Vitex agnus-castus, “Vitex” or “Chaste tree” in English and “Arbre au poivre” ou “Gattilier” in French, belongs to the Lamiaceae botanical family. Native to European, Mediterranean, and Central Asian countries, it is a bush usually growing to 2-5 m, enjoying full sun.
The fruit is used as a pepper substitute and the leaves are also used as a spice.
It has a long tradition as a herbal remedy and was used not only as an anaphrodisiac, but also for its beneficial effect on the female hormonal system, rectifying hormonal imbalances caused by an excess of estrogen and an insufficiency of progesterone. It has been used in restoring absent menstruation, regulating heavy periods, restoring fertility when this is caused by hormonal imbalance, relieving pre-menstrual tension and easing the change of the menopause.
Among its main constituents are flavonoids (casticin, quercetagetin, and isovitexin), essential oils, diterpenes, and glycosides.