How Does Vitex Work?
contains a variety of different active compounds, such as essential oils and flavonoids. There are many different "active" compounds in vitex, and it is probably a combination of the compounds that is responsible for most of the medicinal properties of the plant.
Vitex seems to stimulate dopamine receptors, which indirectly inhibits the release of the hormone prolactin (a hormone involved in breastfeeding). However, this effect seems to occur with high doses of vitex; low doses appear to have the opposite effect on prolactin (causing an increase in the hormone). Vitex may also affect other receptors, such as acetylcholine and opioid receptors.
Vitex also appears to have effects on other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. While low doses of vitex may decrease estrogen levels, some compounds in vitex may have estrogen-like properties. Low doses of vitex appear to increase progestin levels. Interestingly, high doses of vitex do not seem to affect progesterone or estrogen levels.
Using Vitex in Children
Children can be more sensitive to the effects (and side effects) of medications and supplements, including herbal supplements. It is best to consult your child's healthcare provider before giving your child any medication or supplement, including vitex.