Saturday, August 31, 2013

Herb Trees: The Chaste Tree

The last day of August brings the last in a series of herb trees.
Chaste tree, vitex agnus-castus, is a common ornamental tree in the South
because of the tree's beautiful violet-blue blossoms.

The Chaste tree has a hidden history as an herb supplement, however.
Chaste tree (also called chasteberry or Monk's Pepper)
was used from ancient Rome through the Middle Ages as a way 
to decrease sexual libido and to regulate ailments 
of both the male and female reproductive systems.
That's why it got the name chaste tree--
it was really supposed to ensure the chastity of anyone who consumed it.

Chasteberry tea is available commercially,
usually sold as an aid for problems with the female reproductive system.
Some sources suggest the tea has positive benefits for prostate problems too.

Despite its herbal history, most people grow the chaste tree 
as a beautiful addition to the landscape
and a plant good for attracting bees.

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