6.01.2012

VITEX AGNUS CASTUS




A lovely shrub/tree, depending on how you prune it--or not.  This one comes with lots of history.  Originally from the Mediterranean was used, among other things, by monks to keep violent sexual urges at bay.  Hence some of its common names: Chaste Tree & Monk's Pepper.

It is mostly the berries that are used.  And, by the way, can be a fair pepper substitute (which I am still to try), but some also make tinctures out of the flowers.  And, oh the flowers, they are the closest thing to a lilac tree one can grow in hot climates, their scent is lovely and they make a fairly good cut flower as well.

This one is a great shrub to plant in front of a window that gets lots of sun in the summer because it is deciduous (loses its leaves when it gets cold), allowing for shade in summer and lots of sun inside the house in winter.  Or, if you have a veggie patch/bed that need lots of light but not a lot of direct sunlight in the summer, this small tree is also perfect for it. 

Ours is planted toward the front of the main garden and it is about 4 feet tall at the moment (their growth speed is medium) so I can't see what type of wild life favors its goodness...but when I see it I will post about it.

These days the seeds are used quite a bit in the UK to tame down the symptoms of menopause.   But, I'd go easy on it since there aren't too many formal scientific studies on it yet...oh and by the way, this is a good time for me to remind you of my deep distrust from anything the FDA approves here in the US.  Usually, to be on the safe side, before taking any new supplements or herbs I look up peer-reviewed scientific studies performed in European countries, where the GMO mafia has not been able to fool their people or bribe them with insane amounts of dough.  Also, beware of where all the components of your natural stuff comes from...ask questions, lots of them!
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