Agnus Castus sometimes known as Chaste Berry or Vitex is a member of the Verbena family. It is most commonly found all over the Mediterranean where it thrives in the warm climate. In the UK it is likely to be found growing only in the warmer southern parts though and it is not at all common. It flowers late in the UK and as a consequence the seeds from which the oil is extracted will not develop fully.
Reported Attributes of Agnus Castus Essential Oil:
Traditional and Emotional uses for Agnus Castus Essential Oil reportedly include:-
Agnus Castus Essential Oil has been traditionally used for female hormonal problems, relaxing nervous tension and helping to stop cramps, breast pain and assisting in the relief of breast pain and swelling typically for the easing of menstrual discomfort and menopausal effects. It is known and highly regarded for its decongestant action and its calming effect on the liver, uterus and intestines. Research is ongoing into the possible assistance against Parkinson’s Disease.
History of Agnus Castus:
The name derives from the Greek for ‘chaste’ which is why it is sometimes known as Chaste Berry. According to Pliny, writing in the first century, Greek women wishing to preserve their chastity placed leaves of this plant on their beds and slept on them. Pliny’s contemporary, Dioscorides, claimed that the characteristics of the plant preserved chastity because it smells so bad that, when strewn on the bed, it was enough to deter amorous advances from men! Agnus Castus was certainly used widely by the ancient herbalists for menopause and hormone balancing. Dioscorides even concurs with its current uses; “it both brings down the milk and expels the menstrua”.