Decidious shrub or small tree that is native to the
Mediterranean region and southwest Asia. It was included into the Verbenaceae family, although at present
it has been transferred into the Lamiaceae
family. With 4-5 meters in height, it usually has a branched trunk from the
root, with long and flexible stems. It has 5-7 lance-shaped leaflets are
palmately arranged to leaves. Its leaves have a dark green colour and are
glabrous in the upper side, and grey and pubescent in the lower side. It has
axilliary, cymous and verticil inflorescences arranges in spikes and oblong
bracts. Sessile flowers or on pedicels, campanulate and tomentose calyx with
five shallow triangular teeth, pubescent tubular-campanulate corolla of light
blue color or lilac color or, less frequently, white. Androectum with 4 exerted
stamens and hairy filaments at the base. Exerted style with bifid stigma. Fruit
in globose drupe of 3-4 millimeters of diameter, glabrous, with 4 stones. It is
blackish when ripe, surrounded by the persistent calyx. Fruit taste is sharp
and aromatic, and it is frequently used to falsify pepper in cold meat manufacturing.
Vitex agnus-castus o chaste tree was already used in gynecology by
Hippocrates (460-377 a.C.) and was described by Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder
as a libido suppressant. Chaste tree was carried by Greek women as a chastity
symbol and by Roman vestal virgins. Catholic novice monks used to carry it
inside their pockets. John Gerarde (1633) affirmed that the decoction of this
plant was good against uterus pain and inflammation if women took a sitz bath,
and drinking its seed caused menses. During the II World War, the stimulation
of breastfeeding with the bombing stress was proved.
> Premenstrual syndrome: breast tenderness, irritability,
modo changes, tiredness and headache.
> Menstrual cycle irregularities.
> Hypermenorrhea and polymenorrhea with endometrial and LH-deficiency hyperplasia.
> Mastodynia or breast cyclical pain.
> Deficiency during the luteal phase and infertility
associated latent hyperprolactinemia.
> It improves female infertility.
> Others: cyclical depression (linked to menstrual cycle),
neurovegetative dystonia, insomnia.