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Vitex Agnus Castus

The Mediterranean Chastity Plant

Mediterranean plants have long been attributed with having medicinal,

healing properties, from the skin softening oil of the olive tree, the

calming effects of the chamomile plant or even to the flatulence reducing

fennel. However, rarely do we hear of a Mediterranean plant that can

assist one with maintaining a period of chastity.

italian chastity plants italy

Curiously, Vitex agnus castus actually takes it’s common name “The

chaste (or chastity) plant” directly from a number of compounds which

have a similar structure to certain sexual hormones in the human body.

In ancient Greece Vitex agnus castus was considered to be an anaphrodisiac

and even Christian monks took the dried fruits of the plant to subdue

“desires of the flesh”.

A powder derived from the dried fruits soon

became known As ‘Monks pepper’ throughout Europe and in fact there are

substances within the plant that subdue the actions of certain male

hormones, named androgens which, in turn, causes a decrease in male


italy plant chastity

Vitex has probably been most researched for it’s effect on pre-menstrual

tension in women. A recent study of 178 women by the British medical

association showed that 50% of the women tested showed major signs of

improvement regarding PMT and many other pre-menstrual symptoms

For the garden designer in Italy however, the chaste plant offers

a fantastic plant that is both easy to grow and aesthetically valid

within the Italian garden context. Growing to a maximum height of around

3 to 5m, with leaves rather like hemp and displaying lilac-shaped blue

or white flowers it is an easy to grow stunner that is not very common.

With an annual prune in late winter/spring the plant can be maintained

to a compact 1-1.50m and will produce a myriad of flowers from early

summer to October.

Chastity Plant Italy

These flowers will attract butterflies and bees and the flowers are

particularly enjoyed by bumble bees. When planted in a mixed, informal

hedge with buddleia, lilac and lavender the butterflies will gather

in their hundreds. Plant in full sun, in poor soil on a sunny bank or

against a wall and enjoy this easy Mediterranean plant in your Italian


By Jonathan Radford

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