In my opinion, hormones become out of balance due to an imbalance in one’s health and lifestyle, including but not limited to diet, rest and hydration. For example, if I have the urge one night to stay up late and surf the internet until midnight, the following day I undoubtedly wake up tired. The first thing that enters my mind in the morning is to reach for a stimulant, like caffeine in the form of coffee to counteract the sluggishness I feel (ironically, I inherently believe that the morning, after a full night of rest is the last time of the day one should actually feel “tired” and need a stimulant to “wake up”). The cup of coffee momentarily stimulates my mind and simultaneously suppresses the exhaustion that I truly feel and experience. As a result, by the time lunch rolls around, I am ravenous for acidic foods like sugar, dairy, gluten and meat that will again momentarily satisfy my appetite, mood, and energy levels. And by the late afternoon, my mind is once again seeking another hit of caffeine in order to do it all over again, starting with another late night of internet surfing to further suppress my truth and continue to add to my confusing hormonal imbalance.
Could such a never-ending cycle truly start with the “urge” to stay up late? If so, how does this relate to my hormones being out of balance? As the body feels tired and depressed, our glands are unable to maintain balanced hormone levels, and the body is unable to carry out its daily, monthly and long-term cycles of life. The cravings fill the body with toxic materials that inevitably deplete the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal endocrine system functioning. Nourishing our glands with the proper vitamins and minerals gives our body the ability to stabilize our moods, circulate our blood, and secrete vital female and male hormones in balance.
So I am stuck in a lifestyle that seems to perpetuate binge eating and drinking, as well as late nights. Wow, what a conundrum. I have been stuck in this cycle for so long and I have so many aspects of my life that are now a reflection of my overall hormone imbalance. I have tried so many ways to intercept this never ending cycle. Nothing seems to work. How do I break the cycle without dramatically changing my life?
Without further ado, it is time to introduce you to the “monk” medicine of Ayurveda called Vitex Agnus or Chaste plant. According to Vaidya Atreya Smith in Dravyaguna for Westerners, “Vitex Agnus-castus or Chaste berry is perhaps the most important herbal regulator of progesterone available. It has been studied extensively for the last 70 years and has been found to be safe and effective to balance progesterone levels while decreasing estrogen levels in the body. Today herbalists primarily use Agnus-castus for women’s disorders for which it is excellent. It is one the the most important herbs to use when stopping the “Pill” or other hormone based medications (like HRT) as it aids in restoring a healthy cycle and ovulation. Agnus-castus should be taken for long periods – not less than three months and even for several years to heal endocrine irregularities.”
So how does the Vitex Agnus work to rebalance the hormones? We talked about urges and cravings earlier, and it is the fulfillment of these cravings that create toxic build-up in the body. These toxins block the endocrine system from functioning properly, not allowing the system to nourish its vital glands with the proper vitamins and minerals; and secrete and circulate hormones efficiently throughout the body. Vitex Agnus works to cleanse the body of built-up toxic blockages between the hormone secreting glands; while making one more and more aware and conscious of their cravings. It specifically nourishes both the spleen and the reproductive organs of the body which explains its unique ability to rejuvenate the root chakra and enhance will-power. According to Vaidya Atreya Smith and confirmed by so many others that have utilized this plant, it is also used for “premenstrual disorders, difficult menstruation, menopause, post-natal care, cysts, uterine fibroids, pregnancy, amenorrhea, alternative to HRT, acne, skin disorders, paralysis, sciatica, and rheumatoid arthritis”. It is also known to balance the libido (i.e. life force), raising it up when in need, and calming it as well. I can personally attest to this attribute of the chaste plant, as I find it to effectively balance out Ashwagandha’s powerful aphrodisiac enhancing qualities.
It is truly an amazing plant. I like to pick the dried berries directly from the plant or drink it in the form of tea from our Hawaiian medicinal herb farm, when I am in need of will-power and “monk-like” powers. Personally, I use it to simplify and “clean up” my diet and life. The will-power, albeit subtle, is certainly apparent, making me more aware and conscious of my cravings, and how these cravings so dramatically affect the flow of my life. In other words, the Chaste plant is not going to change everything all at once, but this herbal medicine is ideal for someone that is seeking an edge to get over a hump in their evolutionary healing process; or for someone that is truly willing to self-heal over the extended period of time it may take (6 months or several years) to remove larger blockages from the system; and consistently infuse the nourishing vitamins and minerals necessary to the desired glands throughout the endocrine system.
There are times when I feel myself not able to defend against the toxic or acidic forces working to enter my body. So often the Vitex-Agnus or “monk medicine” immediately forces required rest and hydration upon my busy lifestyle, in addition to promoting an extremely simple raw diet. As I am able to identify and resist my “urges”, my life gets cleaner, clearer and simpler. My will-power generated by my root chakra connects calmly and naturally to thwart the cravings that are initiated through my eyes and my mind. Vitex Agnus undoubtedly awakens my Kundalini Energy and slowly but surely rebalances my endocrine system. It is amazing to feel the power of a truly balanced hormone system. No highs and no lows, just balance.
Read more by Doug Wolkon