VITEX ESSENTIAL OIL (Vitex agnus-castus)
Vitex or chasteberry is a shrub that is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. It grows up to 5-6 meters, has long leaves, blue/violet and pink/white flowers and dark purple berries. The name comes from the Greek “agnos” which means “chaste” and the Latin “castus” which also means “chaste” or “pure”.
Vitex is a medicinal plant with a very long history in folk medicine. It can be found in works of Dioscorides, Hippocrates and Homer. In Greek mythology it was said that Hera was born under a chasteberry tree. In medieval times it was believed that vitex was a powerful anaphrodisiac. Monks were carrying vitex berries to suppress sexual desire and preserve chastity, that is why it was often called “monks pepper”.
Goya Botanicals Vitex Essential Oil is produced by unpressurised steam distillation of berries and leaves of the vitex plant. It is wildcrafted from the mountainside of south-west Turkey. This rare essential oil has a sweet, floral and spicy aroma of which major components are sabinene, 1,8-cineole and caryophyllene.
Vitex Essential Oil
In ancient Greek, it was believed that the vitex heals those who were bitten by animals and those who have cyclical menstrual pains and inflammations within the womb. Similarly, since 17th century it was widely used as a folk remedy for obstetrics(1). Alcoholic extract of vitex berries is widely used in modern medicine, since its benefits for the treatment of several menstrual problems were proven by clinical studies(2).
Although the herbal form of vitex has been used for centuries, the use of the essential oil is relatively new. However, studies show that the essential oil of vitex exhibits the same balancing action that the literature attributes to both dried berries, berry and leaf extractions(3).
On the other hand, several biological properties of vitex essential oil have recently been reported, including insecticidal, antimicrobial(4), antimutagenic(5), cytotoxic(6), nematicidal(7), molluscicidal(8) and acaricidal(9).