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Plant Information

Common Name: CHASTE TREE
Scientific Name: Vitex agnus-castus
Alternative Names: Monk's Pepper

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Vitex agnus-castus
Vitex agnus-castus


  • Perennial
  • Hardy deciduous shrub or small tree up to 1-5m with aromatic palmate dark green leaves.
  • In summer it bears butterfly attracting slender spikes of lilac, pale violet and white flowers followed by red-black fruits.
  • It requires full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.
  • Chaste tree can take severely pruning in spring and faded flowers can be cut off to promote continuous flowering.

Culinary Uses

  • Chaste berries are aromatic, have a peppery taste and can be used as a substitute for pepper.
  • It is used in Middle Eastern spice mixtures.

Parts Used

  • The dried peppercorn-sized fruit (seeds).

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Chaste tree is a bittersweet, slightly astringent herb that regulates hormonal functions, promotes lactation and relieves pain and spasms.
  • It can be used in a tincture or herbal tea to relieve menstrual and menopausal complaints, normalize menstrual flow and to increase milk production in lactating mothers.
  • Also increases the flow of urine, treats benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and reduces sexual desire - hence the name "Monk's pepper".
  • In early times monks chewed chaste tree parts to make it easier to maintain their celibacy.
  • Vitex agnus-castus can be used for acne, nervousness, dementia, joint conditions, colds, upset stomach, spleen disorders, headaches, migraine, eye pain, body inflammation and swelling.
  • It is a slow-acting herb, and usually takes quite a few months to show any reaction, except in the case of lactation, which usually improves within a few weeks.
  • Not to be taken by pregnant woman.

Other Uses

  • The twigs/branches of the chaste tree are strong but very flexible, which enable them to be used for making baskets, ropes and even furniture.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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