Chaste Tree

General Information

Common name: Vitex, chaste tree, chasteberry, Abraham’s balm, lilac chastetree, monk’s pepper

Scientific term: Vitex agnus-castus,

Description: Chaste Tree is a genus of tropical and sub-tropical flowering plant of the Mediterranean region. It’s a cross-pollinating plant

Composition:

  • All parts of the plant contain iridoids (aukubin, agnoside), flavonoids (cysticin, isovitinexine, orientine, isoeryentin), alkaloids, tannins, vitamins, microelements, essential oil;
  • Leaves contain ascorbic acid (up to 0.12%), glycoside agnuside, essential oil (up to 0.5%), iridoids, flavonoids;
  • Seeds contain iridoids, flavonoidectacin, fatty oil (about 10%);
  • Fruits contain organic acids (about 1.3%) (formic, acetic, propionic, oily, valeric, caproic), essential oil (0.63%), alkaloids (0.42%), vitamins, tannins (3.43 %), coumarins (0.44%), flavonoids;
  • Essential oil from fruits contains pinene, cineole, sabinene, palmitic acid and other components, α- and β-pinenes (40%), cineole (up to 25%), sabinene, palmitic acid, quinone, limonene (1.5%), n-cymol, linimol, camphor, bornilacetate;
  • Fatty oil from fruits contains formic, acetic, propionic, butyric, valeric, caproic acids.

Pharmachologic effects:

Chaste tree has a predominantly hormone-like activity. It affects the function of the yellow body (the gland that regulates the menstrual cycle), suppresses the separation of milk from animals and reduces the level of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates milk formation. This action is mediated by the effect of dopamine, which inhibits the secretion of prolactin by the pituitary gland. Chaste tree has anti-inflammatory, estrogen-like action, antimicrobial, antifungal and sedative effects.

Uses in medicine:

Fruits, seeds and leaves are used for malaria, chronic diseases of the liver and spleen, female diseases. Alcoholic tincture from mature fruit is also used for various diseases accompanied by a depressed mood, with spermatothorrhoea and sexual impotence (impotence). Alcohol solution of a dry extract is prescribed at the termination of breastfeeding.

In folk medicine, fruits, seeds and leaves are used for malaria, chronic diseases of the liver and spleen. Broth of branches and fruits heal gonorrhea. Infusion of flowers is used for baths for skin diseases in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Vitex-based drugs are used in folk medicine for various gynecological problems – premenstrual syndrome with water retention, menstruation or lack of menstruation, anovulatory cycles, cycle disorders after contraceptive use, some forms of infertility, chest pain.

Indications for use:

Menstrual cycle disorders associated with a deficiency of the yellow body, premenstrual syndrome, mastodynia (mastalgia).

Contraindications:

Hypersensitivity.

Side effects:

Psychomotor agitation, confusion, hallucinations, skin allergic reactions.

Interaction:

When combined with antagonists of dopamine receptors, there is a mutual decrease in the effect.

Traditional medicine:

  • Fresh juice of a flowering plant is used in homeopathy, mainly with impotence, depression, nervous diseases, cessation of breast-feeding;
  • Broth of branches and fruits – in gonorrhea; in Italy – as a contraceptive, flowers in Central Asia and the Caucasus – with various skin diseases;
  • Chaste tree tincture increases the function of the gonads. Infusion of flowers and leaves has a lactogenic effect and has antibacterial activity;
  • In folk medicine, decoction and infusion of fruits, leaves and bark have long been used for liver diseases, spleen, infertility, mastopathy, fibroids in women, impotence in men, malaria.

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