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Agnus Castus, which sometimes goes by the names monk’s pepper, chasteberry, and vitex, is known for its medicinal effect on the endocrine system. Agnus Castus is said to normalize the pituitary gland in the production of progesterone. It is also said to be useful as an aphrodisiac.
Agnus Castus began its reputation in ancient Greece, where it was believed to have sacred powers. It is said that a Greek goddess strung leaves of the Agnus Castus plant to ensure her virginity. Agnus Castus branches were used to honor Demeter, the goddess of fertility. Hera, the goddess of marriage and sister of Zeus, was born under an Agnus Castus tree. Agnus Castus got the name “monk pepper” because it was eaten by monks in an effort to suppress sexuality.
It is primarily the dried fruit of the Agnus Castus that is used in herbal remedies. This fruit contains many medicinal components, including flavonoids – such as isovitexin, casticin, and quercetagetin – essential oils, diterpenes, and glycosides.
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