Vitex agnus-castus | Chaste Tree | Monk's Pepper 'Alba'
Vitex agnus-castus is a shrub/small tree in the Lamiaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Common names are vitex, chaste tree, chaste tree, chaste berry, Abraham's balm, lilac chaste tree, or monk's pepper.
Vitex agnus-castus seed contains chemicals that seem to affect many hormones involved in the female reproductive cycle.
Vitex agnus-castus is widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions for its delicate-textured aromatic foliage and butterfly attracting spikes of lavender flowers in late summer in cooler climates. The leaves and tender stem growth of the upper 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. A popular way of taking Vitex is on awakening as a simple 1:1 fluid extract, which is said to interact with hormonal circadian rhythms most effectively.
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. In ancient times it was believed to be an anaphrodisiac, hence the name chaste tree.
NAME: Chaste Berry Tree OTHER COMMON NAMES: Monk’s Pepper / Vitex / Chaste Tree / Chaste Berry / Abraham’s Balm SCIENTIFIC NAME: Vitex Agnus Castus COLOR: Light Purple PLANT SEEDS: Outdoors after danger of frost / Indoors weeks before last frost BLOOM TIME: All Summer HARDINESS ZONE: 6 - 9 PLANT HEIGHT: 12 - 20’ PLANT SPACING: 10 - 12’ LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Sun - Part Shade SOIL & WATER PREFERENCES: Average