Dong Quai, Vitex and Birth Control Pills
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: March 22, 1999

I have a friend that is currently on the pill. However she would like to become pregnant later on in the year and was wondering if taking Dong Quai/ Vitex and the pill together would be harmful?

Since Vitex balances hormones from the pituitary and birth control pills provide oestrogen and progesterone, upsetting the natural cycle, it makes more sense to take Vitex when coming off the birth control pill - if it is required. Dong quai, although its action is not hormonal, does have a hormone balancing effect. Other actions of Dong quai are to support the liver, nourish the blood and tone the uterus.

Interaction of Vitex agnus castus (Chaste tree berry) with other drugs is unknown. Herbal Medicine", by Newall, Anderson and Phillips (Pharmaceutical Press, 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JN, England) states that herbs with hormonal action, such as Vitex, may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

If your friend wants to prepare for pregnancy, she would be better advised to work on other factors in fertility, such as diet and lifestyle. A good liver tonic such as dandelion root will support the liver to process hormones efficiently as well as working to improve digestion and eliminate toxins. By developing a healthy body now, your friend may not need any help balancing hormones when she comes off the pill.

For information on a balanced approach to fertility, please go to our website at http://www.richters.com, select the Q&A area, then choose "Search Richters Q and A" and enter "fertil" for the search.

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