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Companion Botanical Closeup: Chasteberry or Vitex agnus-castus

Chasteberry is the fruit of the chaste tree, an aromatic, flowering shrub native to the Mediterranean region and central Asia. It is also known as monk's pepper or by its Latin name, Vitex agnus-castus. It is a member of the Verbenaceae family which includes verbena and vervain. The dried fruits or berries resemble a peppercorn in both their size and their spicy aroma and flavor profiles. It became referred to as chasteberry and monk's pepper because of its reputation as an anaphrodisiac. In other words, it was believed to decrease libido, and monks utilized it to strengthen their practice. In traditional systems of herbal medicine, chasteberry is more widely known for its ability to regulate the activity of the female sex hormones, estrogen and...

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