Vitex agnus-castus: Wikis


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Vitex agnus-castus
Vitex agnus-castus flowers with halictid bee, Hemingway, South Carolina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Vitex
Species: V. agnus-castus
Binomial name
Vitex agnus-castus

Vitex agnus-castus, also called Vitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, or Monk's Pepper, is a native of the Mediterranean region.



Vitex agnus-castus is widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions for its aromatic foliage and flowers. It grows to a height of 1-5 meters. It requires full sun or partial shade along with well-drained soil.


Vitex, also a traditional plant in Africa, is a little-known fruit plant that has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.[1]

Medicinal use

Herbal medicine

The leaves and tender stem growth of the upper 10 cm (4 inches), along with the flowers and ripening seeds, are harvested for medicinal purposes. The berries are harvested by gently rubbing the berries loose from the stem. The leaves, flowers, and/or berries may be consumed as a decoction, traditional tincture, cider vinegar tincture, syrup, elixir, or simply eaten straight off the plant as a medicinal food.[2]A popular way of taking Vitex is on awakening as a simple 1:1 fluid extract, which is said to interact with hormonal circadian rhythm most effectively. [3]

The berries are considered a tonic herb for both the male and female reproductive systems. The leaves are believed to have the same effect but to a lesser degree.[2][3]

This plant is commonly called monk's pepper because it was originally used as anti-libido medicine by monks to aid their attempts to remain chaste. It is believed to be a male anaphrodisiac, hence the name chaste tree. There are disputed accounts regarding its action on female libido, with some claims that it is anaphrodisiac and others that it is aphrodisiac.

It has also been used as a carminative and an anxiolytic.

Clinical evidence

Clinical studies have shown its beneficial effects in the management of premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS).[4][5][6] and infertility. The use of extracts of the plant is recommended in Germany.[7]

Its mechanism of action is not well known. A study has found that treatment of 20 healthy men with higher doses of Vitex Agnus-castus was associated with a slight reduction of prolactin levels, whereas lower doses caused a slight increase as compared to doses of placebo.[8] A decrease of prolactin will influence levels of Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen in women; and testosterone in men.

Chemical analysis

Flavonoids, alkaloids, diterpenoids, Vitexin, Casticin and steroidal hormone precursors have been isolated from the chemical analysis of Vitex agnus-castus.[8] It is believed that some of these compounds work on the pituitary gland which would explain its effects on hormonal levels. A study has shown that extracts of the fruit of VAC can bind to opiate receptors; this could explain why intake of VAC reduces PMS discomforts.[9]

Current uses

Vitex Agnus-Castus is used as an Alternative medicine to alleviate symptoms of various gynecological problems

It is used in some supplements for male bodybuilders as a secondary component because of its effects on testosterone levels.[8]


It is recommended that Vitex agnus-castus be avoided during pregnancy due to the possibility of complications.[7][12]


  1. ^ National Research Council (2008-01-25). "Chocolate Berries". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume III: Fruits. Lost Crops of Africa. 3. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-10596-5. Retrieved 2008-07-17.  
  2. ^ a b Hartung, T., 2000. Growing 101 Herbs That Heal. Storey Books. ISBN 1-58017-215-6
  3. ^ a b Chevallier, A., 2000. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7894-6783-6
  4. ^ a b Wuttke, W; Jarry H, Christoffel V, Spengler B, Seidlová-Wuttke D. (May 2003). "Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)--pharmacology and clinical indications". Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 10 (4): 348–57.  
  5. ^ a b Schellenberg, R. (20 January 2001). "Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study". British Medical Journal 322 (7279): 134–7. doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7279.134. PMID 11159568.  
  6. ^ a b Berger, D; Schaffner W, Schrader E, Meier B, Brattström A (November 2000). "Efficacy of Vitex agnus castus L. extract Ze 440 in patients with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)". Arch Gynecol Obstet. 264 (3): 150–3. doi:10.1007/s004040000123.  
  7. ^ a b Daniele, C.; Thompson Coon J, Pittler MH, Ernst E. (2005). "Vitex agnus castus: a systematic review of adverse events". Drug Safety 28 (4): 319–32. doi:10.2165/00002018-200528040-00004.  
  8. ^ a b c Merz, PG; Gorkow C, Schrödter A, Rietbrock S, Sieder C, Loew D, Dericks-Tan JS, Taubert HD (1996). "The effects of a special Agnus castus extract (BP1095E1) on prolactin secretion in healthy male subjects". Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 04 (6): 447–53.  
  9. ^ Webster, D.E.; J. Lu, S.-N. Chen, N.R. Farnsworth and Z. Jim Wang (2006). "Activation of the μ-opiate receptor by Vitex agnus-castus methanol extracts: Implication for its use in PMS". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 106 (2): 216–221. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.12.025.  
  10. ^ Roemheld-Hamm, B. (1 September 2005). "Chasteberry". Am Fam Physician 72 (5): 821–4.  
  11. ^ Mehlhorn, H.; Schmahl,-G; Schmidt,-J (2005). "Extract of the seeds of the plant Vitex agnus castus proven to be highly efficacious as a repellent against ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and biting flies". Parasitol-Res. 95 (5): 363–5. doi:10.1007/s00436-004-1297-z.  
  12. ^ "Chaste Tree". Retrieved 2007-11-11.  


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Vitex agnus-castus


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Verbenaceae
Genus: Vitex
Species: Vitex agnus-castus


Vitex agnus-castus L.


  • Species Plantarum 2:638. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. 41813

Vernacular name

Русский: Витекс священный, или Витекс обыкновенный, или прутняк обыкновенный, или Авраамово дерево
Türkçe: Hayıt
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Vitex agnus-castus on Wikimedia Commons.

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