Vitex (chaste) Berry Powder – Vitex agnus-castus
Vitex Berry Powder (Vitex agnus-castus) /ˈvaɪtɛks/ is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. It has about 250 species. Common names include “chastetree”, traditionally referring to V. agnus-castus but often applied to other species as well. Species of Vitex are native throughout the tropics and subtropics, with a few species in temperate Eurasia.
About 18 species are known in cultivation. Vitex agnus-castus and Vitex negundo are often grown in temperate climates. About six others are frequently grown in the tropics. Most of the cultivated species serve as ornamentals. Some provide valuable lumber. The flexible limbs of some species are used in basket weaving. Some of the aromatic species are used medicinally or to repel mosquitos.
The genus Vitex was named by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. Vitex was the name used by Pliny the Elder for Vitex agnus-castus. It is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry.
Vitex is one of several genera that was transferred from Verbenaceae to Lamiaceae in the 1990s as a result of phylogenetic studies of DNA sequences. It is the largest genus in the subfamily Viticoideae of Lamiaceae. Taxon sampling in molecular phylogenetic studies has never been sufficient to test the monophyly of Viticoideae, but it is generally thought to be an unnatural group. The subfamily is probably diphyletic, with Premna, Gmelina, and Cornutia constituting one clade, and with Vitex, Petitia, Pseudocarpidium, and Teijsmanniodendron constituting the other. Vitex is a genus of shrubs and trees, from 1 to 35m tall. Some species have whitish bark that is characteristically furrowed. Leaves are opposite, usually compound. The fruit is a drupe.
Country of origin: Europe
Safety: Due to possible hormonal effects, do not use this herb during pregnancy, while breastfeeding or if you have a history of a hormone-driven condition.