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Vitex agnus-castus L.
Chasteberry, monk's pepper
Berries and leaves
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 wild harvested 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-ineole and caryophyllene.
Uses & Benefits
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).
GC/MS Analysis & Technical Data Sheet
References & Disclaimer
Hobbs, C. (1991). The chaste tree: Vitex agnus-castus. Pharmacy in History, 33(1), 19–24
Neumann-Kuhnelt B., Stief G., Schmiady H., Kentenich H. (1993). Investigations on possible effects of the phytotherapeutic agent Agnus-castus on the follicular and corpus luteum phases. Human Reproduction 8, 110.
Lucks, B. C., Sørensen, J., Veal, L. (2002). Vitex agnus-castus essential oil and menopausal balance: A self-care survey. Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, 8(3), 148–154.
Omikorede, O., Lawal, O.A., Iresemowo, A.O. (2012). Volatile constituents, antibacterial and insecticidal activities of essential oil from the leaves of Vitex agnus-castus L.(Verbenaceae).Can.J.Comp.Math.Nat.Sci.Eng. Med., 3, 256-260.
Saraç, N., Uğur, A. & Şen, B. (2015). The cytotoxic activity of Vitex agnus-castus L.essential oils and their biochemical mechanisms. Ind. Crop. Prod., 63, 100-103.
Duymuş H.G., Çiftçi G.A., Yıldırım Ş.U., Demirci B., Kirimer, N. (2014). The cytotoxic activity of Vitex agnus-castus L. essential oils and their biochemical mechanisms. Ind Crop Prod, 55, 33-42.
Ntalli, N.G., Ferrari, F., Giannakou, I., Menkissoglu-Spiroudi, U. (2010). Phytochemistry and nematicidal activity of the essential oils from 8 Greek Lamiaceae aromatic plants and 13 terpene components. J. Agric. Food. Chem., 58, 7856-7863.
Elgengaihi, S.E., Motawe, H.M., Omer, E.A., El-Bazza, Z.E. (1992). Chemical and biological studies on Vitex agnus-castus L. volatile oils. Indian Perfumer, 36, 293-296.
Neves, R.C., Camara, C.A. (2016). Chemical composition and acaricidal activity of the essential oils from Vitex agnus-castus L. (Verbenaceae) and selected monoterpenes. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 88(3), 1221-1233
Essential oils are highly concentrated, powerful herbal liquids that might have strong chemical and biological effects. The statement above is for information purposes only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. Goya Botanicals shall not be responsible for any harm resulting from the use of or reliance upon this information.