The appreciation of the Chaste tree or Vitex agnus-castus can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was sacred to the Greek Gods Hera, Hestia, Artemis, and Demeter. This plant was named “Chaste” since it was believed that it could reduce sexual desires, which is why it is believed that monks used it to calm their sexual needs. Apart from its religious significance, the Chaste tree has been recognized since ancient times as a medicinal plant for women. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine and a Greek physician who lived 2,500 years ago recommended it as treatment of menstrual difficulties. The use of this shrub to treat gynecological conditions is also noted in the works of Pliny (a Roman naturalist) and Dioscorides (a Greek botanist) both of whom lived in the 1st century A.D.
Whilst, in reality, some beliefs about the Chaste tree are untrue, it's been found that Chaste can increase libido in women, which is contrary to its purpose hundreds of years ago. The Chaste tree is still a precious plant that holds many powerful healing components along with medicinal benefits.
Characteristics of the Chaste Plant
Along with its scientific name, Vitex agnus-castus, the Chaste plant is also known as Chaste Berry, monk’s pepper, vitex, Abraham’s balm, and lilac chaste tree. The Chaste plant is an aromatic shrub that grows pretty violet flowers and berries that are the size of a peppercorn and can grow up to 5 meters in size. This plant belongs to the verbena family and is a native of the Mediterranean region. The Chaste has a compound, palmate, with leaves in a mixed shade of grey and green, 5-7 lance-shaped leaflets, and flexible wood and branches which are used in manufacturing baskets and furniture.
Chaste Modern Medicinal Value
The Chaste berry plant has been found to identify flavonoids, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-viral properties as well as rich essential oils such as limonene, cineol, pinene, and sabinene which have been shown to benefit decreasing heart rate and hypertension. Consuming Chaste berry tea may help lead to some of the healing benefits which are listed below:
It can be used as an aphrodisiac for women
Hundreds of years ago, Chaste berry was used as a method to help monks suppress their sexual desire and to maintain their chastity. Little did they know that based on more recent studies it has been found to contain components that could increase the libido of those consuming it. It has been found that Chaste Berry could act as both an aphrodisiac and an anaphrodisiac, balancing women's hormones and benefiting several women's health issues. This herb contains testosterone and androstenedione, which are believed to be crucial components for inducing sex drive, because of its aphrodisiac properties, it may also help women achieve greater sexual pleasure.
It can help treat menstrual problems
The Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, recommended the use of Chaste berry in treating gynecological problems, which has been backed up by modern science through several clinical studies which suggest that the Chaste tree helped to reduce a variety of Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms including constipation, edema, breast pain and tenderness, irritability, depression, and migraine headaches. This female-friendly plant can also help the female body to produce more progesterone, this is the hormone that is known to help to reduce painful periods and hot flushes in women who are experiencing menopause. The ancient Greeks associated the Chaste tree with Hera, the goddess of women and childbirth. Since the time of Hippocrates, thousands of women have benefited from the use of Chaste Berry.
Flavour profile of Chaste tree tea
Chaste tea was nicknamed Monk's Pepper for a couple of reasons, Chaste tea is known to have a slightly peppery flavour and smell, loved for its invigorating and refreshing Chaste berry tea provides an excellent coffee alternative.
As we know Chaste Berry is a good source of antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system, protect the body from illnesses, fight oxidative stress, and delay the signs of aging. As modern life becomes more and more demanding and stressful, a cup of Chaste tree tea can help us keep us feeling our very best all month long.