Agnus castus


Latin: Vitex Agnus Castus

chaste berry
chaste berries
English Chastetree
Greek: Λυγαριά
Turkish: Hayıt, beşparmak ağacı



Native to the Mediterranean region, Vitex agnus castus is seen growing mostly as a multi trunk shrub in Cyprus but may also be trained into a small to medium sized tree form.  It can have lavender, pink or white flowers.

It’s flexible limbs are resistant to breakage and have traditionally been used in basket making.

Chastetree flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees, it is not unusual to see these trees or shrubs in honey making areas since they are seen to promote good honey production.

Growing Agnus Castus

Agnus castus likes full sun or light shade with a well drained soil.  It can do well in sand, loam, clay, acidic or alkaline soils and has a high resistance to drought conditions.

This is a fast growing shrub which can yield up to 15 years of fruit and flowers. For this reason perhaps it would  be a good option to plant between slow growing trees, although it is usually used more as part of a mixed shrubbery border.

Keep in mind also, that agnus castus is the main host for plant hoppers (Hyalesthes obsoletus).  As this insect can cause black wood disease in grapevines, it might be a good tactic to employ agnus castus as a biological control agent to protect vines.

Prone to leaf spot, root rot (when the soil is kept too moist)

They can self seed and become weedy so there’s a need to be careful when planting around or near landscaping.


Medicinal Uses of Agnus Castus

According to the Alternative Medical Review :

“[Agnus castus] is used widely by European and North American herbalists to treat acne, digestive complaints, menstrual irregularities, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), mastalgia, and infertility, and also for lactation support. Although Vitex [agnus castus] has been used for centuries and enjoys wide support from practitioners and the general public for many gynecological complaints, few clinical studies support its documented uses. Based on current scientific evidence, the German Commission E supports its use for menstrual irregularities, mastalgia, and PMS.”

How to make a tincture from the berries of agnus castus


Harvesting Agnus Castus


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *