hair. I am 2 years postpartum and had a known mild thyroid issue. I decided to get off medications and heal myself with vitamins, herbs, and dietary changes. I have not been checked since last year for my thyroid and I am scared to get checked. I feel that modern medicine has failed me and doctors as well. With my lifestyle and diet changes I feel great! Almost too good to be honest. Now my hair has taken a toll. What else can I do? I feel like I am all alone on this healing journey.

    Reply
    • You are not alone sister! About 50% of women experience thinning hair at some point in there lives. I share your frustration with modern medicine and I fully support your commitment to self-care! Are you working with a holistic practitioner to heal your thyroid? Stressing about unknown test results is working against your healing potential. It sounds like it’s time to get retested! Knowledge cures fear. Once you know the results, you can dive back in to the healing process.

      Once your diet and supplement routine is dialed in, it’s time to focus on stress management. Stress is the biggest threat to our health, it is a major obstacle when trying to regrow hair. Light to moderate exercise on a daily basis, is a great way to get out of your head and into your body. Pumping and re-oxygenating your blood will help clear cortisol from your blood stream while releasing dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin to lift your mood. The core task in managing stress associated with hair loss is to trust your body’s ability to heal and let go of fearful thinking.

      Once all of that is in place, it will take time to see your maximum biological regrowth. If you want to see more dramatic results, look into regenerative medicine. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are a popular regenerative modality that utilize your own platelets to regrow hair.

      If you’d like more information about PRP injections, I can write a post for you. In the meantime, here is a link to a clinical study which found that PRP injections significantly improved hair regrowth.

      Reply
  2. Plesse help! I have been taking vitex and it is making my hair thin out!! What can I take to reverse this? What hormone would it be raising or lowering that is causing this? Should I take saw palmetto to try to fix this?

    Reply
    • Hi Meredith,
      I’ve been doing a bunch of research and I’ve teased out some of the underlying currents of hormonal imbalance as related to hair loss. The potential for vitex to help reverse hair loss depends on the imbalance that lead to extra shedding in the first place. I updated with article with information I learned about the connection between PCOS, vitex, and testosterone. Thank you for taking the time to share. If you aren’t already, this is definitely an issue to work on with a holistic practitioner!

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for writing! I love hearing from my readers <3

        I'm not a doctor so I can't offer medical advice, but from what I read in Dr Lara Briden ND's book "Period Repair Manual" Vitex could help!

        I learned a few more things about prolactin that you might find interesting... Are you or were you recently breastfeeding? You may remember from the post, prolactin supports lactation. Prolactin levels should drop three months after you've stopped breastfeeding, but can remain high.

        If breastfeeding isn't a factor in your case, here are some other reasons prolactin may be elevated:

        1) stress
        2) alcohol
        3) hormonal birth control
        4) stomach acid tablets
        5) some types of psychiatric medications
        6) some types of blood pressure medications
        2) thyroid disease
        3) prolactinoma - a pituitary tumor

        Dr. Briden suggests that Vitex can promote ovulation by preventing the pituitary gland from making too much prolactin.
        But remember, it's powerful medicine! Don't take Vitex if you're on a fertility drug or if you're younger than 18. She also recommends not to take vitex for more than 6 months continuously. If vitex is a good fit for you, she recommends taking it first thing in the morning, before breakfast and pulsing the dose by stopping for 5 days every 25 days.

        I hope this helps!
        <3/ Cassy

        Reply
  3. Hey Cassy,
    I’ve always been self-conscious about the size of my forehead+widow-peak combo, and in the past week have suddenly realised it’s receding and thinning at my temples. I literally couldn’t be happier that I’ve found your website. I’ve gone from pretty much having a break-down, feeling completely alone, overwhelmed, and unloveable to knowing that I have to take charge of this calmly, start researching, but above all show myself some compassion and care. Thank you for providing this solace and this information. It genuinely feels like a life-line.
    I’ve been taking Vitex for the past year and a half without a break, so I’m definitely changing that. And will read up on your vitamin and antioxidant info.
    So thanks again for making me feels less helpless and alone.

    Reply
    • Hi Sophi,

      Thank you for your heartfelt message! I’m so glad you found my blog. There are so many ways we can collaborate with our bodies to increase natural hair growth. I’m all for lifestyle changes like stress release, exercise, and food choices that have a long term impact on our internal health and amplify the effect of herbs & topicals. Ideally the changes we make and the herbs we take will be aimed at correcting the root cause of hair loss (stress, nutrient deficiency, or hormonal changes). It can take time to uncover the true cause, but you’re already connecting with the essence of healing from hair loss: compassion and care!

      Thank you again for taking the time to write! Your words are lifting me out of my own funk. <3
      Please reach out if you need more inspiration!!
      -Cassy

      Reply

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