Reading and research are major loves of mine. Choosing the research focus for my second year at the Mockingbird Meadow’s Eclectic Institute was hard because really, I want to study and get deep into all of it-- herbs for nutrition, digestion, infection, depression and anxiety, ritual...
I did end up making a choice, of course. I’m immersing myself women’s health this year-- herbs and lifestyle changes to help support the body through infertility or miscarriage, hormonal imbalance, PCOS, menstrual cramps (yes-- cramping demonstrates imbalance), irregular cycles, menopausal changes... Every woman I know who has opened up to me in any way about her reproductive health has been in need of some type of balance. I’m meant to serve others, and I think that I can help people the most through studying this.
I’m starting with work on myself because it's easiest to monitor. My cycles have always been irregular and rather long. I was never bothered by this until I realized that while it’s fine not to fit into a neat 28 day cycle, irregularity means imbalance. At the very least if I work on balancing my cycles I know that my cramping will lessen. Maybe my periodic headaches will go away too; I’m excited to see. I’ve started drinking vitex berry tea (1 tsp steeped in 1 cup of water) three times a day because, based on my research so far, I think I have a deficiency of progesterone during what should be my luteal phase. Vitex berry, a little boring looking berry, is wonderfully floral and I’ve come to crave it. So far I haven’t noticed much of a shift, other than an incredibly emotional day last week on the third day of working with it. Though, that may have been a very natural reaction to seeing my formulas for the first time dressed in their new labels after a year of only dreaming about it... We'll see what's happened after a month of work.
VITEX BERRY Also known as chaste tree berry (I think monks used to drink this to quell their desires, but I don’t know if that traditional use is with merit)
Part used: the berries
Action: General tonic for the reproductive organs
Uses: Chaste tree is one of those very special herbs that can have opposite effects in different people, depending on what they need. It has a generally normalizing effect on hormones for women to help with cramping and PMS, but is especially useful for women who have a lack of progesterone production during their luteal phase.